Sunday, February 22, 2009

Set The Clock Back Six Years

Garrett's high school coach took me along as an assistant yesterday for Wisconsin's state high school championship. I had not been in the natatorium in Madison for six years. The last time we were there, Garrett set a national high school record in the 100 free with a time of 43.49. It's a mark that still stands as a pool record.

It was interesting and odd roaming the deck. The first thing I noticed was that I could see, almost in slow motion, what various swimmers were doing wrong. One kid would have won the 50 instead of tying, for example, had he not had a hitch in his final stroke. He was looking at the wall and deciding whether to stroke or glide, I'm sure. A young guy in the second heat of the 200 probably had the best freestyle in the pool. He'll be one to watch. Backstroke starts are not a strong point here in Wisconsin. The winner of the 100 breast looked like he has potential to make the NCAA championship meet in college. Probably a third of the swimmers reach for the sky with their right arm when they breathe and run their fingers through the water during their recovery with their left.

It was curious to me that I could suddenly see so many subtle things. A friend observed, correctly I think, that I've had the privilege to spending the last six years watching the best swimmers on earth. It's now easy to see when others don't do what they do.
Finally, what was it like to be on deck after so much has happened in our family's swimming life? Not nearly as exciting as watching Garrett race but a heck of a lot more relaxing.


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