20 May 2022
You really couldn't ask for a better pool setup for a national championship than the double-ended, 10 lane x 25 meter setup at the University of Laval in Quebec City:
The meet kicked off this morning with the 1500 freestyle, so I was able to have a leisurely arrival after my first warmup elsewhere, then popped in during the fifteen minute break after those 1500s at the deep end (where the men's events will be held) for another 400 meter second warmup ahead of my first event, the 200 free.
Here's how the day went, with comparisons to the best times I've gone since turning 50:
Best 50+ time: 2:08.48 (March 2022)
Reaction: Delight upon seeing the time, then near rigor mortis as I tried to drag my ass out of the pool. I was fortunate to be in lane 7, so I could do the "old man" move and slip to the edge of the pool so I could use the ladder to get out! There was no way I was pressing myself out near the blocks after that :)
I had felt from my last two times racing this in both SCM and SCY that I wasn't going out fast enough, so I decided to push my legs hard the first 50 and then transition to a high stroke rate on the second 50. I did just that, hitting 28.98 and then 31.07 splits, making my first 100 at 1:00.05. In a well-swum 200, the 2nd through 4th 50s should be very close in time to each other, but I was already feeling the burn on the 3rd 50; I actually slipped on the 5th turn and split 33.15 on that 50. While I thought I had laid off my legs enough during the middle 100 to deploy them well on the last 50, I just hurt more and more and more, limping in with a 33.23 final split.
All the pain aside, though, that was a great swim, a full two seconds faster than anything I've done in the last 5 years. I was still 1.4 seconds off the Canadian National Record, but I feel like I could challenge that in the next year, with more training, better work on turns and a slightly smarter race plan.
Best 50+ time: 2:23.49 (November 2017)
Reaction: Ecstatic. Even more chuffed that I managed to track down two younger guys on the last lap to win the heat. Their presence, though, absolutely helped me achieve this as I had a great neck & neck race with the guy in the next lane. This felt technically better than the 200 free and like I paced it more smartly, though my back to breast transition was a bit sloppy. I'm even more excited about this race as it's an event that I almost always do, so to have beaten my tapered/shaved time from five years ago thrills me.
After all the disappointment I had with my swims a little over a month ago in Houston, I'm stoked to have started the meet this way. Time to rest up for the ever-tricky 400 free and the always fun 50 fly (I always try to do at least one pure fun event each meet).