A couple of weeks ago, on 8-9th April, I participated in the Masters Swimming Long Course State Championships at Sydney Olympic Park. There are two state level championship events for Masters Swimming in the calendar year (long course in April and short course in October). 2017 was my second year of racing there. I was incredibly nervous for this event. I always worry about racing swimming even though I learned to race when I was nine years old. It should be fun and I should feel confident but I don’t. That’s mainly because of how annoyed I get at myself if I do a time I’m not happy with. I don’t always forgive myself easily for a bad performance. The two weeks leading up to the championships was difficult for me because I felt nervous and thought about it continually. Objectively I knew I was ready for the event because I was satisfied with the training I’d done leading up to it.
I raced five individual events: 200m Freestyle, 50m Butterfly, 100m Breaststroke, 50m Breaststroke and 200m Backstroke. I tried to choose a variety of events, in terms of distances and strokes, especially compared to last year. There are less people in my age group who swim breaststroke so, for example, I knew I could have won a gold in the 200m Breaststroke but I didn’t enter it and raced the Backstroke and Freestyle instead for the challenge. I want to be able to swim my best (and hopefully win medals) in all strokes.
I also won an orange embroidered towel (pictured above) for the Age Category Point Score Winner 2016 in Masters Swimming NSW. It’s an award for accumulating the most points in 2016 from various swim meets held by Masters. A year ago I witnessed the towels being handed out for 2015. I had a goal that I’d be there in 2017 receiving the towel for the 2016 point score. This is one of the reasons I was motivated to attend and travel to swim meets last year. It might seem like a small goal and many wouldn’t believe it worth it just for a towel. But it was a goal I had and it taught me a lot about chasing the dream, not matter how big or small. I know I wasn’t the fastest in this age category but consistency is rewarded and that’s how I won the point score.
This was the first swim meet I can remember where I wasn’t disappointed with any of my times. I’d still like to improve but for now I’m satisfied. I’m most happy with the 50m Fly. 36.59 is a good long course time for me and a personal best. It’s a five second improvement from the same meet one year ago. I’ve done a lot of swimming training in a year but, since my fly has improved more than my other 50m races, I credit it to bootcamp and strength training. It’s a side of training I’d never thought of before and I never did back in my junior days of swimming. I’m very grateful to have been introduced to this. I was also happy to take 16 seconds off my 200m Backstroke time since the same meet last year. It helps to look back at times when I need motivation.
I felt wonderful when the meet was over, so much relief. It was as though I’d reclaimed my life, I’m so glad I participated and didn’t withdraw due to the anxiety I was feeling beforehand. I want to be able to handle swim meets whatever the level and this was part of the journey.