Monday, October 24, 2011

Neptune Classic, October 23, 2011

Having just finished a very successful first day of a two-day meet, and with three more difficult events ahead, I was hopeful that Lex would do well, but a small part of me also warned, "Don't be disappointed if she doesn't." We have been through this before -- we've enjoyed great success on the first day only to fall apart on day two. But Lex was exuding confidence -- something I'm not used to seeing.

Mom and Dad came out to watch her swim on Sunday, a rare treat! I tried to select better seats because the architect at this particular venue apparently thought very little of spectators and placed HUGE columns in the way of viewing. But, we did the best we could.

Lexy's first race of the day was the 100 Backstroke -- never her favorite. She has a long history of being DQ'd for illegal turns. However, today she was determined to surprise us all, especially herself! She was seeded at 1:33.11 and she had a great start. She was about fourth in her heat until the third lap and then started to pull ahead. By the third turn she was in the lead and finished first in her heat, to my astonishment. Then, when I checked her time, I had to double check which lane she was in because the clock showed 1:18.54. Oh my goodness -- can that be right? I checked it again -- and it was! Some quick math on my part said she had gone about 15 seconds faster than her seed time, and slid right over the Silver qualifying time. I let out a deep breath because then I knew that Sunday had the potential to be just as good, or better, than Saturday.

With that huge hurdle behind her, Lexy got ready for her 100 Fly. She was seeded at 1:28.00 and, again, this isn't one of her favorite events. She took off and looked great. Just watching anyone do that stroke makes me tired. But she came through with flying colors, just about 2 seconds faster at 1:26.17, and finishing 16th overall in that event.

Just the 200 IM was left, and Lexy was feeling great. Finally, an event with a breaststroke element! She was able to catch up to others in her heat during that part of the event and went from a 2:50.87 to a 2:47.36 -- still a Silver time, and about 2.5 seconds faster.

What a fantastic start to the season! We couldn't be prouder.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

October 22, 2011 -- Neptune Classic

It's been almost a year since my last post, and so much has happened! Not the least of which, we've moved from Michigan to New Jersey and Lex has started swimming with a new team, Elite Swim Club in Morristown. It's a big club, and Lex has worked hard since the beginning.

In New Jersey they structure their meets a little differently, and I like the new arrangement. Instead of having just a morning session for 12 & Unders and an afternoon session for 13 & Overs, they divide the day into thirds: 10 & Unders in the morning, 11-12 around noon, and 13 & Overs in the 3-4 pm timeframe. This keeps the sessions much shorter for everyone. And, there are so many in the 11-12 age group, they definitely seem to need their own session.

The head coach put Lexy in the 50 back, 50 fly and 200 freestyle for Saturday. In the past Lexy hasn't enjoyed swimming back and fly, but they've been working on these strokes quite a bit in practice. Apparently all that practice has paid off!

First, in the 50 Backstroke, Lexy was ranked 20 out of 77 entries -- not too shabby. Today, she dropped 2.21 seconds, from 38.62 to 36.83, earning her a Silver time by NJ swimming standards. (In NJ, Silver times are roughly equivalent to A times in Michigan, while Gold times are roughly equivalent to Q1 or State qualifying times. However, a quick review shows that NJ Gold times are faster than Q1 times by a fair margin.)

In the 50 Fly, her second event, Lexy was ranked 38 out of 84 and was just looking to improve on her best time of 40.10, which she set back in December 2009. She made good on that goal, swimming a 37.87, a huge improvement! She needs a little bit more to earn a Silver time.

Finally, in her third event, the 200 Free, Lexy had already qualified for a Silver time with her seed time of 2:26.69. She was positioned well going into the meet and was ranked 8th of the 44 entries. She swam in the last heat and finished 7th, with a new best time of 2:23.42, a drop of 3.27 seconds!

Needless to say we were delighted with her improvement and, since there were so many family members present who haven't been able to come out and see her swim, that made it even more special. We're excited about the 2011-2012 season and are looking forward to tomorrow's events eagerly.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Fall Season Begins, USSC Trick-or-Treat Meet, October 24, 2010

It's been a while since States, and we're ready to get back into the swing of things with the slate of meets lined up for fall. Lexy has aged up into the 11-12 age group, so we have different objectives this year: just swim your best and try to drop time. I believe she achieved those objectives this weekend.

We only swam one day of this meet, which will probably be our strategy for the season. Since we'll be relocating next year, we need our weekends to work on getting things cleaned up/organized/repaired/thrown out. This year, the chances are pretty slim that we'll be devoting entire weekends to meets as we have in the past.

Lexy had a very good meet, even though it was her first swimming in the 11-12 age group. She was seeded pretty well in all four of her events, which helped tremendously.

In the 100 Breaststroke, she was seeded 27 of 66, and dropped two seconds, from 132.29 to 130.13. Breaststroke has always been a good event for Lex and it was great start to the day.

In the 200 IM, she was seeded 31 of 71, and managed a drop of 6 seconds! She went from a 2:59.88 to 2:53.92. That was just delightful.

In the 100 Free, she was seeded 34 of 102, and finished about a second slower, but no major change.

Finally, in the 50 Fly, she was seeded 47 of 82 and finished again, about a second slower.

Overall, she had a great day, but the competition will get tougher as the season progresses.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Long Course State Championships, Day Four

Ahh, Sunday. It's the last day of long course championships, and I'm just getting comfortable with my surroundings. We pack up, check out, and make a beeline for the Lake Michigan beach. We hang out for a couple of hours, soak up some sun, watch the sailboats head out for the day and, finally, head over to the pool for Lexy's last four events.

Today Lexy has 50 Breast, 200 IM, 50 Free, and the Free relay with three of her teammates. In the 50 Breast, she drops 0.23 seconds, to finish at 48.55. Right on her time -- respectable.

It's the 200 IM where Lexy decides to surprise us. Going in with a 3:20.14 and knowing she could really take some time off after her surprise 50 Backstroke time in the relay, I watched and dutifully copied down split times. She had a great 50 Fly length and then it looked like she was getting slower. But then -- lo and behold! She wound up with a 3:14.78! Way to go, Lex, you really showed us you could swim.

The 50 Free, just a few minutes later, was right on her best time -- no real change there.

Then, in the 200 Free Relay, the girls had a good chance for a medal, as they were seeded 8th. Lexy swam her 50 Free leg at 36.84, which is 0.13 better than her best time. I know she was tired but she gave it her best shot. The girls came in 9th or 10th -- they'll bring home a ribbon--but it was fun anyway to have the relay.

We headed home tired, but satisfied that Lex has had a great summer season as a 10 year old. Lexy turns 11 on Friday and, when she starts swimming as an 11-year old in the fall, that will bring a whole new round of challenges.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Long Course State Championships, Day Three

In an effort to get "up and at 'em", we went in search of Lake Michigan this morning. How can a lake that big be so hard to find? I just got so turned around in downtown Holland (I know, that was my first mistake), that I got really frustrated. It was raining anyway, so we gave up, parked, and window-shopped.

Today's events were a far cry better than the past two days. Lexy swam just two. First was the backstroke leg of the Medley Relay. Backstroke hasn't been her strong stroke this year, but today she did an awesome job! Backstroke is the first one out of the chute in this relay, followed by breaststroke, fly, and free. She's been languishing at 46.89 for a 50 Meter backstroke for about a month -- but today, she dropped three seconds, finishing at 43.87! This is even within the state qualifying time for this event. Something must have clicked there, though I don't know where or when.

When it came to the 100 breaststroke event, I felt she would do well. She ended up dropping .41 to finish at 1:46.47.

In the afternoon, the sun had come out, so we got ourselves a REAL map, and headed over to Holland State Park. We gathered up our umbrella, towels, and I grabbed a book, and we sat on an actual beach for a couple of hours. Lexy played in the surf and dug in the sand just like I did when I was a kid, but she didn't get to lick her arm and taste salt. Definitely missing the salt.

Just one day left for states, and there will be four events tomorrow. A busy day -- see you then!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Long Course State Championships, Day Two

After a relaxing morning wandering downtown Holland and finding some fun buys, we headed back to the pool. I dropped Lex at the door and then wandered the streets of Holland looking for someplace, anyplace, to park. I'm sorry to say, I had to park illegally, in the hospital parking lot. I'm thrilled that so many kids qualified for states and that so many people showed up to watch them swim. I'm less excited about this daily ritual.

Today was more fun for Lexy since she wasn't the only swimmer in the 12 & under category! Her teammates Nehemiah (a.k.a. Nemo), Bridget, and Jenny came to keep her company (and also swim their qualifying events). It was a special treat to see Jenny since her family moved to Texas a few weeks ago, and they've come back especially to swim at States. A brief but fun reunion!

Nemo and Jenny did really well; both got on the medal stand having finished in the top 8 in their 50 Fly events. Bridget also finished well, right on her best time. Lexy, well, not so much. Her only event today was the 200 Free, normally an event where she shines. Lexy has always been more of an endurance swimmer than a sprinter, so I felt confident going in that she would do well. However, she was a little slower again. Not enough to cause concern -- she's still well within the qualifying time range.

We have two days, two relays and four events to go. I hope she can find her motivation and bring her pool face with her.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Long Course State Championships, Day One

Here we are, at Lexy's second trip to Long Course State Championships,this time in Holland, Michigan. Lexy had a pretty good year, getting six qualifying times during the season. Because there are so many kids who need to get through all their events, the meet starts on a Thursday and goes through Sunday. In all, she'll swim six individual events and two relays.

Her first event for the weekend was the 400 Freestyle, which I think went pretty well. She was seeded 11th of 24 competing, she swam just 8 seconds slower than her best time, and still a qualifying time (6:00.39). There was quite a long wait between warm-ups and the time she got to swim, so I'm sure she lost a fair amount of adrenaline along the way, but I think she did a great job.

Looking forward to tomorrow when she'll swim the 200 Free.