Superman throws on a cape, Spiderman puts on the webbed suit, and Batman jumps into the bat mobile and instantly they have superpowers. I know that it is more complicated than this, but there is something very important about the uniform to each super hero. I mean they are never seen fighting crime in ordinary clothes; the uniform in its essence gives them the ability to do the incredible.
For many years I have dreamed about competing in a cap with the US Flag and my last name. I was told about this cap’s magical powers that it helped people accomplish astonishing feats. Last weekend I was finally given the chance at the Short Course World Championships.
I was invited to the championships to compete in the 200 Butterfly, which was the first day of the meet. I was hoping to be able to swim the second day because I had never competed in such a meet and wanted one day to see how they run before racing. However, such things were out of my hands and I was the second women’s event. Thankfully we arrived a few days early to Doha I was able to fully recover from the long flight and get a few fast swims in the race pool, which helped put me at ease. I was so grateful that our staff thought of everything to help us succeed including a walk through of all of the ready rooms that lead out to the pool (there were three just to be clear). Just knowing what was coming allowed me to fully focus on what I could control: my race.
I knew that I needed to swim fast, at minimum a 1 second PR, in the morning to have a shot at making finals, which in the 200 events included only the Top 8 swimmers. Since I was placed in the final heat of the event to be safe I needed to be in the Top 3. I was confident walking out to the blocks, after all I was wearing the American Flag and a brand new Arena Suit, what could I not accomplish?
After a great race, I was fourth and hopeful. Even though I dropped over 2,70 seconds from my personal best from a few weeks earlier and over 4,5 from last year, a 2:06,01 was not quite enough to make it back to finals. I was ninth.
My racing in the competition pool ended after that first session. However, being so close to the final heat has only kindled my desire to continue to make the little gains to ensure that the next time I compete at this level I will not be left out of a final. Fortunately all of the coaching staff helped me fine tune different aspects of my training and racing to make that goal a reality!
Moreover, it’s not just the cap that is magical, but rather the magic comes from being a member of TEAM USA. I could not have asked for a better introduction to this team than this past meet and am now looking forward to the next opportunity to wear the US Cap: PAM AMS 2015!!