Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Multisport Expo Swim Relay Race Report: Sparkle Motion

Last weekend, I got to race in my second ever swim meet.  Just like last year, I swam in the Multisport Expo Swim Relay.  But unlike last year, it was only a 300 yard swim, and I was wearing a matching sparkly, gold and pink swim suit.

[we couldn't find the same pattern for Brendan]

Before I get to the actual race, I have to point out, I had some awesome support.  Paul was out, along with a few friends from my old team, and R, her boyfriend, her roommate and a friend.  They made signs!  Just as I was about to hop in, I looked up and they were doing the wave.  Awesome.

Over the last month, my coach has had me swimming 3x300 once a week.  The first 300 is moderate, the second is moderately hard, and the last is very hard.  Here's how those times have shaken out:

My best time over the month was a 4:41.  I figured I could swim a 4:30 (1:30/100 pace same as last year) with all the excitement of the race.  

The other excitement for the race was that I bought a Garmin 910XT.  This is the latest, top-of-the-line Garmin triathlon watch.  There were two major factors in deciding to purchase this device.  1) It computes swim stats.  Not only did my old Garmin not give you data for swimming, it voided the warranty.  New Garmin counts laps, calculates splits and generally loves the water.  2) Since I train with my coach virtually, having a watch that keeps track of my swim and generates a file that I can just upload and send to him (just like I do with my Garmin on the run, or my SRM on the bike) just makes things easier.

The biggest surprise with New Garmin is that it is not a watch.  I had read reviews of other GPS watches that talk about them "being a watch."  But I always assumed that was just because it's not very stylish to wear a graphing calculator on your wrist.  Nope.  Turns out, this watch does keep track of the time, but it doesn't have a "sleep" mode where it's just displaying time.  Either you are training with this watch, or you have it turned off.  Let's not pretend it's a watch.

Ok, so we've got sparkly, matching suits, awesome cheering friends and a new watch.  Now we're ready to race.  It was a bit chaotic at the beginning with 18 teams, volunteer timers and lap counters, people doing a swim clinic and folks trying on wetsuits all trying to get organized.  We got there early, warmed up, dried off, registered, watched the first heat, then re-warmed and finally got to racing.

[just before the start- we're in the third lane]

In a year's time I still haven't learned to dive off the blocks.  Until I'm racing ITU races, I doubt that I will, so I started in the water, and swam second for our team.  Last year things felt serene.  This year, not so much.  I felt like I was going hard on the first hundred, but my form was good, I was cruising.  That didn't last long though, things started to feel a bit flaily in the second hundred and the third was spent just trying to hold on for dear life.

New Garmin created this not very helpful graph:

[I don't love that they invert the pace axis, so that 0 is at the top, I feel like that should mean that I'm swimming "negative" splits (which I was not)]

The graph shows the pace per hundred for each length of the pool.  That first length is 1:17, next is 1:20, then 1:22 and 1:24.  And the pace just got worse from there.  The good news:  I swam the first 100 in 1:20.8, my best time EVER for a 100.  The bad news, my average ended up being closer to 1:27 per 100.  Still, that's 3 seconds per 100 better than last year's relay AND:

[Training and racing 300s]

WAY better than my training 300s.

 The rest of my team are better swimmers than I am, and we placed a solid 6th out of 18 teams.  Not too shabby.

Finally, a post script.  R checked out the expo while waiting for the relay to start.  She came away excited to try out her first triathlon this summer!  I didn't even have to coerce her into it.  I am thrilled to get to expand my "coaching" role with her and to share my enthusiasm for the sport.


Shannon April 5, 2012 at 11:49 AM  

great swim! fun to watch, too bad I missed the wave ;)

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