Saturday, December 20, 2008

2008 Nationals: A Big Finale

The team free routines and team combos were the final events in Nationals. We'd wised up the day before with the extreme cold and dressed accordingly. I couldn't figure out why it was so hard to close my suitcase when I was wearing three pairs of pants, my competition suit, two t-shirts, and two jackets. Karen loaned me her extra parka to on top of all that and I was pretty snug as a bug in a rug. Lilia had the brilliant idea of bringing a huge blanket from the Timeshare and I so generously offered to keep it warm while she warmed up with her team who would be swimming near the beginning of event.

Again, we began with the 70s age group then moved into the 20s. Lilia's team, The Bikini Squad went 2nd.

Despite the cold, they had a fabulous swim. Kimberly put the icing on the cake with her huge smile and dance when they lifted her at the end. They scored a 72.500 which gave them an overall score of 71.417 and silver medals.

Next up was our 30s team, Whip It. The scored an impressive 75.416 against some pretty stiff competition. They still managed to pull out an overall score of 75.167 which also gave them silver medals.

In the 50s, my team, the Synchronuts, swam 11th while our Ragtime team swam 13th.

The Synchronuts had a pretty good swim. We earned a score of 66.166 which gave us an overall score of 65.083. This gave us fourth place, just one point from third. The ribbons are nice, but next year, we plan to come home with some hardware.

The Ragtime team had a great swim and earned a 71.667 for an overall score of 69.667. They came home with silver medals around their necks after just being edged out for gold by .083 of a point. Great job ladies!

At last, we were finished since no one on our team was swimming the combo event. It was time to relax and enjoy the remainder of the competition.

But first, we had the awards ceremony and an impromptu photo shoot. After all the medals were awarded, the winner of the high point trophy was announced. The way they determine the National Champion is based on the points earned in each event.

Points are awarded through 8th place. With everyone swimming as well as they did we successfully defended our National Title with 136 overall points.

This is Whip It before they got their medals. Back left to right: Lea, Karen, Lesley, Ymajahi, Sylvia (alternate); Front left to right: Shannon, Catherine, Candy and Lindsay.

This is the Ragtime Team with their medals and roses. From left to right: Shelley, Lizzi, Jill, Sue, Molly, Kathy, Penny and Ruth.

Here are the Synchronuts. Back left to right: Lori, Akiko, Vicki, Mary; Front left to right: DeeAnna, Corby, Kathy and Elaine.

The Bikini Squad went in search of heat. This is all that was left of them:

After we'd gotten the medals and such squared away, it was time for the Combos to begin.

As always, San Francisco Tsunami put on a great show with a tribute to Dolly Pardon. They even put their tallest guy in a blonde wig and fake boobs for the routine.

The highlight of the competition for me was having the opportunity to see the swimmers from "O" compete. This team was so good that people were standing around watching their practice in the shallow end.

Needless to say, no one was surprised when they earned a 94.333 which was the highest score of the meet. They had a fabulous swim. Even their mistakes were beautiful. Karen told me later that the sign of a good routine is that your reaction is, "It's over?" after they stop swimming. The "O" routine certainly fit that bill.

All too soon, we were packing up and getting on the road to head back to Los Angeles. This time the milk thing didn't work as well. We learned that you have to get your eyes out of bright sun and heavy wind for it to be effective. I'm so thankful Kathy's husband, Denny, was driving. Neither of us could see all that well until after the sun went down.

And that's the end of our 2008 Nationals Experience.

Friday, December 19, 2008

2008 Nationals: Trios and Team Techs

Saturday morning dawned bright and early for us all. Before we left the Timeshare, Karen asked me what the weather had been like. I told her that I was comfortable air drying in my suit on Thursday and Friday had been nice until it got chilly that night. We agreed that her shorts would be more than enough for the day. I was wearing only my swim sandals.

Oh how wrong we were!!

Things seemed to go okay at first. It was pretty chilly and the sun kept trying to disappear, but the competition progressed as scheduled. Trios were up first.

In the 70s age group, we started with Molly, Penny and Mariam swimming 2nd. They snuck up on me so I was only able to get about half of the routine.

They did an excellent job and ended up in 1st place with a score of 58.500.

In the 30s age group, Lindsay, Ymajahi and Shannon swam 5th.

They scored 73.500.

In the 50s, Shelley, Jill and Kathy swam 4th and earned a 68.5.

It wasn't long into these routines that the clouds started rolling in and threatening rain. People were prepared to deal with rain. After all, most of us would be wet anyway. Unfortunately, we were not prepared for the snow that started falling. Yes. Snow. In Vegas. I didn't even think such a thing was possible.

Immediately, I started regretting my choice of shoes for the day. When Ymajahi packed up her newborn and mother to take them back to the Timeshare, I made sure I went with them. We got a list of what everyone else needed and we were on our way. What made all this extremely fun was the fact that Ymajahi's team was swimming in just over an hour.

In the fastest dash possible, we went to the Timeshare and picked up what we could. Ymajahi had only brought sandals with her to Vegas so we stopped at a low price store - who shall remain nameless 'cause I'm far from a fan - to buy her some shoes. She also grabbed some hats, gloves and a robe.

We dashed back to the pool where we arrived just in time for Ymajahi to sprint back inside and jump in the water for her team warm up. I parked her van then brought the stuff inside.

Our 20s team, The Bikini Squad, swam 2nd in the event and 1st in their age group.

They did a fantastic job despite the cold and scored 70.334.

Next up was our 30s team, Whip It, who swam 10th.

Another fantastic showing. They scored 74.916.

We have two teams in the 50s age group. The Ragtime Team and the Synchronuts.

The Synchronuts, my team, swam 7th.

It was so cold that we didn't even bother getting out of the pool to start. We made a grand entrance by swimming under the lane line. I have no other explanation for this, but for the first time in my life, I had the thought, "I don't want to be here," in the middle of the routine. Thankfully, it was fleeting and piked down for the porpoise lift. With the exception of tilting my head the wrong direction for the first time ever, the rest of the routine was fairly uneventful.

When we got out of the water, our coach, Dawn, was just thrilled with how well we did. It's really rare for us to see her that excited about something our team has done. Usually her reactions are very tactful questions like, "Was that a sequence?" For the first time, she started to see all her hard work paying off. That made the rest of the day worth it.

We ended up with a score of 64.000 which just put us in 5th place by .083 of a point.

The Ragtime team swam 12th. They scored a very nice 67.667.

After the team techs, the trios got back in the water to swim their free routines.

In the 70s, Molly, Penny and Mariam came away with a score of 64.600.

Their combined overall score was 61.550.

Next up was Shannon, Ymajahi and Lindsay who swam 8th. They scored 75.800 which gave them the silver with an overall score of 74.650.

Shelley, Jill and Kathy finished out our trios in the 50s age group.

They scored 64.000 which put them in first with an overall score of 66.250.

At last, our day was coming to a close. After the awards ceremonies, we had a brief athlete's meeting to discuss possible changes to the competition format then we all headed back to the Timeshare exhausted.

After a yummy meal we picked up from Chili's we sat around the living room and chatted. Karen entertained us with the background of the rules that were at issue during the meeting and told us about the ones that are on the books because of her. Go Karen!! Then we all headed off to bed to rest up for the final day of competition.

The Team Frees.