We are now 9 months into the Rome challenge and as we are only competing in Munster galas, Jia’s competitive season is over, but her training continues.
The Irish Masters Open
The Irish Masters Open was Jia’s third competition and her first long course competition. We went up the day before to get used to the pool and to practice with the blocks, because they use Olympic style blocks with a back stop, which we don’t have in our home pool. Things didn’t quite go according to plan in this competition.
While the 50m Breaststroke was one second faster than her short course time, the 100m freestyle was about 6 seconds slower than the short course one. It was probably a combination of pacing, training, and swimming long course. Plus the fact that no one gets a PB every time they swim. For the 100m breaststroke we decided to take a gamble and Jia eased off in the race to have more energy for the 50m freestyle which was straight after it. It still wasn’t a bad time for the breaststroke and swimming it with full effort is definitely something we must try next year. The tactic sort of worked, her 50m freestyle time was roughly the same when converting long to short course.
Looking back on the competition I think her times were affected by the length of the competition, there was a lot of waiting around with no warm up pool. This makes it very hard to get back going with such long gaps between events where you are sitting down. The length of the pool was also a factor. People coming from 25m pools don’t realise that 50m pools aren’t just longer, they are also wider and deeper. This makes you feel smaller and makes it harder to pace yourself. I have to be careful myself on warm ups to make sure I’m not going too fast and I suspect Jia went too fast during the warm ups or spent too much energy in them. She also simply wasn’t used to the length, while she had swam in a 50m pool once before, this was her first time racing in one.
Jia has made all of her initial goals, except for the Europeans part, so apart from aiming for PBs we are looking at some new ones. Two ones that we are now looking at are 50m butterfly and 200m freestyle.
Training is going well, the aerobic sets are now including a healthy mixture of 100s and 200s frontcrawl, 100s backcrawl and IM and 50s breaststroke. We have worked in some aerobic threshold work but haven’t done any anaerobic work for a while. This is mainly because we don’t have any races for another 6 months or so. We will have a few throughout the summer as it will help increase base speed. Of course, we will also continue to work on technique and skills.