Despite the 14 hours of travelling to get here the Brits have by and large viewed this trip as a jaunt to another European city and rather than arrive a few days beforehand to properly acclimatise have pretty much jumped right in so the swimming started pretty much immediately.
Lynne and I were no different, we woke up and headed to breakfast held (obviously) at the Kazan Tennis Academy, this was a shortish walk away across the Gulag compound (depending upon which cell block you are confined in) and involved passing through two security check points .
Breakfast was housed in the bowels of the building and we followed the signs with growing anticipation to a couple of huge rooms, which housed a number of buffet stations, packed with swimmers and a lot of strange food that was unrecognisable and even more strange food that was barely recognisable. With some difficulty I located a spoon, coffee, tray and some muesli and grabbed a seat thankful that they hadn’t asked for a copy of my passport.
As with all World Masters this first day of competition starts with the 800, an event which I usually do, simply to get the first one over. I suppose that there may be easier ways of familiarising yourself with the pool rather than put yourself through agony for 12 minutes or so, but it seems to work for me. It’s a leisurely way to start the week as the pace of the event is a lot less frenetic then what’s to come.
The pool dressing in Kazan is really impressive. The presentation of the event has really benefited from being linked to the elite championships, the temporary boarding and presentation stage give the pool, which is jaw droppingly good anyway, an arena like feel. I always think we do a pretty good job at Sheffield but this really is something else. It was really special to walk out of the call room and onto the poolside, I’m not sure I’ve ever felt such an inspiring occasion.
My swim in this event at Manchester has been pants so I entered a time I hoped I would be able to do pretty comfortably, (the technical phrase for this is sandbagging,) we lined up and dived right in I obviously wasn’t the only sandbagger in my heat because the girl next to me went off like a rocket, I thought I’d let her go and just concentrate on my swim, but she had seriously misjudged her pace and I cruised past her after around 200 metres. Not a great time 12:01 ish but ultimately good enough for a 4th place putty medal and about 25 seconds faster than Manchester.
We left the pool and headed over to the FINA Water World Park for the opening ceremony, this is a large area (I think a car park) between the stadium and the aquatic palace, with a load of stalls and merchandising and a huge stage with a band gamely trying to get the crowd going.
Now there is only so much blazer glad handing that a Binge swimmer can stand and we headed off before the Fina committee, flag waving and fire works. If you are really that interested you can head over to the website as there’s a bunch of photos there.
Still having trouble with Russian Wifiski……but the swim totals for the day
- 700 metres warm up
- 800 metres @ 12:01
- 500 metres swim down