December 5, 2006

This weekend was an interesting test for us - the TYR/ Classic is a meet where we give guys a chance to get a few days rest and a mid-season shave. This season this meet served a couple of roles - give our top end guys a chance to get =NCAA cuts and give some of our less-experienced guys a chance to do some fast racing. This year, we're less experienced than years' past and for some guys, they've already exceeded their typical high school season as we're beginning to hit mid-stride. The meet is also a reflection of my growing confidence in giving guys some rest without worrying that it will adversely affect the year-end results. When I first arrived, we were able to get better simply by training more. More and more, as we get better as a team, our improvements are coming from race refinement and that's something we can only really see when we've got fast competition.

This weekend gave us just that. There was a lot of good. In fact, I don't know that we've had this many lifetime bests at mid-season. At the same time, we saw lots of things that weren't so good. A little rest and lifetime bests can sometimes mask those things that limit us from getting better. Here's an example - some of our flyers went lifetime bests this weekend. First reaction? Great! Upon further review though, we saw some of our flyers take a breath on EVERY stroke. So yes, we're on target for a good season, but we've got to make some adjustments if we want to have a special season. Another case was a guy who swims some of the best races of his life - a couple of lifetime bests, but more importantly, he raced them almost perfectly from a tactical, and mechanical standpoint. Still, he takes no satisfaction in what he's done. This is a guy who'd benefit from taking a step back, appreciating what he's accomplished, and use some of that confidence to fuel future success.

So you can see the weekend was quite a learning experience. The good thing is that we have two guys virtually guaranteed to be players come March with another two sitting on the edge. We tallied altogether, set seven NCAA cuts three new school records and handfuls and handfuls of lifetime bests. We were third or fourth in the team race which really a concern. We put people in places where we wanted to rehearse races. That's why you won't see anyone in the 200 free, but you'll see our 200 free guys on the 800 free relay. Second to the NCAA Championships, this was also the toughest meet we'll face this season - it featured three teams with scholarships and six that finished in the top twenty-five of their respective division.

Next up for us are finals, then a week in Houston, Texas for our training trip. We chose Houston because that is the site of this year's NCAA Championships. We'll be the first team to enjoy a training trip down there and one of the few teams to have a glimpse of the new pool before the national meet. We're back home January 7th against Lawrence and North Central then welcome Northwestern University a week later.



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