The 2016-17 Smith swim and dive season was officially started yesterday at the intra-team Wilds vs. Bunches meet (our team nickname is The Wild Bunch). This meet is always one of my favorites because of the low pressure attitude and because I often get to swim some unusual events. It was extra special this year because we are celebrating my coaches 40th season coaching at Smith. This year I was on Team Wild and had fun cheering on my teammates throughout the meet.
This meet always starts off with a cheer competition between the two teams for an extra 5 points. Our team captain had the idea to make a giant cut-out of our coach Kim’s head to use as part of our cheer, so had some good team bonding sticking a giant head to some cardboard and a pool cue.
After meet warmup, the cheers started and we brought out the giant head to huge cheers and laughter from the crown and coaches.
I am very happy to be back to racing in the pool because it makes a nice change from long ocean swims. I got to swim the butterfly leg of the 200 medley relay to begin the meet. My first individual event was the 100 backstroke, which was fun because I have only swam it once since high school. The biggest thing I focus on when swimming backstroke is tempo, and I sprinted to a 1:12:06, which is college personal best for me.
My other two events were the 200 backstroke and the 200 butterfly. It was very unusual for me to swim one backstroke event, let alone two, and I now have a new found respect for backstrokers. In my opinion, the 200 backstroke is one of the most painful events there is (and I regularly swim the 200fly and 400IM). I finished my swim in a decent time and my coach told me that I should pick up my tempo because what I had just done was a perfect demonstration of 800 IM tempo.
After the 200 backstroke, I got to watch my marathon swim buddy Eliza destroy her personal best in the 500 free. She won the event by about a minute and swam her fastest time ever by 3 seconds! Watching her swim was exactly the pump up I needed before my 200 fly. My friend Desi and I were the only swimmer entered into the event and we swim really well together, so we knew the it was going to be really fun. Swimming with Desi exemplifies the synergy that Kim always talks about, where people swim faster together. I went a 2:23, which is within 5 seconds of my tapered time from last season. Considering that we’ve been training really hard, I am super pleased with my swim.
After the meet, we had a brunch to celebrate Kim’s 40 years of coaching at Smith. Wild Bunch alums from as far back as Kim’s first year coaching came to Smith to celebrate everything he has done for us. I have always appreciated the history and camaraderie of our team but it was amazing to see all the generations of Wild Bunch in one room, celebrating the man who has been instrumental in our success.
Overall, it was a really good meet and I am super excited to see the amazing things our team will do this season! I love my Wild Bunch, thanks for a great meet!