Sunday, June 14, 2009

Long Course Swimming . . . Long Steps Forward

So, I was a summer league swimmer as a kid: starting in 8 & unders and swimming through part of high school on the high school team. But things have changed LOTS since then. I have had to learn (or re-learn) lots of new vocabulary: A, BB, B and C times, DQ (dis-qualified, not Dairy Queen), Stroke and Turn, Heat, Short Course, Long Course; to name a few. Well, it turns out short course is what I knew from my past: a 25 yard or meter pool. Long Course is what they swim in the Olympics: 50 meters for one length. That's intimidating. But cool too as you have fewer flip-turns. Today was Alex's first Long Course meet. He was nervous as he had 4 events: 100 back, 50 free, 100 breast, and 50 fly; in that order.

The coaches had to estimate what his times would be for his entry, as he had never swum long course before. Nervously he stood on the block, and jumped in for the 100 back. The starter shot the gun and the swimmers were off. This meet was a fast meet, as most (not all) of the other swimmers had A, BB and B times. Alex has just finished up his first year of swim team - he started last June with a summer team, fell in love with the sport and joined the year-round team at the Y last September. He spent the fall and winter learning the strokes and turns, and only started working on endurance and speed this spring when he moved up to a more challenging group for practice. His times have slowly and steadily improved through the year, but they are still solidly C times.

Today he took a few giant leaps forward in that long course pool. He hit the wall at the end of 100 meter backstroke 14 seconds faster than he ever did before. In that event he dropped his time to within 10 seconds of a B time. Next, he dove off the starting block (his best dive ever!) to a fastest time ever in the 50 free. He broke a minute which was a personal goal of his, and dropped his time down to 55:98; within 11 seconds of another B time! His 100 breast stroke showed a 3 second improvement and his 50 fly time stayed the same, but he looked TIRED by then :). The nice thing I noticed was that his breaststroke and butterfly stroke and kick were still together; right up to the end. No DQs! Woo Hoo!! Today he recognized the culmination of lots of little steps into one giant leap.

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