Saturday, October 18, 2008

2008 Nationals: Solos Up First

Thursday was our solo competition. After a great night's sleep at the Timeshare I got up and hitched a ride to the pool our coach, Dawn. I wanted to be there in time for the open pool at 8a and Catherine and Lilia weren't planning to come until later. The open pool time did a lot to calm my nerves. You'd think by now I'd be used to competing. Anyway, I had a lovely swim despite the fact that my swimp3 peeled my goggles off every time I went upside down.

While I was warming up, a Japanese lady joined me on the side of the pool and asked about Akiko, one of my teammates. Turns out, she and Akiko became fast friends when we competed at Stanford in 2006 and she was hoping to see her again. I assured her that Akiko would be arriving on Friday.

At last, things settled - as much as they can at a swim meet - and we were off and running. We started with four ladies in the 70s age group followed by three ladies in the 80s age group. Both Lizzi and Mariam are in the 80s this year.

Lizzi was first.

Ramapo Aquamasters went second and Mariam rounded out the age group.

Both of our ladies did a fantastic job. After the tech routine, Lizzi was in first and Mariam was in second.

Next up: the 20s!

We had three teammates competing in this age group and judging by the routines I saw, I am very thankful I'm in the 30s.

Kimberly swam 12th.

Jenni swam 18th, but her music was screwy so she got to swim the routine again after Ymajahi.

Ymajahi swam 21st.

As you can see, all three did a fantastic job. I have a little breathing room with Kim and Jenni, but Ymajahi is going to be my competition next year. I'm really not looking forward that.

After these techs, Jenni was in 1st, Ymajahi was tied for 8th and Kim was 10th. Considering how amazing their competition was, this was quite a feat.

On to the 30s!

Three of us from the Unsyncables competed in the 30s.

I swam 2nd.

I don't think you can tell from this version of the video, but I got totally lost underwater on my spin. I was trying to count walls like Karen taught me, but there were so many numbers going through my head at the time I kinda gave up. Instead, I kinda picked a direction that looked right and came up with the biggest smile ever. I was sorta correct, but once on the surface I could see where I was and fixed my angle. Overall, I really needed to travel more. I only covered half of the pool before turning around to come back.

Lilia swam 5th.

Catherine swam 7th.

After the techs, Catherine was in 3rd, I was in 4th, Lilia was in 5th.

The 40s followed us.

Sylvia swam 5th. She ended up in 4th place after the techs.

Then the 50s were up.

We only had Corby from our team in this age group, but I also had to cheer on Becky from Alpine Angelfish and Michael from Cypress. Becky joined us in Australia and kinda became and honorary Unsyncable and Michael is a Cal State Games buddy.

Corby swam 7th in the age group.

After the techs, Becky was in 1st, Michael in 6th, Corby in 9th.

This year we had no one in the 60s so our Solo Tech competition was complete.

On to the Frees!

Having never done tech and free in one day, I didn't really know what to expect with the whole gelling situation. I've only gelled twice before. Karen fixed me up in Australia and I did it in our hotel room before the Cal State Games this past July. I've never, ever done it at the pool on the fly like I did at Nationals.

Lilia and Catherine were at the gelling station working on their hair so I kinda joined them. The sun was so intense that it hurt to look in the tiny mirror on the table. I ended up missing an entire section of my hair because I couldn't see what I was doing. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it!) I did, however, nearly manage to gel my right eye shut. And I had what seemed to be a river of gel flowing down the left side of my face. Those sideburns weren't going anywhere!

When I went in the locker room to change suits, I put my black suit on the sink to pin in my headpiece. Of course when I picked it up it had globs of gel on it. I'd need the suit again on Saturday, but I didn't have time to panic right then. Time to get back to business.

Again, we started with the 70s. In the 80s, Lizzi went 2nd.

Mariam swam 3rd, but for some reason I didn't get the video.

With all said and done, Lizzi took the gold with a total score of 59.333. Mariam took the silver with a 54.167. Excellent job, ladies!!

Now for those 20s.

Kim swam 16th.

Ymajahi swam 19th.

Jenni swam 20th.

Thankfully, there were no more music snafus. In the end, Jenni took the bronze with a 72.083, Ymajahi took 9th with a 68.167 and Kim took 10th with a 68.083. To give you an idea of how intense this age group was, Kanako Kitao did this move where she put her foot on her head then somersaulted backwards. Twice. In a row. Let's just say she was about 11 points ahead of everyone else.

Back to the 30s.

Lilia was 1st.

I swam 6th.

Catherine swam 9th.

Since I wasn't exactly thrilled with how the tech went, I decided to just do the doggone thing. I honestly cannot remember a single moment of this routine while I was in the water. When I got out of the pool I felt like I had just worked really hard.

Then of course the coughing started. Apparently, I don't do well in extremely dry climates. The same thing happened after my solo in Tucson. Since I was kind of expecting it, I'd been drinking lots of water all day. It did help a little, but I still ended up with a coughing fit that lasted for about a 30 minutes.

But back to the scores. Catherine took 3rd place with 67.521, Lilia took 4th with 63.042, I took 5th with 62.750. Considering that Catherine was freaking out the night before trying to write her routine, she didn't do a bad job at all.

In the 40s, Sylvia swam 4th. I don't have a video because I couldn't see at the time. More on that later. She kept 4th place with a 65.688.

In the 50s, Corby swam 6th right after Becky. Michael swam 3rd.

Despite some really stiff competition, Corby took 8th with a 57.579. Go Corby, Go Corby!! Becky took 2nd (66.479) and Michael took 6th (61.021).

And that was our solo competition. Overall, we had an excellent showing. We also found a major problem with the pool. The chemicals were seriously off. I'm not an expert, so I don't know details. All I know is that periodically I couldn't open my eyes at all. I can't even describe how much they burned and watered. The sun and wind didn't help matters either. The only way I could be comfortable was to sit with my goggles on. They're dark and airtight so they kept the sun and wind from irritating my eyes further. But my eyes kept watering and would fog up the goggles. It was a no win situation.

Laurette advised that I soak them in milk. Unfortunately, I didn't have any with me at the pool. I left with Catherine and Lilia after the competition was over and we got some milk cartons with a straw and headed back to the timeshare. I had no idea how to get the milk in my eyes so I improvised. I poured it in my goggles and held them to my eyes over the kitchen sink. Don't tilt your head. The milk will leak out. Blink a few times then rinse your eyes with water.

I don't know the whys or what have yous, but my eyes were instantly better. I had this cloudy haze across my vision that went completely away after the milk treatment. For best results, do the milk treatment once you're out of the sun and wind. I had to soak them again after the team free competition and it wasn't quite as effective because we were still pool side. But once the sun went down, the milk did its job. I think from now on I will keep milk with me as part of my essential swim gear.

And there you have it. Day one of Nationals.

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