Illinois State Masters Swim Meet 04-20-12

So this year’s State meet I decided to do all 3 days. Well, mostly all 3. I did Friday night (1000 yd free), Sat morning (100 IM, 200 Back, 50 breast in a relay), and Sunday (500 free, 50 breast, 100 back, 200 IM, 50 free relay, 50 breast relay)

I enjoy the State meets. The team spirit the Elgin Blue Waves has is huge and even though I can’t get to the practices regularly (Wed night is about all I can fit into my schedule) I’ve been “tagging along” with them for several years now. Coach Corrine is great. She won’t hold back or sugar coat when you’re doing something wrong, which is exactly my language.


The big challenge here is my swimming has been… not great this year. Back in December I took a 10 week swim break due to work, life, and getting my tattoo. I think went back… directly into a swim meet! WOWZA. I went to support the team and to give me a SHOCK back into swimming. My endurance was horrible and I was absolutely trashed after the meet, but it was FUN FUN FUN. Which is why I do it.   However, after that I had a week or so of no swimming due to work.

Then FINALLY I got a nice consistent 6 week build of consistent swimming. Coach Carole (Tri coach) has said numerous times over the years that I can take a break from but then give her 6 weeks of butt kicking and she’ll get me back into shape. We were putting that to the test! During that 6 weeks I was nursing an overused shoulder, but it was totally manageable. And by the end I was back up to 9000yds/wk which is the sweet spot for me to build great endurance and decent speed. Most of my Ironman training I was 8000-10000/wk.  Cool…..

but then…. Easter weekend I was out of town doing some mountain biking and I wrecked. Well, this isn’t a big deal. I wreck all the time. It wasn’t a momentous wreck and I came out of it with a scuffed knee and a couple bruises. Whatever. Then 3 days of sleeping in a strange bed and a long ride on my new road bike…. and my shoulder is bugging me. Not the over-used area, but down lower. Also, my range of movement wasn’t great. I knew I needed a Chiropractor to pop me back into place. From the wreck? Beds? Who knows… but it is bothersome…

Back home, a very LONG work day and a massage to try to fix the shoulder. Nope. Then 3 days at a work convention in LasVegas. Home 1am. Up 7am to get kids to school and another VERY long work day (ok, so we’re at about 80 hour work week… by Friday). My shoulder is killing me at this point, 24×7.

I find a Chiro (Nick  from SubM!) and see him 6:30am on a Sat, Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh so much better. The neck was out of kink and it was causing the muscles to spazz…. Feels so good!

However…. I immediately embark on a day of scout stuff, 4 hour drive, hours of crawling around dirty, cold, and tight caves. Sleep in said cave. More crawling in the morning. 4 more hours home… Anyway…. shoulder issue is back (duh).  Nick fixes me Monday again…. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

And then a busy week at work. Phew. Oh yeah, and breaking in new orthotics. I think t hey were trying to destroy my spine. Just sayin.

So all that to point out that you might have noticed something…

  1. After my wonderful 6 week build… no swimming for 2 weeks
  2. A shoulder I have no idea about. Can I swim? Can I race?

Do I race? Do I scratch (bail)?  I had no real expectations about State for me personally. I was, intentionally, going WAY outside my comfort zone. I’d NEVER swam the 200back and 200IM. I was terrified about the IM. I honestly could not remember when I had done 50 fly (the first part of the 200 IM) EVER. Maybe I had, but sure the heck not recently. So could I finish? Not sure.

We’re going to find out. I was going

a) To help the team get some points

b) To challenge my boundaries. To test my limits. To see if I could keep from getting DQ’d on the 50 fly.

So, I decided to go. Regardless of the shoulder, I’d go Friday and test things out. If I couldn’t, I tried. If I could, then I would.


I got there mega early, so ended up checking everyone in and just hanging around forever. Once the warmup pool was open, I decided to get in. This would be the moment of truth. Did I remember how to swim? Would the shoulder ALLOW me to swim?

The warmup started rough. Well, it’s a warmup. That’s the point, but normally in swimming I slide right back into the water like I never left. I LOVE the water. I LOVE swimming. But I didn’t love the warmup.

My shoulder was tight. My back was tight. My everything was tight. I ended up doing about 800 in warmup for my 1000. It took forever and I never really got loose. But I did test some hard efforts and they were no worse than easy efforts. They weren’t good, but they also weren’t the “bad kind” of pain. I could tolerate this for 15-20minutes of racing. I’m good.

So in the race itself, my pacing was HORRIBLE. I also missed the pad 2x so some of the times look goofy.

11 Searle, Ron      41 Elgin Blue Wave- 17:00.00   17:25.92
                 38.64      1:22.18 (43.54)
        2:08.30 (46.12)     2:57.44 (49.14)
        3:47.99 (50.55)     4:39.47 (51.48)
        5:31.68 (52.21)     6:24.81 (53.13)
      8:14.35 (1:49.54)     9:09.80 (55.45)
       10:04.92 (55.12)  11:56.99 (1:52.07)
       12:50.71 (53.72)    13:46.16 (55.45)
           14:40.88 ( )    15:36.94 (56.06)
       16:33.64 (56.70)    17:25.92 (52.28)

Basically, I went out like a bat out of hell (1:22 for the first 100? Nope, 1:30-1:35 would be better). By 250 my right (bad) shoulder was REAL tight spreading all the way down to my biceps. By 400, my left shoulder was REAL tight. By 500 my entire back and upper arms were just pissed. The entire rest I was just using pure stubbornness. It sucked. It hurt. Way more than a 1000 should hurt. But I did it.

17:25 is about what I deserved, but no where near a PR. I didn’t have the recent swim training to expect any better, so I’m fine with it. 11th place is no help to the team. To get 8th I would have had to have more than a 1min PR, so really, no chance for me on this. I prefer the longer stuff and this is not really long enough to scare away most of the good swimmers. Last year I got 3rd in the 1 mile, mostly because I think the best swimmers just hate going that long.


Got back to pool by 6:30am.  THANKFULLY someone on the team is a Chiro (thanks Paul!) and managed to pop me back in place. IMMEDIATE relief on the shoulder. I brought my foam roller though and I was on it before/after every event – all day, all weekend.

100IM was my first event. This was only the second time I ever swam it. I managed a 0:00:16 PR. I’ll take it. 1:27:01.  This went AMAZING. My butterfly was a thing of beauty. It was strong, solid, and FAST. Back was ok, breast was good, and free was fine. My lack of endurance showed. Next year I will slice some serious time of this event.

the relay was fairly uneventful.

Next was 200 back. Never done it. Not too nervous except for the fact that I seeded myself STOOPID. 3:00:00 seed. Hmmmm my 100 back PR is 1:36. This is twice… so 3:12 would be aggressive. 3:20 would be more likely. Oops.  I did it, in the end, in 3:25. My first 100 actually broke my 100 PR (ok, fine I’ve only swam it ONCE!). This was funny because the timer lady was out waving her hands at me to KICK!!! OMG That’s pretty bad if the Timer lady, a mom of swimmer on another team, is telling me to kick!! ROFL I talked to her later and she said it was killing her. My arms were totally consistent and strong but my feet were up and down and up and down and if I’d kept that kick going I would have flown through the water. Good to know.


This was going to be a long day. I carpooled with several teammates and we got there about 6:30.

Warmups started early, I kind of missed the ball on this, thankfully I wasn’t in the first heat.

the 500 is one I didn’t have high hopes for. I tend to get my butt handed to me on this one, but it is another one of these “long” events which many of the best swimmers avoid. they like they 50 and 100s. I like the long stuff. Shoulder was still tight but feeling better. But after 2 days of racing I was tired before I even started.  Warmup up, at least went better this time. Still had to put 400 in to warmup for a 500.

Same deal as the 1000. I went out too fast (although I was holding back I thought…) Another 1:22/100. And then I lost it over time. At exactly 250 I was right on the right, 350 on the left, and by 400 everything was insane. The last 100 was just torture. However, since it was 500 I was just pushing it all the time, but you can see there’s little consistency.

8 Searle, Ron      41 Elgin Blue Wave-  7:40.00    8:04.33          1
                 38.93      1:22.65 (43.72)
        2:09.49 (46.84)     2:57.51 (48.02)
        3:45.86 (48.35)     4:37.91 (52.05)
        5:28.68 (50.77)     6:20.72 (52.04)
        7:13.49 (52.77)     8:04.33 (50.84)

But I did manage 8th!! TOTALLY did not expect that. Yeah! 1 point for the team!

The 50 breast was good. I managed a 2second PR. Coach loved my turnover, however, I completely forgot to glide. OOPS!

The 100 back was good.  I managed another PR (beating the PR from the day before during the 200 even) by hundreds of a second. Whatever, PR is a PR.

Finally the 200 IM was here…

Ok, so again I seeded myself B-A-D-LY and I was with people who were going to kick my butt. Oh well, nothing like doing a new event that you’re not sure you will finish or get DQ and having everyone watch how slow you are. AWESOME.

So we go and I slow my fly down. Well, let’s just say I’m already so dang tired that it is slower. Whether I want it to or not. But the idea was I would be able to actually breathe by the end of the first 25. Well, I could barely breathe at the end of the 25 but I could. So good enough right? I do the turn (2 hands. Stay legal, Stay legal, Stay legal, Stay legal, Stay legal, Stay legal, Stay legal, Stay legal, Stay legal, Stay legal, Stay legal, Stay legal, Stay legal, Stay legal, Stay legal, Stay legal!) and head back. The next 10 yards was fine. I’m thinking YES!!!! I CAN DO THIS. Then suddenly, someone comes from behind, takes all my air and energy. By the time I was about half way down the pool my entire universe changed. Oh crap. I’m not gonna make it. I focus on 1 stroke at a time. I slow things down even MORE. I make sure and just move the arms the correct way and I basically stop kicking. I can’t do both. Kick needs to go. No choice. Arms. Go. Go……. and finally, after what seemed like 10minutes (but was probably 10seconds but I was moving in slow motion) I hit the wall. Wow. That hurt. A lot. I pushed off and did the back. It was a blur because I was so oxygen deprived at that point and so utterly tanked it was all reflect. I’m sure it was ugly. Once we got to breast stroke I was able to breathe again, but every muscle was tapped. The reserves were gone. I went through the motions but I knew this was going to be slow. By the time I got to free my form was so stupid bad that it felt like it took forever. Oh, and did I mention everyone else was done about the time I was starting the free? Yeah, special.

But I did it.  Dead last. 3:25. 17th place. But I did it. First time = PR, so PR!!!!!!! hehe yeah it’s a mercy PR, but I’ll take it.

 17 Searle, Ron      41 Elgin Blue Wave-  3:00.00    3:25.69
                 45.65      1:37.93 (52.28)
        2:37.24 (59.31)     3:25.69 (48.45)

But I did it.  Dead last. 3:25. 17th place. But I did it. First time = PR, so PR!!!!!!! hehe yeah it’s a mercy PR, but I’ll take it. Wow a 45.65 for the fly, I bet if we had splits it would be like 15s for the first 25 and 30s for the second. It was that bad.  But it was done. Something to work for next year!

That was basically it, except relays.

For the first one, it was 50free. I was on a much faster relay than normal and managed to rip out a real good split. I’m not sure what it is but as a team we got 4th place and a 1:52.  that’s worth 10 points for the team!

Second, and final event of the day was a 50free. I did pretty well. However, due to the mats and such we couldn’t get out right away. I thought everyone was done. I was wrong. I swam under the lane lines to get to the ladder and I got us DQd.

I CANNOT FREAKIN BELIEVE IT. A TON of my teammates were there. Suddenly the entire “high” I had from the weekend was smashed into a million pieces. I was ashamed. I wanted to grab my gear and just leave. Hide. I had no idea whether I cost the team points but my relay-mates had managed to break 3:00:00 which was going to be a stretch. We did it. I blew it. (in the end, I did cost the team 2 points, as we would have managed 8th place for our relay).

In the end, I pulled my crap together and went and stayed with the team until the team awards were announced. We were the only team to have a huge showing at the end, except the winners (who KNEW they were going to win, it was by a LOT). Lots of joking and all that as we waited. Several individual awards to our teammates. I held my sh!t together and tried to have a good time. The team spirit was just awesome. In the end, we got 4th. We knew it was going to be close, but at one point we were firmly in 3rd. Crap. For years we have gotten 3rd. Slipping to 4th was a bummer. But nobody walked away sad. We cheered, we laughed, and we took lots of pictures. It was a good time and as a team, we had a great day AS A TEAM.

Me trying to TEBOW and screwing that up and turning it into the “Thinker”

In the end, we missed 3rd place by 36 points.  Next year…0

And I will be back.

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