I spent Saturday and part of Sunday at the UIC Flames Natatorium for the ILMSA State Meet. I swam five events in total, three of them relays. If I discount my times from when I swam as a kid, I posted personal best times in both individual events. Two of my relay split times were consistent, and one was impossibly off (0:20.45), so I’m sure that’s not accurate.

  • Mixed 200 Medley Relay (Free) : 0:31.09
  • Men 200 Free (seed 2:36.00) : 2:29.39
  • Men 100 Breast (seed 1:32.00) : 1:23.58
  • Men 200 Free Relay (3rd) : N/A
  • Mixed 200 Free Relay (3rd) : 0:31.84

I had intended only to swim on Saturday after failing to meet the registration deadline for the 500 Free which ran on Sunday. Fitz, my coach, asked if I could sub for a leg of the Mixed 200 Free Relay, so I agreed to come back. I did a long warmup and cooldown around the race and turned Sunday into an abbreviated version of my weekend practice.

The Chicago Blue Dolphins entered 19 swimmers in the meet, and that was a huge difference between my experience in Evanston where I was the sole representative and here. The team hung out together between events, encouraged each other, posed for pictures and generally contributed to that spirit of camaraderie that had been missing the first time around.

Whirl came along and cheered me on. Spencer and Templar came out to spend the afternoon at the pool and cheer as well. Once again, my squad of loyal fans adopted my (much speedier) work colleague, Brent, and cheered for him, too. Brent was the sole representative for his team at the state meet.

I know I’ve got some work to be competitive in my age group, but I am seeing steady progress on my times. I dropped seven seconds from the time on 200 Free I posted in Evanston. I dropped nine seconds off my practice time-trial seed time on the 100 Breast. My 100 yard split in the 200 Free was only a second slower than my goal time for the year in that event and the entire time for the event was only three seconds off my goal pace for the year.

Before the meet on Sunday, I stopped by Niqui’s house to try on a used men’s wetsuit she is interested in getting rid of. As Doug Sohn — of Hot Doug’s — proudly states, “There are no two finer words in the English language than ‘encased meats’, my friend.” After 15-20 minutes of wrestling with the wetsuit I successfully transformed myself into an ostensibly buoyant encased meat. Or a penguin.

I went through all of the trials of the wetsuit as a prerequisite to attempting some open water swimming later this year. There are a couple of events on the horizon that I’m considering where a wetsuit could be useful besides just practicing in Lake Michigan, Lake Tahoe and Donner Lake this summer:

Now, get back in the pool!