Two years ago like many of you I participated in the corporate challenge. At the time little did I know that the event would change the next two years of my life and likely the remainder of my life. Since the corporate challenge of 2012 I have gradually ramped up my training and competitions even joining a kids swim team in Rockwall and swimming in the 15&over category; I am 44 and most of the time I am at least 20 years older than the next oldest kid. At first it was odd for me and for the kids but over the last year the kids and parents have become familiar with this old man competing and now I get a lot of support from both.
For the past year I have been training and focused on the FINA Masters World Swimming Championship in Montreal from 3-10 August. This event is held every two years and is the largest adult swimming competition in the world, with over 6500 participants. This is the first time the event has been hosted in North America and participants came from all over the world and competition was in 5 year groups from 25 to 100. Yes there were several centurions at the meet and despite them being slow on deck when they get in the pool they are incredible!
During the past year I arm twisted about 10 team mates from Rockwall to participate at the meet and this group worked together to get ready for the meet. We have trained 6 days a week at 4am in the morning and again at nights to be ready. At the end of June the group did a training camp in Rockwall where we swam 3 times a day and over the course of the week we swam over 40 miles.
Our group was made up of both men and women, ranging from 25-60. We traveled together along with our families which made a group of almost 40 people. The group collectively did awesome with many best times and in some cases my team mates dropped incredible amounts of time on some very challenging events. With some aggressive entry times to qualify for the meet there were typically 100 swimmers per event per age group and competition was tough. I was confident I would have a great meet and so it transpired, winning two silver medals in the 400m and 800m freestyle, and placing 4th in the 200m, 5th in the 50 free and 7th in the 100 freestyle. Our team also placed 4th in both relays we swam. I was very happy to win silver medals but those who know me know that I always want to win and was disappointed I did not bring home gold. It’s still pretty exciting to be second in the world with plenty of things I can work on to get better. Yes even at 44 I can learn from what I did and do better next time.
Our group is now starting to plan for 2 years time when the event will be in New Zealand and fingers crossed I will go one step further!
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