The Practice Meet

I didn’t have time to write about it earlier, but the Tecumseh marathon wasn’t the only race I did last week. I do swimming workouts with the UIUC Masters swim team. Thursday (two days before the marathon) was our last practice of the semester and we had a practice meet where we raced against each other. Melissa even came to watch the meet and take pictures (she was the only spectator). Afterwards we had a pizza party.

Masters swim team

Masters swim team

The turnout was relatively small. Each event only had a few people swimming, and there were only enough people to fill two four-person teams for the relay events. I am one of the few people doing Masters who didn’t swim competitively when I was younger, so a swim meet is a really foreign and interesting experience for me.

Unfortunately, I’m very bad at jumping off the starting blocks. My legs flail about and half the time my goggles fill with water.

Rob starting off the block

legs flailing

This is going to be a bad goggle day

goggles filled with water

I swam the 500 yard freestyle (what, no 1000 yard race?). I was the only one who swam the 500 yard freestyle. Most people consider it a distance race, but it’s almost a sprint to me. I really only have one speed when swimming anyway. My 1000 yard pace is pretty close to my 200 yard pace. My time was 6:53, which was a bit slower than I hoped.

Rob swimming 500 yard freestyle

500 yard freestyle


all done

Aside from that I swam the 100 yard breaststroke and the 100 yard individual medley. Then I also go talked into the 200 yard medley relay (where I swam backstroke), the 200 yard freestyle relay, and the (joke event) 200 yard “corkscrew” relay. The (new to me) corkscrew event requires always rotating the same direction, alternating one stroke freestyle then one stroke backstroke. It made me incredibly dizzy. 35 yards into my 50 yard leg I just started laughing uncontrollably. I was so dizzy I kept running into the lane lines and I could barely stay afloat.

100 yard individual medley (25 yards each: butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, freestyle). My goggles filled with water when I hit the water. I stopped for a moment and tried to fix them but I quickly gave up and just swam the entire thing with water in my goggles.

“corkscrew” relay

I had a really fun time. I was a little concerned about doing any type of race so close to the marathon, but it worked out okay. My arms and shoulders were pretty stiff on Friday, but they loosened up in time for the race on Saturday.

4 thoughts on “The Practice Meet”

  1. Congrats! Your 500 time seems pretty solid. Do you have upcoming meets against other Masters teams? I’ve been told that goggles filling with water is sometimes caused by lifting head too high on entry, but not sure if that applies in your case. You might try droping your chin closer to your chest. (Peanut gallery advice from someone who swims at least 20% slower than you.)

  2. Thanks Scott. I heard there was a meet in Danville sometime in January, but I don’t know the details. You’re absolutely right about the goggles. I just don’t have enough experience jumping off the blocks to get it right every time.

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