Saturday, January 22, 2011

Ontario Cup & Oakville

Its always difficult to have 2 meets going on simultaneously. At all costs, I try to get to as much of both meets as possible. Last night, I was @ U of T for Ontario Cup and this morning as well. We finished up the morning around 12:30, then I hightailed it out to Oakville to watch a few hours of the 12&under session, then back to Ontario Cup for the night session. With the weather being what it was, it was a LONG day, but I'm glad that I was able to see as much swimming as I did.

Ontario Cup is a Long Course meet. I believe the design of it is to give people going to World Championship Trials in March, the opportunity to swim LC under large load and to get the first few LC races of the season out of the way. The first LC meet is always a painful reminder of how tired you might be and this weekend really has not been an exception.

Elizabeth Skuriat's 800FR was about what we expected. We knew that SC swimming was getting better and figured that we'd be around 12-15 seconds off of our best. She finished in 33rd place with a time of 10:02.20.

This morning, we had Elizabeth in 200FR, and Kyle Haas, Karl Massey and Elizabeth in 100BK. The 100BKs were pretty good morning swims (remember that older athletes swim in the morning to make it into finals. THEN they race at night. Note: There were no finals here, but we're trying to train our guys to swim fast in the morning so finals is easier to make). Elizabeth broke her own club record in 100BK (new record of 1:13.32) and came very close to her existing record in 200FR (200FR video below).

Karl Massey was out of there quite quickly after 100BK. He was in about a second of his best LC, had a 2nd best ever morning swim, and looked alright, just some technical stuff to fix. He finished 31st.

Kyle's 100BK was pretty solid: a best ever morning swim (1:02.52) and finished in 13th spot overall (Note: this is an open standard meet, there are no age classifications. The top 3 in this event were over 18. Winner was 24). The video of that race can be seen below.

Tonight was pretty good! Elizabeth started out the night by basically even splitting her 100FR and coming within a second of her best time. She finished 77th overall.

Kyle's 100FR was a personal best and a new club record of 55.34 and finished 18th out of 89 men (video below). Karl's 100FR was okay, but Karl is more of a 200 swimmer, as you can see in the video below... his stroke rate is longer and more powerful than short and sprinty. He finished slightly off his best in 87th place. Karl's 50BK was only a tenth off of his best time and if you watch the video closely, you can see on his finish where he could have timed his wall better for a best time.

Kyle clocked a 33.54 in 50BR, only .08 seconds off of the club record. He did, however, break the old 50FLY record (new record 27.89) and placed 27th.

Kyle's 50BK was very strong (only .01 away from his PB) and placed him 6th I think (results for that event have strangely not been posted... perhaps because of some controversy in the fastest heat).

A very solid showing overall so far at Ontario Cup. I am very proud of our Blue Fins and you should be too.

I was able to catch some races at Oakville today, but was surprised by the low population of our team in both sessions. I was even more surprised that a few Blue Fins opted out of the opportunity to swim finals, an opportunity that is not always afforded, but is extra valuable when it is. I feel it important to remind everyone reading, that if you make it into finals, or have the opportunity to make it in to finals (you're an alternate), show up! Almost everyone swims better at night. Its a free chance to race again; to place; to medal. We need to get better at this. Perhaps the problem is lack of communication on my part. I am determined to get better at that and have a better showing at finals going forward.

I would love to post some official results from that meet here, but Oakville has not posted final results, only prelims from today... and since I can't get anyone to return a text message tonight, I can only wait until tomorrow.

I know that I said I was not going to post again until March, but I feel that if I don't I am missing an opportunity to get valuable info to the club and anyone else that reads my blog. A few questions have arisen in the past few days that I feel would be valuable to answer here for all to see:

1.) Dryland, Swimming, Resting, Racing.
Much confusion as to why we are pulling back training going into February for Platinum. To clarify, there is no cancellation of dryland. This was a break intended from the beginning of the season.
The primary focus of platinum is central region championships. They will taper off their workload going into that championship so to be 100% and represent well at a championship meet. When that is over they will recover and refocus on the Halton cup. The week of Halton cup they will revisit the gym for some slow burn and flexibility work. Then refocus on training in March with the training focus on central region long course.
Resting is crucial racing fast in our sport. Regardless of how fit you may be, it is tiring to pull yourself through the water over and over and over. Resting allows our athletes to recover from training physically, emotionally, mentally and neurologically. We purposely tried to swim tired in January to:
a.) see what we could do when we were tired
b.) to enhance our training
and c.) because if we rested all the time, we wouldn't train well and lose most of our fitness.
The regional development group is on the same schedule. The elite group stops later and returns to the gym later because their main meets are at different times.

2.) Finals.
Because I have been involved in this sport for over 20 years of my life, I sometimes forget that others have not. For those of you who do not understand how this works, please accept this basic explanation:
For some larger meets, 13 and overs (in most cases, sometimes the age groups are different) will swim preliminaries in the mornings. The top 8 (or top 10, or top 16... whatever the criteria is) from the preliminary round will move on to finals at night. Even if you finish in the top spot in the morning, you will not win the event unless you win at finals. Our goal in these situations should always be to make finals at night. Always always always. We will do a better job of making this point clear before leaving for a meet that offers these opportunities, but we cannot shy away from them when they are presented to us.

3.) I can't be everywhere:
Sadly there will be times when I have to be away from some athletes in order to be with others. I wish that I could be 2 places at once, but physics will not allow it (although I am working on a machine...). Our groups are coached to be coached... simply put: I teach them the ability to be lead by others. Most of them are quite good at this and the ones that are not are always free to contact me (I had one athlete call to talk to me today and got advice for an upcoming race). I wish that I could have been in Oakville for every race, but sadly it was not possible today.

One more day of racing at our 2 meets and I'm pretty excited to see some results.