My last races were at the NCSA Junior National meet in Indianapolis, IN, in August, 2013 – where many of the fastest 18-and-unders in the country were competing, over the course of five intense days. I swam a group of 100m and 200m events; although each only lasted a minute or two, I would often end up swimming for three or four hours each day with the lengthy warm-ups and warm-downs that were a part of my meet routine.
This time, the venue was Lake Del Valle, just south of Livermore, CA. The course was about 1.2 miles around the south end of the reservoir, which I completed in 45 minutes. It had a deep-water start and a run up the beach at the end, for which, at least for the time being, I had to roll up in the wheelchair.
Although these two environments are very different, the goal is the same: it’s a race against others, and against the clock, so, really against one’s previous times. It’s raw and physical and exhausting, all in an exhilarating way.
As I would be swimming only backstroke, I had my long-time friend and training partner, Nick, swim with me to help with sighting on the course. During our years on North Bay Aquatics, he and I pushed each other through many tough workouts together, so to have him join me in my first race was completely natural – it brought back some of the adventure and vitality we shared before we both headed to college.
I have another race on Sunday, tomorrow, at the same venue, and this time a bit longer, so I’ll post a further update next week, continuing on the draw of competition...