Commonwealth Games Blogs

Deep in the heat of Texas

There's nothing like a trip to Texas to get prepared for the Delhi heat.

I spent the last nine days in College Station, Texas, training at my old stomping grounds: Texas A&M University. Our pool in Victoria was closed for maintenance, so it was a good time to go back and visit my old friends and teammates.

Most of the girls I swam with at school are now "retired" from the sport, and since the college season has just barely started, I had a few one-on-one practices with my old coach, Steve Bultman. He was impressed with how much better my butterfly looks, which was encouraging, to say the least. I knew that my technique had gotten better: my butterfly split in my 200-metre individual medley at the Pan Pacific Championships in August was the fastest of my career. But, to hear it from someone who coached me for five years made me feel even more secure about the work I've been doing with Randy Bennett at the Victoria Academy of Swimming.

The butterfly isn't the only stroke that Randy has been helping me with. In order to improve my 200 IM, I always need to be working on each of the four strokes - butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle.

For butterfly, we've been focusing on making my stroke more efficient. By entering more smoothly at the front of my stroke and lowering my head sooner, I'm able to use less energy and go faster: a win on both levels.

In backstroke, I'm working on increasing my tempo, especially into my back-to-breast turn. Breaststroke is my weakest stroke, so we have been putting a lot of attention on that (Luckily, I'm not alone: Alexa Komarnycky, an Olympian in the 400 IM, also spends a lot of time working on the breaststroke leg of her IM. It's always good to have someone beside you at practice, especially when you are working on a weakness). In freestyle, it feels like there is something new to work on every single day. So, it was nice to hear that my - and Randy's - hard work has been paying off!

Even though I was in the pool every day (sometimes twice) I found time to act like a normal 23-year-old and spend time with my friends and boyfriend, who I haven't seen since I graduated in May. My girlfriends and I went out to one of my favourite restaurants and reminisced about college days and swimming. We also talked about the future: my swimming goals, their career goals, and my former roommate's upcoming wedding (I'm officially starting to feel old).

My boyfriend and I crammed in plenty of dates, knowing we have to go long stretches without seeing each other. He plays for the Tampa Bay Rays' single-A team based in Bowling Green, Ky., and I am always training up in Victoria. We had a nice visit with his family, caught a Houston Astros game (which they won 3-2) and sat through the scorching heat of a Texas A&M football game. Luckily, we had seats on the alumni side of the stadium so we didn't have to follow the Aggies' "12th Man Tradition" and stand the whole time in the student section! In a stadium crammed with 77,579 screaming fans on a Saturday, even if it's 35 degrees and humid, you can't help but have a good time. Especially when the Aggies win - which they did! 

So, although I didn't have a summer vacation after the Pan Pacific Championships because of the timing of Commonwealth Games, this was a nice "pseudo" vacation for me. There's nothing like a change of scenery to help keep your motivation rolling.

Now it's back to Victoria for another week of training, and then it will be time to pack for our pre-Commonwealth Games staging camp in Singapore.