Thursday 7 August 2014

Road Trip Day 4 It all starts here, Sandbagger Binge (Sunday 3rd August)

The World Championships generally start with the 800 free which is quite a gentle introduction to the meet, (if you are an official or spectator that is.)

However if you are a swimmer it is 16 lengths of gut wrenching agony and more pain then you can ever imagine, particularly if you decide to use your legs.

Before you get into the water you have to run the gauntlet of the warm up pool, intersperced with an infinite number of loo stops as the flight, fight or shi*e refexes kick in, and then when you think you can"t go anymore you have to struggle into your racing suit.

As if this wasn't sufficient cruel and unusual punishment then you have to make your way through marshalling.

For the uninitiated this is where you play a sort of musical chairs, as your heat gradually moves up through rows of chairs until you are released onto the pool side.

Sadly though this isn't a case where the music stops and you are out if you haven't secured a chair, because the next row has exactly the right number of chairs and you just move up and sit on your designated seat.

Now in my early days at this, I adopted all sorts of tactics to avoid the non musical chairs as I hated marshalling, and I would try my best to simply pop up on the pool side as late as possible. Now having gone through this process about a zillion times I'm pretty relaxed about it.

It does give you the opportunity to chat to your fellow competitors and weigh them up, and it can get pretty tense I can't imagine what it's like in the call room at the Olympics. Anyway eventually it's your turn and you're under starters orders.

I dived in determined to stick to my breathing pattern, every 6 for the first 50 and then settle down to every 4. A Canadian next to me went off  like train and that was it race plan out of the window as I set off to hunt her down.

This took all of 100 metres and then I gradually built up a nice lead to win my heat by quite a margin, I'd carefully calculated my entry time by doubling my Eindhoven time and then adding a bit. So a pretty good start as my time was about 17 seconds faster than Swansea and I moved from about 25th to 16th in the rankings.

Warm Up 1000
800 free 11:51.42
Swim Down 800

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