Olympic Trials to Master’s National

Olympic Trials to Master’s National…Omaha hosts swimmings finest 

Once a competitor at the Olympic Trials but this time just a spectator, I soon realized I was still in it stroke for stroke with the athletes.

My experience-  simply incredible!!

Eight nights of the fastest swimming the World had seen so far this year, with something like 23 first time Olympians….amazing!

I witnessed the newbies become stars. And the veterans that missed their chance at London showed why they were first-class acts in their prime. The sport of swimming, in my eyes, is simply the  greatest thing since sliced bread!!

And if one great competition wasn’t enough, United States Masters Swimming pulled out all the stops to host their Summer Nationals directly after the completion of the Olympic Trials.

I surely was not going to miss my chance to say I raced in the Olympic Trials pool, so one more time this former Olympic champ threw on her cap and goggles and got her race on.

Better than Christmas morning-As I walked up the steps to the pool deck at the Century Link Center, a rush came over my body. I felt honored just to be able to stand on deck.

But now I got to take it even further.

Two days to train, before I would race in one race at USMS Nationals.

(Originally scheduled to race the 400 and 1500 free, I adjusted my travel to get home to my family after learning Tuesday my Dad’s sister, my Aunt Carol had passed. And though my Dad wanted me to stay and do my thing, my heart wanted to be home with my Daddy. It will be a surprise to him, with my early return.)

The race: the 1500 free- the longest race in a pool and one that I feel very at home with. The longer the better!

I was a rookie once again in my career. I had not swam this event yet, in my short return to competitive swimming. And as I prepared for this race, there is one very important thing to know-

As a competitor for twenty plus years of your life, I have learned in this journey back…it is about a fresh start. I do not compare what I once was able to do in the pool to where I am now. Instead, it’s a strategy on how I train (recall my blog “the balancing act“).

And those that swim the 1500 free know it’s like no other race. You can’t say, well my 400 is strong and my 800 good, so therefore my 1500 should be, X-Y-Z…. it just doensn’t work that way. The 1500 is a bear of a race.

Don’t  fear the beast but rather step up to the challenge-

Just a 500 at a time and when it hurts, it’s a head game to finish strong.

As I touched the wall and turned around and glanced up at the HUGE jumbo-tron, I saw 17:54.28.

My initial reaction- ok, I was under 18:00.00. Nice! And because it was my first one back it’s a PB (personal best).

But my excitement came later as I  realized not only did I have a PB in the 1500, but also scored one in my 800 split by four seconds (9:23.06)

And as I ran around the deck to quickly say my good-bye to my fellow USMS members/teammates to catch my flight home, I realized in a brief moment what an honor it was to be in my current position…

I just raced in the Olympic Trials….pool!