Friday, February 6, 2009

The Swim Meet of the Year!

Yesterday we had something called class relays at the pool. This is literally the most intense meet of the year for the University of Texas swim team. The race is a 200 freestyle relay. There is so much pride involved and some trash talking. The trash talking is all in good fun and no one gets serious about it...(unlike the French) haha jk:)

I have always had really good swims at the relay meet. I'm dead serious when I say I get more excited and intense for this meet than I do at NCAA's. My sophomore year I went 19.4, junior year I went 18.91, senior year I went 18.98. Yesterday I was on a professional relay with Dale Rogers, Matt Lowe and Eric Shanteau. We weren't allowed to swim in the heat with all the college guys but swam in the heat after. Dale led off in 19.5...before I tell you what I went I must tell you what I think is the key to having a dominant relay split at the class relays.

During this part of the season I'm just coming off super hard winter training. We are starting to do a little less yardage in practice and focus more on some speed work. Generally the weight-room turns into more explosive work with lower reps and higher weight. Both my junior and senior years I lifted really hard in the weight room before the relay meet. These sessions consisted of a good warm-up with my shoulders and core and then did some heavy explosive exercises. Yesterday for instance I did bench press (along with many other exercises) and did a warm-up set of six, then a set of four, three and two. On each set I went up in weight and on the last set of two I equalled my max bench of 220 lbs. I feel like the key is getting all the blood flowing to your muscles and get your mind and body in the POWER mode before heading to the pool. I made sure to do a lot of little core exercises along the way like crunches, sit-ups and back exercises to get my core ready to rock. Our core ties everything in our body together and allows us to maximize all the power from both our arms and legs. The best swimmers in the world are not always the strongest swimmers. However, the best swimmers in the world are able to combine both the power from their legs and arms together through the use of their core. By having a strong core and becoming aware of how to use it properly through lots of practice we will be in a better position to succeed.

I'm an extremely excitable and high strung person sometimes. I can get so excited about something in a matter of an instant that I will jump in the air or want to bust through a wall. Yesterday, as I walked from the weight room to the pool, I was so focused on how ridiculous this swim was about to be that I had some type of adrenaline rush or something that exploded through my body. I just about yelled and flexed all my muscles and had to restrain myself from exploding into a full sprint to the pool. This happens when I warm up a lot. I will literally just be swimming along and all of a sudden I get so excited about something that is about to happen that a switch immediately flips and I pop off into a sprint. Generally this only lasts for about two or three seconds and then I'm back down to earth. It's really weird haha! As I'm sure you can tell...I was ready to bust a cap at the relay meet.

I got to the pool and warmed up. I could feel the power. I was ready to go. I put my suit on and got ready to race.

....So Dale led off in 19.5. I sprung off the block into action. My dive felt good but I didn't feel like I really slipped through the perfect hole on my entry. Nonetheless I was off and sprinting. Going into the turn I shorted my last stroke a little bit (taking an extra stroke into the turn that wasn't a full freestyle stroke, this can sometimes slow you down). I fly-kicked off the wall and headed for home. With about 15 meters to go I was focused on blasting my kick. I took a breath and could tell I was going really fast because the wave against my face was really strong. I touched the wall and ended up splitting 18.80 with a 0.23 relay start. The relay start was pretty slow...I was 0.07 at the Olympics on the 400 free relay. You want to be at about 0.1 so you are in control. This race gives me a really good idea about where I am in my training as well as gives me a lot of confidence moving forward. I'm stronger than I ever have been and know I have many fast swims left in me!


Donna Binkholder said...

Nice blog I felt the intensity from your blog. Makes me get pumped up even more for the 21st....Hahaha trash talking how nice....yes, it all harmless fun...I think my bro needs a lesson in that dept. And sorry this is off topic but Did you see Mizzou beat your Longhorns in basketball??? Like for the first time since 1999!!!

LUCY said...

Garrett, will you be swimming at the Austin Grand Prix in March? I wanted to check before I purchase the tickets to the meet.

Noeline Bennett said...

Bursting through a wall? Yelling and flexing muscles? Restraining yourself from exploding?... and I thought the Incredible Hulk phenomenon didn't exist! I'm sooooo wrong. Wow! :)

Jessica Cole-Crawford said...

I am a bit breathless just from reading your blog... your words and descriptions put me right there with you... on the pool deck, in the warm up pool, on the blocks, in the water, and at the finish... thanks Garrett. It has been a while since I have been able to feel a similar adrenaline rush of my own in the pool... it felt good (even though it was a vicariously lived moment).

J said...

WOW, that race description was incredibly vivid and personified that adrenaline rush of swimming. I like that part of getting so excited pre- warm-up, and wanting to jump up and down. What I miss the most is that rush from flipping off the wall, something about a fast flipturn is so exciting!

QBrain said...

Nice swim Garrett.

You havn't put up 225 yet? I bet you can't wait until you have to rack up two 45s to a side. Next season.

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