Pre-season racing 2017 kicked off with a bang. In our previous article, we discussed Monica’s consistency in her swim times over the 2015-2017 seasons and how frustrating it is at times waiting for a swimmers’ training to take shape.
Following the Swimming South Africa Championships in Germiston, Monica took time off as forced rest is required at the end of every swimming season (slight injury in her left triceps and light flu with fevers confirmed that a full month off is required.) 1 May 2017, training starts and we change clubs from Seagulls to North Coast Dolphins.
Pre-season racing takes place from 1 May to 22 September 2017 when the swimming starts, officially, with KZN junior champs. Our approach this season is different. We believe less is more and will not be swimming all the meets like we did before.
Our previous article also talks about goal setting and achieving the goals. We do believe that if we do not over-race our swimmer, she actually focus and concentrate more on achieving her goals when she swims competitively. I.e. she is hungry for personal bests by the time she race. Therefore, we decide not to swim all the meets like we did previous years.
We have a more focused approach in 2017. We plan to swim just age group meets and selected championship meets.
Our plan includes the required qualifying meets for KZN Premier champs in December (this meet is also the Commonwealth trials but Monica is too young to qualify. We will swim this 11 & Under swim meet, as it is a good experience for our young swimmer and she already has the required Level 3 qualifying times.)
Age group 1 and 2 pre-season racing:
Our first meet takes place on 27 May with Age group 1. We enter Monica for the 400-m freestyle and the 200 IM as it is her favorite and she really enjoys swimming this event.
The 400-meter freestyle is up first. Monica swims with the 12-14-year-old swimmers. She settles in with a comfortable stroke rate and she swims a PB of 5:25:51 on the day, placing second in her heat. The biggest surprise is that this PB meets the AAA US Swimming, Girls 10 & U qualifying time standard. This is so exciting! The level of comfort with which Mica swims distance is very comforting and a pleasure to watch.
“Mom, I really like the longer distances. I can settle in my stroke and just relax and enjoy the swim.”
Monica’s love for the 200 IM shows and she delivers a time of 2:57:80, another PB and an AAA Min US Girls 10 & Under qualifying time.
Age group 2 takes place on 10 June. We enter the 200 backstroke and 100-meters freestyle. Monica drops her freestyle to a 1:10:85 and swims sub-3-minutes for the 200-meters backstroke in a time of 2:55:64.
The work done during last season did not pay off in March, but it is for sure starting to make a difference in the new season. Monica is edging closer to her targets set so early in the season.
Seals 2 short course pre-season racing:
Seals swimming club at the J.C. Jolliffe pool in Pietermaritzburg hosts 2 short-course meets early in the season and Seagulls Swimming Club host their annual short course meet in October every year. This does not allow for many opportunities to improve short-course times.
We decided not to swim Seals 1 as we did enter the age group meets but rather focus on the Seals 2 gala on 25 June 2017. Seals 2 has a 100-IM vs Seals 1 just focusing on 50-meter racing in the 10 & Under age group.
We set out early on Sunday, 25 June to travel to Pietermaritzburg for the swim meet.
A stop along the way delays us with an unplanned 20-minutes and we arrive just in time at the pool for a quick warm up. It is the first meet where Monica joins the NC Dolphins swim team.
Something went wrong during entries and Monica is entered as a No-time swimmer. This places her in the first heat of each event.
It is the first time that she swims with her new team and cap. A highly motivated and determined Monica shines on the day in jaw-dropping times.
As a swimmer who trains alone, she is so used to chase her own times that being seeded in the first heat with the other swimmers without times, does not deter her. The video material looks a bit silly as she touches so far ahead of the other swimmers. There is, unfortunately, nothing we could do about that.
Monica pulls a rabbit out of the hat and swims personal bests all around:
- 50 Freestyle @ 31:66 vs 33:76 (2016)
- 50 Butterfly @ 35:57 vs 38:66 (2016)
- 100 IM @ 1:19:36 vs 1:27:87 (2016)
- 50 Backstroke @ 38:21 vs 40:96 (2016)
- 50 Breaststroke @ 42:38 vs 45:74 (2016)
- 100 Freestyle @ 1:11:19 vs 1:15:42 (2016)
Pre-season racing – the take away:
There is no doubt that Monica is on a roll this year. We definitely see more determination and commitment at the pool, at home with both swimming and her home schooling. Our girl is definitely growing up fast. Her determination and commitment are inspiring to say the least.
It could also be a case where the years of training and hard work is meeting dedication and commitment. This results in a stronger, healthier, fitter swimmer that does her best poolside at all times.
Our next article will feature Prestige Gala in July. This young lady has a lot of aces up her sleeve surprising mom all the time. Sadly, I cannot train with her anymore due to work commitments. So Dad coach and Monica gets up to all sorts of surprises for Mom when we go to swimming meets!