Now all this Binge Swimming not doing enough training malarkey (which is perfectly true ) is my excuse (and probably a very valid one) for the fact that my competitive performances often leave quite a lot to be desired.
I still have delusions that if I ever manage to get back into the swing or should that be the swim of regular training then I could be pretty competitive and to feed this delusion every once in a while there’s a flash of my past ability.
I have to say that nowadays these moments only come in the 50 breaststroke event, where I reckon that the result goes to the swimmer who best keeps their head together.
So big day 50 breast and my best seeded event (4th) going into it. I warmed up and went to sit on the temporary stand behind the blocks to try and pick up the rhythm of the event.
I was considering skipping the call room altogether and simply walking onto my block by dodging under the barrier. I was sitting next to Derek Parr and he didn’t think this was a very clever tactic, so I chickened out and with 4 heats to go sauntered around to the secondary call room.
The 50’s were moving really quickly as swimmers weren’t being marshalled onto the pool side until the heat before was in the water. Despite trying to focus on the start, I have the propensity to give everyone a head start before diving in behind them, and this wasn’t any different.
It’s kind of blind panic at that point, trying to stretch, and rev the stroke without snatching. I hadn’t a clue, where I was, where any one else was, and where on earth the wall was; all I could think of in the last 5 meters was aaaarghhhhh.
It was however immensely satisfying to hit the wall, look up at the scoreboard and see (after some squinting) that I’d placed second behind Pat Reilly from Ireland.
The two of us have history in this event having snatched 1st and 3rd place in Sweden 5 years ago, as smokers from the penultimate heat.
The Irish were having a very successful day as Viv Mongey had just snatched his first medal at a major meet in the men’s 200 IM pity they couldn’t work out which way to face when a camera’s pointing at them.
They were in any event off celebrating at one of Kazan’s numerous Irish hostelries.
I suppose one of the spin offs of being attached to the Elite Championships is that they (the organisers) have gone overboard on the presentations. (the poor turn out also makes this possible)
There is a huge platform built on the side of the pool with a podium on top of it. This is a world away from the usual presentations at these events where people just gather around a podium and the lovely Andreas Prayer calls out the names of the winners.
On the one hand it’s great to recognise the achievements of people but I think it makes it rather dehumanises the occasion, and I’m also not sure that I like the idea of medals being carried on trays by woman or rather young extremely slim attractive girls wearing short dresses and thunderbird caps.
The London Olympics dealt with this really well with guys carrying the medals.
It just makes me a bit uneasy as to what sort of message is that sending out? and should Masters be embracing that stereotypical image of women? Or am I just being too stuffy about it?
Anyway medal collected and after a brief entanglement with a furry snow leopard, who I understand is called Itil (I only have Amanda Heath’s word for this, she should know she asked him!)
Lynne and I eventually escaped for dinner on Bauman Street, to celebrate with beer and the local delicacies duck pasties, aah I could almost be at home. Almost a good enough day to take my mind off the rapidly approaching death day…….200m breaststroke.
And for Pat Reilly…….. a rather belated name check for Viv as promised.