15 January – 17 January 2015
The year started out with a trip to one of my favorite cities in the country. Shortly after we all returned to Charlotte from the holidays, and during an intense period of training, we packed up and flew off to Austin for the first Arena ProSwim event of 2015. (Side note.. when I say ‘we’ I mean my club team – SwimMAC Carolina Team Elite).
For those of you who are still working on improving your swimming IQ, the Arena Pro Swim Series (formerly Grand Prix) is a group of 6 meets that take place all over the country. Outside of US Nationals and International competitions, these are the fastest and most competitive meets of the year. They are 3-day long meets, each day with a preliminaries and finals session. The Pro Swims are great opportunities for us to practice racing. As you know, the only way to get good at something is to practice. You can train all you want but if you want to be excellent at racing, it is important to race frequently. I generally love swimming at these meets. Anything that includes traveling, racing, and spending time with my teammates and friends is fun to me!
I especially love swimming in Austin. Not only is it in the great state of Texas (my home state!) but it’s also my favorite pool in the country. And true to form, everything in Austin this year went great! We used the meet mainly as a training opportunity. We practiced as a team before each session and then went straight into racing our individual events. Although this isn’t the most fun way to swim a meet (read… we were all exhausted), it keeps us in good shape, and gives us a unique type of confidence. If you can race well when you’re tired, you will definitely be able to race well when you’re rested.
Most of the Americans on SwimMAC were gearing up for a meet in Australia, so we only swam 2 days of the meet. I placed 3rd in the 50m freestyle (25.43) and 9th in the 100m freestyle (55.84). The best part of the meet was swimming the 4x100m freestyle relay. This was Kirsty Coventry’s first race since the 2012 Olympics and the start of official comeback. Kirsty is one of the most well known athletes in our sport. She is an Olympian for Zimbabwe and is currently tied for having the most individual Olympic medals in the sport – she has SEVEN.. amazing!! She is a role model and an wonderful person who I have looked up to for years. It is an honor to get to train with her every day and to be her teammate.
Kirsty with the rest of the relay team after her first race back!
After a great team dinner we headed back to Charlotte to get ready for our journey to Perth, Australia.