This past weekend, Eric and I headed to UGA along with my MOR teammates to compete in Sr. Sectionals in Athens. It was a competitive meet with several collegiate teams and Olympians participating including Ryan Lochte. The 50 free was held on the first day of the meet and I swam 26.87 to make the C finals at night, which tied my fastest time this year. Although I was disappointed to swim slower that night at 27.22, I planned to time trial the event a few more times throughout the meet to make some adjustments to my race.
The following day, I participated in a time trial after the prelims session. I stuck with my no breather race, but made some adjustments to my breakout in the start. Additionally, I focused on "swimming bigger" to reduce my stroke rate slightly in order to sustain my speed at the finish. My third attempt resulted in a time of 26.92.
On Saturday morning, I swam the 100 fly. I focused on taking the race out more controlled so that I could finish strong. It worked and and I went a lifetime best time of 1:04.99. I was encouraged now because I could see that my hard work was starting to pay off! Following finals that night, I swam another 50 free time trial. I really wanted to focus on my "swimming bigger" technique and not worry about the time. Although I need to refine this new technique, my fourth attempt resulted in my fastest time of the weekend with 26.84.
My final race in Athens before heading back home to Raleigh was 100 free. Again, I wanted to take the race out more controlled and Coach Silver suggested that I breathe every third stroke the entire race in order to finish strong. I went a 59.10, which was my fastest 100 free in several years and was further evidence that my training was starting to kick in.
While we were in Athens, we also had the opportunity to see my former UGA swim team member and dear friend, Caroline. Her son, Josh, also participated in the meet and we got to cheer for him during his races. He is hoping to follow in his mother's example and swim for a top-tier college program. Eric and I also had lunch at Rafferty's, where we first met in 1993.
Overall, I was encouraged with my progress after the meet. Now, I am looking forward to building on this momentum with some rest and a strategic taper heading into Greensboro next week for Sr. Champs, followed by Tarheel States in Chapel Hill and then Cleveland in early August!