Carol Chidester Series Swim Meets #4 and #5 (Jan and Feb 2023)

a self-portrait of the author's head at the Arundel Olympic Swim Center

Meet No4 (Jan 2023)

This meet was at the Arundel Olympic Center. It was my first time there, and what a beautiful venue for a swim meet! Unlike the other pools in the Carol Chidester series it has 6 or more lanes available for warmup and cooldown while the meet is running. This is due to the fact that it’s a 50 meter pool that’s being converted to a 25 yard pool using a bulkhead. The other half of the pool is where the warmup lanes reside. There is built-in stadium seating; nice and high up so that the entire pool can be viewed from up there. The only bummer was that the spa pool was closed during the meet. That would have been a nice place to rest the muscles while keeping them warm between events.

swimmers warming up in the main area of the the Arundel Olympic Swim Center
Swimmers warming up in the main area of the the Arundel Olympic Swim Center. You can see the stadium seating in the background.

At this meet I did the 100y free, 50y free, and 500y free, as well as the relays. For the 500y free, I got 6:58.06. I’m a bit disappointed as I thought I was going to get closer to a mid-six minute time. I think, based on my 200y experience in the first meet, I was a little scared of going out too fast. The final meet in March will be my next chance to try and beat my time.

The warm up and cool down lanes in the Arundel Olympic Swim Center
The warm up and cool down lanes in the Arundel Olympic Swim Center

For the 100y freestyle I got 1:04.85. This was a 2 second improvement on my previous time. From the last week in December through January I was working on improving my flip turn efficiency. I attribute at least part of my better time to my improved flip turn. It was nice to see some improvement.

This was my first 50y freestyle as an adult. I swam a 29.65. Thinking back to high school, I don’t remember how fast I ever swam the 50y free, but *maybe* I got as low as 24 seconds. I was usually more of a distance person, so I don’t remember my time.

I was also part of the 200y medley relay, swimming freestyle, as usual.

Overall, a great meet at a great location.

Meet No5 (Feb 2023)

For this meet we were back at Severna Park, the same location as the December meet. This time I swam the 100y freestyle, 50y breaststroke, and 50y freestyle. I wanted to try the breast stroke to see how well I could do at a stroke I don’t normally do. Also, this was the first meet where a family member joined me – Stella came to watch me swim. It was a lot of fun explaining to her how the meet would go and answering her questions.

Self portrait of author and daughter
Stella joined me for the fifth meet!

For the 100y freestyle I got 1:06.39. This is more or less tied with my slower time. I could feel that I messed up on my flip turns – they weren’t as neat as I wanted them to be. I heard others (unprompted by me) also complaining that this pool made for slightly harder flip turns than other pools. That may be so, but as I think back on how I was swimming and flipping in this meet, I think I need to practice more at swim meet speed. My habitual techniques take over and I think, for example, that I wasn’t using my arms as efficiently as I do doing practice. I need to work on these sprint events to find the right ratio between speed and technique.

For the 50y breaststroke, I got 45.97. Since this was only about a second faster than I’d done in practice (without jumping off the board), I think I might have been too tired from the 100y freestyle or maybe just wasn’t pushing myself hard enough during the stroke. Even though I was just trying out a new stroke, if I do breaststroke again, I need to focus on a more powerful stroke.

Finally, I did the 50y freestyle again. This time I got 29.57. An improvement of 8/100s of a second may as well be a tie in my book. I’m happy that I didn’t go any slower, but I’m a little bummed out that I didn’t go any faster than last time. That said, if you figure a sloppy flip turn on a super sprint event, it makes sense that I wouldn’t be able to go any faster. Or rather, I probably did swim faster during the swim portion.

I didn’t do any relays during this meet.

There’s only one meet left during this series, so I’m going to need to decide what I want to do. It’s my last chance to do a 500y free again for this season. It’s also a possibility to try a third time on the 200y freestyle to see if I can beat my initial time. With a choice of only 3 individual events, it’s going to be hard to decide exactly which ones I want to choose for this last meet.