Tuesday, March 29, 2011

NCAA Division III Swimming & Diving Championships 2011

NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS – 3/23/2011 – 3/26/2011

Here are my individual event results for the NCAA Division 3 Championships held in Knoxville, Tennessee!!!!!!!
It’s my final year of swimming and I finally made it to NCAAs!!!!!!!

First Double Taper. First NCAAs. The pressure was on!

Wednesday AM:
500 Freestyle = 5:09.62 (41st place)

I went in seeded with a 5:04 from Empire 8s and I was very nervous going into it. I happened to be the first Stevens swimmer to swim anything at this meet and I was setting the tone. I wasn’t put in a slow heat; I was actually in lane 8 of a quicker heat and I think that killed my confidence. Another bad note was Trevor telling me right before the race that this was apparently going to hurt really bad because I was on a double taper. Great, that was exactly what I didn’t need to hear as I walked to the blocks!

The good news: I didn’t get last!! And the bad: well, yeah, it hurt really bad… especially after the first 200. I went out in a 1:59.79 which was good! Then it went downhill from there and I just couldn’t hold it like I did a month earlier. The double taper didn’t bode well for me and as soon as I finished the race I knew I had to keep my confidence up and trust that I still had the speed I needed for my other events.

Thursday AM:
Off day to concentrate on my races for Friday!

Friday AM:
200 Butterfly = 2:04.97 (14th place)

: O
MOST AMAZING SWIM OF MY LIFE… hands down. I will never ever forget turning around and looking at that clock, then looking over at Trevor freaking out. Words cannot describe those feelings. Needless to say I started bawling tears of joy and went over to give Trevor a hug right away. I couldn’t believe it!
My splits were a 28.29, 31.13, 32.59, 32.96. I went out under a minute and pushed through the pain on the back half like never before. On my last underwater kick I just kept telling myself to not give up and get to that wall as fast as I could. So worth it.

I ended up getting the NCAA A-cut by 1 one-hundredth of a second which didn’t occur to me until after I was out of the pool from warm-down. Another thing that didn’t occur to me right away was that I was the proud new owner of an individual Stevens record because I had beat Sian’s time from last year. Huzzah!
The nice icing on the cake was Trevor stopping me on the wall as I was warming down and telling me that I was 14th and I was going back to swim at night.
Unbelievable. I went from having the attitude that I just didn’t want to get dead last to completely owning the race and making it back to finals. I amazed myself!

800 Freestyle Relay (200 free) = 1:55.08
We had to swim this relay during the preliminary heats in the morning session so I was fortunate to have it coming off of the high from my 200fly. We went into it knowing that we weren’t swimming next to the best of the best that would be swimming at night.. so we had to give it our all as if they were swimming right there with us. Teammates for this relay included Laura Barito leading it off, then Hayley Hatfield, myself, then Sian Pearson bringing it home. We wound up with a 7:33.06 and a new school record! We were 2nd going into the last heat at night and our fingers were crossed!

Friday PM:
200 Butterfly = 2:05.12 (16th place)

Darn. A little slower, just like at ECACs. I only added .15 and that dropped me two places because the other girls swam so well at night. I was still faster than the 17th person with that time, however, so I was content with that. And that time was still even faster than I went at Empire 8s so I really couldn’t be mad about it. I gave it my all and the morning swim was the most memorable of my life so I was just happy I could swim the race one more time and do it proud. The 200 fly was an event that truly blossomed for me this year. I was never fully able to dedicate myself to the race prior to this year because it always landed on the same day as the 1650 at Empire 8s before they changed the lineup. I think a lot of why I was so focused and ready for it this year was because I wasn’t brushing it off to the side while concentrating on the mile. I worked so hard on my underwaters in practice all year and I knew this race was going to be mine. I’ll miss swimming the 200 fly.

Our 800 Freestyle Relay wound up with 8th place as we all watched the final heat swim at night. It was so gut-wrenching to sit there and see everyone touch the pads after every leg and hope that we would still be up there for the running.
Shaking Trevor's hand while up on the podium for our 8th place finish!
I guess we were just destined to complete the women’s team standing of All-American for every individual! 8th place and All-American status for our relay!!! What a feeling.


Saturday AM/PM:
Done! Just spectating and cheering all day!

Final Team Standings:
1.       Emory
2.       Denison
3.       Williams
4.       Kenyon
5.       College of NJ
6.       Stevens

Hands down, this was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. I had never ever qualified and been invited to this meet before. After getting B-cut my sophomore year I just figured that I would only ever be good enough for a cut but never get invited. I don’t know why I doubt myself all the time.. I just like setting lower expectations for myself. Looking back, I never pictured myself at NCAAs and I should have known that I was more than capable of making it and swimming my ass off. Here’s to a life lesson learned and the best last meet of my swimming career.

Seniors!!!!!!!! (first NCAAs for Dan, Preedy, and me)

TEAM before the banquet! (awkward positioning on our part)