Saturday, February 26, 2011

Five Hundred Meters, Still The Equalizer

    If you’ve read the October 500m swim entry you will know that the title “Five Hundred Meters to Equality” still very much applies for the Spring Fling. Had Nathaniel not made it back to campus after a trip to the airport for the last seven minutes of the swim practice, the top three overall places would belong to the ladies.

         The second event of the 2011 Spring Fling brought out many new competitors who had not raced in the Fall Series. Only 12 of the 31 competitors had times to compare with the same event held in October. Of these 12, 10 improved on their times, so Ivan and our two fantastic guest coaches for January must have done something right. Most improvements were not all that small either, 8 of the 10 swimmers took over 10 second off of their times.

      Kim remained remarkably consistent between the two semesters, 8:59 in the fall and 9:01 this time around. So really 11 of 12 repeat competitors held even or did better. Only Eddy ruined the trend, a full 11 seconds slower. Couldn’t you have slowed down a bit last fall, Eddy? It’s not good to set one’s standards too high.

     Jen Moroz and I saw the biggest improvements, 50 seconds each. And I attribute most of my improvement to her, if anyone has Monday or Friday mornings free, head to the aquatic center at 7:30, she will make you work. She will give you some good drills. She will shout encouragement.  She will not however, and somewhat lamentably, let you spend very much time in the hot tub. Probably better for my blood pressure anyway. Drew took a full half minute off of his time, the next biggest improvement over last fall. Overall

     Brendan also improved significantly over last fall, by 15 seconds. I inquired after the race and he said he attributes his performance  to his strict diet of  a weekly Splitz burger and the occasional coffee from The Boulevard. Low calorie, low nutrient, virtually no endorsement from medical professionals, but High performance! Oh yeah, and he’s been swimming more too. More mileage in the pool couldn’t hurt.

     Nathaniel’s appearance toward the end of practice left him enough time to compete, but perhaps little left for a warm-up. I was standing in the shallow end between lengths, pretending to need to clear my goggles for the 30th time (I need frequent rests). I glanced over and heard Ivan at other end of the pool, “Seven minutes exactly”. I knew Stephanie had won the race.On the men's side, Vince would take second with 7:22 and Dylan would follow in 7:45. If swim practices didn't take so much precious time away from cycling, perhaps Dylan could lower his time even further.

      Stephanie Flynn won the race in 6:54, followed by Kendra and Karin in 7:04 and 7:20, respectively. Jen Bhatla and Jeanie also came in under the 8 minute mark, a feat that nearly three-quarters of the men failed to accomplish.
      Pretty impressive when you consider the fact that Stephanie was tapering for her real goal race which was still a week away. She had to beat an ex-boyfriend in the 50m at a Masters swim meet. Which she did, by a solid 3 seconds. At the same meet she also held her 7 minute 500m pace, swimming just over 21 minutes for the 1500m. I’m going to stay out of her lane at the UBC triathlon next month.

A photo of Stephanie that Kellen took post-race is included below.

      The majority of Participants then gathered in the men’s sauna for a post-race debrief. The more traditional post-swim hot tub was not  an option. Tragically, the hot tub was  out of order, “imbalanced chemicals” said the sign. But fear not, I’ve already called every pool technician and cleaning service in the Vancouver Yellow Pages. Very few answer their phones on Sundays. I’ve also sent numerous faxes to the SFU and UBC chemistry departments, explaining the situation and seeing if they could please do something to bring balance back to those darn hot tub chemicals.

      If it isn’t open again by Monday, I’ll write my member or parliament. That’s sure to elicit a quick response from the aquatic center staff. I’ll call one of those mobile spa rental companies and get them to park a hot tub next to the outdoor pool as a temporary measure. I’m also working on a plan to seal off the bottom of the steam room door and re-route a hot water pipe. Rest assured, there will be a hot tub after Tuesday’s swim. I'm thinking of taking a part time job at the aquatic center for the rest of the semester, I will personally test the water samples and ensure that such a difficult situation does not arise again.    

       The Sauna wasn’t without its advantages. There were no splashes from little kids getting hot tub water deep into your retinas. You can frighten the lifeguard when he comes to do his rounds. You can see the thermometer. The one guy who happened to be in there and isn’t part of the club feels awkward. It’s much easier to talk to each other. Topics of discussion ranged from leg hair grooming strategies for men to push-up world records (46 000 in 24 hours?, 2521 one-armed in one hour?).

     Matt Reeve was again absent at the start of the event. But he must be around somewhere because I see he has received 150 points in the series. Likely still a bit overconfident, Matt may believe he can win the Spring Fling with a really, really fast brick time and forget about all of the other events.

The Spring Fling now takes its longest break, a full 20 days until the uphill bike later this month. Only 2 rest days break up the 21 stages of the Tour de France. I don’t want to hear any complaints of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.

Nathaniel Janzen 7:00:00
Vincent Lavallee 7:22:00
Dylan Stephanisan 7:45:00
Barry Claman 7:50:00
Eddy Wu 7:56:00
Brendan Neaf 8:10:00
Winston Guo 8:45:00
Navid 8:49:00
John Heinz 8:59:00
Johnson Jia 9:39:00
Ben 9:40:00
Drew Senay 9:50:00
Max 10:00:00
Kellen Kjera 10:00:00
Tiger Yu 10:10:00
Dirk Haupt 10:30:00
Matt Reeve DNS
Stephanie Flynn 6:56:00
Kendra Swain 7:04:00
Karin Olafson 7:20:00
Jen Bhatla 7:35:00
Jeanie 7:54:00
Claire Askew 8:23:00
Jen Moroz 8:30:00
Victoria Gilbert 8:40:00
Kaley Strachan 8:58:00
Kim Seder 9:01:00
Stephanie Urness 9:29:00
Lauren Slattery 9:54:00
Allison McDonald 10:05:00
Yan 12:10:00