The IGLA Swim meet is the first swim meet I’ve done since 2011. Before running, I was a competitive swimmer. I swam in both high school and college and year-round with USA swimming. Eventually, in high school, I tried the 500 and in college got bumped up to the 1000 and 1650 in college. I love distance freestyle, and it was my best event. My last swim meet, in February 2011, was SUNYACS in college.
I got extremely burned out in college and took time off after that. At the college level, you are swimming anywhere from 2-4 hours 6 days a week and lifting weights. I logged between 6000-and 7000 yards for 2-hour practices about ten times a week. Wow, I am tired just thinking about that.
Sometime around 2017-2018, I got burned out with running, so decided to get back into the pool. When I left my college team, I never expected to swim again. In 2017, I was gone from the pool for long enough to think it might be fun. I didn’t even have a swim cap the first time I swam. I brought some with me, but they all broke.
After swimming once, I didn’t immediately fall back in love with the pool, and honestly, I cannot say I am “in love with the pool” now. But I do enjoy it. Obviously, I didn’t swim when the pandemic happened, and I began swimming again when I moved to Napa. I logged about 3000 of just straight swimming. No sets. I call this grandma swimming and just swam. (any competitive swimmer reading is like WTF). After moving to California, I forgot how much I loved swimming outside. Maybe now I’m just a fair-weather swimmer, but that’s ok.
Then I moved to Edwards and met my friend Kristen, a much faster swimmer than me. It’s been fun to swim with her. Anyway, that leads me to the IGLA swim meet in Palm Springs. We discovered the IGLA Swim Meet in January, and since it was only a 2.5-hour drive, we figured it would be fun to do. AT IGLA, you can swim five events, and I choose the 100,200,500,1000, and mile. I thought it would be fun.
1000 yard freestyle: 13:18
The 1000 yard freestyle is 40 lengths (just down) or 20 laps (down and back). You do get a counter. Since it was my first pool race since 2011, I had no idea what to expect. I didn’t want to take it out too fast and then have a miserable few laps back. I took it out at a pace I thought reasonable. Like track races, everyone seeded around me was about my pace.
Around 200, I started to feel good. I knew the pace was manageable, bringing me back to a decade ago. I decided to pick it up and kept going with it. At no point did I feel exhausted. The race seemed to go by quickly, and I was on my last lap by the time I knew it. I finished in 13:18, which is roughly 1:19 per 100. I was not expecting that.
Day 2: 500 free and 200 free
500 yard free: 6:30
My first double day, and I was nervous! In college, the 500 was never my favorite event. Like this meet, it was usually after the 1000. I had no idea what to expect for the 500 yard free. My goal was to beat my two split times in the 1000 (6:39/6:38), but I was “less fresh” and already tired from one big swim. The distance events were mixed seeded (men and women), which helped the women since there were fewer women. It helped me because I seemed to be at the same pace as another male. Of any race, the 500 was “the most exciting.”
During the entire 500, it was a battle between another male and myself. For each length, we would go back and forth. I was ahead during most of the race and down to the final 25, but he could outkick me and beat me in less than 1 second. Our last 100 was 1:16, and I finished the 500 in 6:30.
100 yard free: 1:10
Of any event at IGLA Palm Springs, the 100 was my “worst.” I am not a sprinter, but this race did not play out to the best of my abilities. Considering I split only a few seconds slower in longer events, I should have been able to do a 1:05-1:07. But I was tired, and it was hot. The thing about a race done in about 1 minute is you don’t remember a lot. I remember my streamline was good and that the second 50 was rough. I’m not disappointed and know I could swim faster. I have swum a 1:09 alone in the pool from a push start.
Day 3: 1650 (Mile): 200 free
1650 free: 22:12
The mile and the 200 were definitely the hardest of the few days. I knew I would either need to choose an event or focus on it and choosing the 200 regardless would be silly. I was a distance swimmer in college and even now still prefer the event, but I had no idea what to expect. How do you train for the mile? Really not what I’ve been doing, and I should be doing higher yardage and longer freestyle sets.
I was in heat 5/7, which was surprising, but I was seeded the slowest in my heat. I would rather be the slowest in a heat and have people to race than the fastest. My heat was seeded around 22-23 minutes, but someone went 19:XX. (Which means they lapped me 3-4 times). It’s funny because I imagined my 20-year-old self swimming the mile (19s were something I was more than capable of), swimming against myself and lapping me 3-4 times. Anyway, the mile is 66 lengths or 33 laps. You do have people counting for you.
We dove in, and I immediately found myself with someone who was my pace. The mile is detrimental at the collegiate level when you push hard for 20 minutes. It’s like having someone to race in a road 5k that you know will finish within milliseconds of you.
For the first few hundred yards, I did not feel good. I felt stiff and like my body was not grabbing water well. I swam the first 500 in 6:47, and it wasn’t until around then that I began to feel better. I focused on staying with the other male, and I’m sure he was focusing on staying near me. For the next 500, I swam in 6:45. When I was being lapped by someone next to me, I surged and tried to stay up with them for a little bit. I was able to hold that pace for some time. The last 500 I swam in 6:40. In the final 150, I swam in just under 2 minutes (around 1:18 pace). I finished the mile in 22:13. I am happy I negative split and finished fast because I have not been training distance events much.
Immediately after getting out of the pool from the mile, I felt like I got hit by a bus. Woo, I was sore. I cooled down, but my arms have not been that sore in a long time.
200 free: 2:30
I knew the 200 free would be rough. It’s similar to the 800 with running in that it hurts all of the time. I was extremely sore, and the race went off at 12:30 pm when it was about 100 degrees. My goal was to swim the first 100 smooth and sprint the second 100. That’s basically what I did, and swam a 2:30. On a day that it wasn’t my last event, I could swim at least a 2:20 again, but I am happy with how I swam for how my events lined up.
Swim Meet Thoughts:
I really enjoyed my time swimming. Do I think I’ll do another swim meet? Maybe. Maybe not, depending on my schedule, but I am not opposed to it. It just depends on my schedule.
You can see more race recaps here.
Questions for you:
What was the last thing you did outside your comfort zone?
Have you done a swim meet before?