Let me take you back to January 2006, I was at a meet which is much like champs for the local year round teams. The last event of the meet was the 200 Freestyle Relay and Valley Splash was in a position to win the event against the powerhouse Santa Clara Swim Club. I was seeded to anchor the relay and it was turning out to be an extremely close race. Now I’m not one to be too nervous before a race but before this one I was definitely feeling it. Thankfully things went as planned and I swam a good race but we lost by .25 seconds. So why did I choose this race out of all of the races I have swam? Why not a race that I have won? The reason is because every race is a learning experience whether the race was a good one or a bad one. As swimmers we strive to have the perfect race, but much like life there are going to be some mistakes that we make. The key is to learn from those mistakes and improve on them rather than getting discouraged by them. Since we are racing against the clock, one that measures down to a hundredth of a second, there are a lot of things that can go right or wrong during a race. Having only sprinting events in our league means that each right or wrong thing we do in a race has a huge impact on our time. So what did I learn from that race? I learned how I react to pressure in a race, do I seize up or do I use it to fuel me? Another example is a 50 free that I swam in AZ in 2012, I had to look up for the wall for my flipturn because I wasn’t sure after which “T” the wall was after. Granted most pools don’t have 4 T’s right before the wall but the lesson that I learned was to make sure I know to find the spot I need to flip during my warm-ups. Learning to analyze a race for its positives and negatives is a crucial step to becoming a better swimmer. As you begin to analyze your race you can take advantage of the coaches to help you break down certain parts of your race that are good and other parts that could use some extra focus.
Until next week…