Behind the Blocks: NCAAs or bust tracks the training and development of former All Met swimmers working towards the goal of making the NCAA Division I championship meet in March during the 2013-2014 season. Each week the swimmers will post a personal blog about training with their respective school’s swim program and the daily challenges of life as a student-athlete at the D1 level. Check back every Tuesday for new blog posts, and join us throughout the season for a behind-the-scenes look at some of the country’s elite collegiate swimmers and swim programs.
Sarah Haase is a sophomore at Stanford University. She swam for the Flower Valley Frogs in the MCSL and continued her career at Our Lady of Good Counsel High School where she set the national independent high school record in the 100-yard breaststroke. She trained with Rockville-Montgomery Swim Club under Scott Vekeman and was a semifinalist at the 2012 Olympic Trials. Read all of Sarah’s blog posts here.
It was great to be welcomed back to beautiful California by the sunshine and 70-degree weather following our cold training trip in Colorado Springs and a quick stop in Austin for a dual meet against the University of Texas.
Our dual meet with the Longhorns turned out to be just as close as I anticipated.
Through the first few events of the meet we were letting our fatigue get the best of us. We lost close races and we weren’t racing with the same intensity we usually have. But after the first break, and a little pump up talk, we found the motivation to race with a purpose. The meet came down to the final relay, which went in our favor.
Personally, I didn’t have the most stellar meet in regards to times. I found myself racing sub-par compared to how I had been training the previous couple weeks.
Stanford at Texas: Results | Recap
Haase: 3rd 100 breast (1:02.04); 3rd 200 breast (2:16.27); 200 med-r breast split (28.22)
Since our return to campus, we have settled back into our daily routine and practice schedule. With the exception of taper time, the post winter training workouts are definitely my favorite of the season.
One practice a week, Greg adjusts the bulkhead to make a 15-meter pool. We all start together for a few short team races before dividing up into different groups based on distance and stroke. We rotate through a series of sets that might include one on the power towers in the diving well, a 25-yard set in the main pool, and a 15-meter set. The shorter distance groups, for example, will spend more time in the 15-meter pool and on power towers than in the 25-yard pool. A breaststroke set in the 15-meter pool easily turns into a hypoxic set. After a dive and a pull-out I only have one short stroke before hitting the wall for a turn. Then, it’s back under for another pull-out and two to three strokes before reaching the wall again. These practices focus on power, strength, and quickness – the precise reason they’re some of my favorite.
The winter quarter for Stanford swimmers has shifted towards rest and recovery. So far our weekend rest hasn’t been a problem thanks to the hours of NFL football games fueling our intra-team rivalries – there’s always next year, Redskins. However with the completion of the Super Bowl, I suspect the football-sized hole in our hearts will be filled with movies, television series, and perhaps even some board games.
Contrary to that previous paragraph, we still do take classes this quarter. Although, we try to arrange slightly lighter loads to help minimize the amount of lost class time from traveling and allow ourselves to spend more time resting and recovering. This quarter, I was able to swing not having class on Fridays, which not only allows me to take an uninterrupted nap after Friday morning practice, but it greatly reduces the amount of class I have to make up for weekend meets.
The most exciting times of the season are just around the corner for college swimming. This week we start our conference dual meets and square off against Arizona State and Arizona. The following week we travel down south for a pair of dual meets with UCLA and Southern California. These upcoming weeks will test not only our speed, but also our endurance in these back-to-back dual meets.