Tuesday, March 9, 2010

2010 CalTech Pentathlon

After a 2 year absence due to shoulder problems and subsequent surgery I recently returned to compete at the annual CalTech Masters Pentathlon. It was not a pentathlon in the traditional sense (swimming, running, shooting, fencing and equestrian), but a mix of all strokes and individual medley. I won the overall female award in 2007, so I hoped to get out and have a decent come back. My return did amount in a 3 tenth total improvement, but I ended up 2nd in my age group and 2nd overall.

I was happy with one event, maybe two, but the disappointments were understandable considering my training. In the past couple years my butterfly training has been almost non existent. It possibly took about 3 years for my butterfly to come back from my first shoulder surgery, so I know I still have a ways to go. I am trying to add more fly into my workouts lately, since my shoulder feels very strong, but the turnover rate needed to sprint just doesn't happen. I need to start doing lots and lots of fly drill and work back into more full stroke. I know I can do a much faster 50 fly than I did at CalTech, but I guess I should be happy that despite my training I went a bit faster than 2007.

My real downfall comes with backstroke. I have never been a backstroker. I know my underwater stroke technique is not ideal. It puts a lot of stress on my shoulders and elbows. I hate it. Take that detail combined with training in a pool without backstroke flags or properly marked lane ropes and it makes for disaster. My backstroke turns are horrible! Not to mention my backstroke finishes and IM transitions. I guess my only hope is to supplement my normal training with some backstroke only workouts in a pool with flags! Lets just say that I most likely would have gone much faster in backstoke if I had done my normal routine of looking for the wall instead of pretending that I knew my stroke timing.

My breastroke wasn't completely horrible, but it wasn't great either. I have been pushing myself to add in a lot more breastroke to my workouts, which has paid off, but I still need a lot of work in feeling out the right stroke. In breastroke if you don't fall into your sprint stroke right off the bat, you are lost and your time with suffer. I do great in hitting my sprint stride in 25s off the block in warm up, but then I seem to loose the touch when I hit the water for a race. I'll will get the hang of it again eventually.

Freestyle was my best 50 of the event and it was far from perfect. I was happy with my time afterall the changes I have made over the years in my training (switching pools, coaches, surgeries, etc.). I just wish I had a better flipturn! I need to practice 50s sprint with a dive with my race standard breathing patten.

There was only one thing to say about my 100 IM and that word was backstroke. It killed me. I think I was laughing at myself during the way too long 25. The worst part was that my crappy backstroke killed my breastroke because I had no momentum to carry me into my best stroke. That is why I have the philosphy IM=death.