Sunday, November 11, 2012

Minneapolis Grand Prix - Wrap up

Sometimes it helps to look at things in total to get a real appreciation for what you have accomplished. This meet was essentially the first meet of the year for 4 our our elite Male swimmers. All of whom are well beyond the days of "best times" every time they swim. In fact, most of these guys train hard all season, just for 1-2 opportunities to get best times at all. This early in the season (less then 8 week in), best times and team records are just about the last thing on their minds.

With all that said - Here is a synopsis of how these swimmers did this weekend. Keep in mind that most of these swims are without a full rest or shave.

Friday - 

200 Fr
Jeff Williamson - 1:43.75 (GCOM team record)

100 Breast
Matt Tanchick - 58.67 (GCOM team record - and less then .9 seconds of his lifetime best)
Tom Kirch - 1:01.10 (less then .5 off his lifetime best)

100 Fly
Jeff Williamson - 52.08 (GCOM team record)
Matt Tanchick - 53.74 (less the 1 second from his best time).

400 Free Relay
Jeff Williamson - 46.81 (GCOM team record), Matt Tanchick - 48.44 (fastest split ever), Tom Kirch (48.51), Erick Burgwardt (49.75 - first time under 50 seconds ever) - For a total time of 3:13.52 (GCOM team record)

200 Fly
Matt Tanchick - 1:53.92 (Lifetime best by almost 5 seconds)
Jeff Williamson - 1:52.23 (GCOM team record - Lifetime best by .2 seconds)

100 Back
Jeff Williamson - 54.19 (GCOM team record)
Erick Burgwardt - 55.83 (Lifetime best by 1 second)

50 Free
Jeff Williamson - 22.18 (.6 seconds off best time - with no rest)

100 Free (Time Trial)
Tom Kirch - 48.32 (Lifetime best)

200 Breast
Matt Tanchick - 2:08.53 (GCOM team record - 7 seconds under lifetime best)

200 IM
Matt Tanchick - 1:55.17 (GCOM team record)
Jeff Williamson - 1:57.48
Tom Kirch - 2:00.45

200 Back
Jeff Williamson - 1:58.28 (GCOM team record)

10 team records - 4 Lifetime bests & most swims within 1 second of lifetime best splits. Great early season meet.

Day 3 - One session (Minn Grand Prix)

Frederico Burgwardt, and his adoring fans.

Autograph time:

Once again, 5-time Olympic Gold Medalist Missy Franklin was busy warming up and actually swimming this morning, so she could not sign autographs for the assembled innocent kids. Luckily, Frederico Burgwardt (GCOM), made himself available once again today to sign for the kids. What a gentlemen, and the kids were sure happy too. Another funny moment among many this weekend.


Today started off pretty rough. It was a LONG day yesterday and the kids were a little late for breakfast even, which is usually never a good sign. This early in the season, 3-day meets for swimmers from our area are NOT the norm, so we struggled a bit with stamina. This is somewhat to be expected but not to be used as an excuse. We trudged over to the pool and went through the motions of warm-up but we all just could not generate the energy needed to swim where we needed to. We had 4 individual events today. 3 in the 200 IM (Jeff, Matt and Tommy) and 1 in the 200 Ba (Matt).

First up was the 200 IM's, and Tommy, who was nursing a bit of a groin tug all weekend. He got out to a great start in the first 100 at 56.26. His groin held him up a bit in the breast and he somewhat struggled on his way to a 2:00.45. Not bad, but he was hoping for something a little better. Considering his groin, as coaches, we could not be disappointed.

Next came Matt and Jeff, a true showdown race if we ever had one. Both were paired up next to each other in the final heat of the event (heat 8). Jeff was in lane 1 and Matt was in lane two. Both got out to decent starts, but in the end, it wasn't all that much of a race as Matt pulled away in the breaststroke and raced his way to an easy win at 1:55.17 to Jeff's 1:57.48. The last swim of the weekend was Jeff in the 200 Back about 20 minutes later. Given the tone of the day so far, we did not expect much, and we weren't disappointed. Jeff struggled to a 1:58. 28. A fairly inglorious end to an otherwise very good meet.

Taking stock of the whole weekend. We really could not be disappointed as we had a 5 lifetime bests out of 17 swims. For an early season November meet, that is actually pretty darn good considering that several other swims were right at their lifetime best as well. I think that overall, we had hoped for some nice swims here and there, and that is exactly what we got and then some. I think the swimmers might not agree, but they sometimes look a little to deeply at times alone, verses realistic expectation though. We did have discussions to this effect and overall, I think we all will leave this meet with a very positive outlook on our training to date and what it tells us about what we need to do to move forward the rest of the way.

We certainly had a great time hanging out together and bonding as a group. This was a very fun group to hang out with and we all, coaches and swimmers, enjoyed each others presence. We'll have to schedule another one of these meets soon.

Matt, Erick, Jeff and Tommy on the way out. 
Great weekend.

Day 2 - Finals (Minn Grand Prix)

Coach Phil, Jeff and Matt at Finals

Grand Prix - Day 2 Finals

After having a very solid morning session, we were very hopeful for some good swims in our final session of the day. 1 full day into the meet, the swimmers seemed to be getting into the groove of things and as we would expect, they started to "raise their game" up a bit. We had 4 swims in the finals session tonight, 2 for Matt Tanchick and 2 for Jeff Williamson. Matt outraced Jeff this morning in the 200 Fly by going 1:54 in the morning heats, earning a spot in the A/B flights (which swims first in the evening session). This meant Matt had the opportunity to set the bar even higher for Jeff (whose strength is in the fly events, moreso then Matt). Matt did not disappoint and swam an awesome 1:53.92 in the night session, taking temporary team bragging rights as the GCOM 200 Fly record holder.

As fate would have it, Jeff had to wait almost an hour at his shot at Matt's newly minted record. Needless to say, there was much "smack talk" between the two of them during this period. Once Jeff's opportunity came, he made sure not to waste it. He took off like a shot and was out in 52.65 in the first 100 (faster then his 100 Fly swim yesterday). He, of course, paid the price for it in the last 100, but still managed to come back in a 59.58 for a total time of 1:52.23, which is right at his lifetime best. A very good swim for this time of the year.  Less then 4 minutes later (literally), Jeff had to get up and swim the D Final in the 50 free. It wasn't the prettiest swim, but he did manage a 22.74. Slow, but understandably so.

That left Matt Tanchick's 200 Breast as the final event of the night. Matt is fairly inexperienced at this race (compared to other distances in the Breast), but we knew he had even more in him from his big drop in the morning and he's been swimming great all weekend. Sure enough, caught up in the moment of things, Matt went out really fast in 1:00.23. A little too fast for this race, but he came back surprisingly well and managed to go a 2:08.53, which is much more in-line with where his times should be. This should really give his college recruiting coaches something to think about when considering him as a potential recruit. A very solid race for him. His best race, the 200 IM is in the morning.

Fun and games:

The highlight of the evening had to be the other great swims we saw through the night by Olympic greats like Lochte and Franklin, along with others. But our favorite moment by far was supplied by none other then our own Erick Burgwardt. We have been sitting all weekend next to Missy Franklin and the Colorado Stars Team. All the kids in the stands have been milling about above us waiting to for her, or anyone as it turns out, to sign autographs for them. At one point, when Missy was off warming up, Erick stepped in and asked if anyone wanted his autograph? Sure enough, a line of little kids started forming and Erick got to live the life of a "rock star" for about 5 minutes until they kids realized that they had absolutely NO IDEA who he was and didn't want his autograph anymore. Even Missy got a kick out of it when she heard about it. It was good for a few laughs.

Mihail Alexandrov on his way to a 1:55.38 in the
Men's 200 Breast.  

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Day 2 - Prelims (Minn Grand Prix)

Tommy, getting ready to swim
a 100 Fr Time Trial

Day 2 - Prelims

Another 6:45 AM wake-up and it was back to the pool for another session. Today, we had swims in the 200 Fly (2), 50 Fr (1), 100 Back (2) and 200 Br (1), along with a few TT's.

Results by swimmer:

Matt Tanchick - Continues to have an awesome meet and today started off great in the 200 fly with a 1:54.13 (new team record), a lifetime best time by almost 4 seconds and good enough to get him into the B Final. Matt's next race was several hours later was the 200 Breast. Matt is a breaststroker, but has never really put together a very good 200 race to date. With some confidence from the 200 Fly, Matt decided to take it out aggressively, which he did by going out in a 1:01. He paid the price in the final 100, but managed to swim a 2:09.48, which was a very respectable swim and a lifetime best by 5 seconds.

Jeff Williamson - Jeff struggled to get going a bit in his first race, the 200 Butterfly, but still managed to go a respectable 1:56.34. Good enough for the C Final and he expects to go significantly faster in finals, which is typical for him. His next two races were, like last night, back to back. In fact, all three races occurred within a 45 minute period. Not exactly optimal for performance. Jeff was able to go 22.18 in the 50 Free, which is off his best of 21.4, but good enough to sneak back into the D Final. The Backstroke was a struggle with a 54.1, but we couldn't expect much coming off 2 tough swims a few minutes before. We expect much better tonight.

Erick Burgwardt - Erick was swimming in the 100 Back and choose to do a 100 Fly time trial. In the 100 Back, he went a 55.83, which was a lifetime best by almost a second. A great swim for him. In the 100 Fly Time Trial, he died a bit coming home and went a 57.0, which is about a second slower then his best. All in all, pretty good swimming for this time of year.

Tommy Kirch - Tommy, just had a time trial today in the 100 Free and went a 48.35, which is about .35 seconds faster then his lifetime best. Considering he had 2 turns that were a little iffy, this was a very good swim. Remember, early in the season, it's easy to make a mistake or two so working through them at meets like this is crucial to success later in the year. I think, all of us (his coaches, Tommy and his teammates) all think that the 100 Free might be a very good event for him down the stretch after this race.

Overall, a very nice morning session with some great swims, some good ones and some that we know we can improve on. We're all feeling pretty good about our performances to this point.

Day 1 - Finals (Minn Grand Prix)

Finals - Day 1

After a decent morning start, we headed to Jeff's favorite lunch spot on the planet (Noodles & Co.) for some lunch. Then it was time for a much needed nap to get ready to improve on our morning swims in the Finals session. After a nice rest we got back to the pool around 5:40 PM and started warming up. We have been sitting next to the Colorado Stars all meet so far, so Matt took a little time out of warm up to make a few friends.

Matt with 2012 Olympic Champion Missy Franklin

Once we were warmed up, we had about and hour before our first swim and during that time we got to watch some of the best in the world do their thing. First up was 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist Missy Franklin (pictured above) in the 200 Free. She turned in a 1:42.28, which was the 5th fastest female 200 free in history and set an USA Swimming Age Group record. Next up was Ryan Lochte in the 200 Free, who cruised to a win with a 1:35.15, followed almost immediately by his 100 fly at 46.73. I'm sure he is not impressed with those swims, but they were fun for us to watch.

Soon enough it was time for us to swim. We were swimming the 400 Free Relay first, which was the first relay for us ever at a National level meet. Jeff, who had a bit of a rough start this morning, was leading us off and got us out to a phenomenal start at 46.81. He was followed by Erick, who is a relative newcomer at this level. Erick, who has never been faster then a 52 in the 100 Free (its not his thing) swam a very respectable 49.76. He was followed by Tommy (48.51) and Matt (48.44) for an overall team record time of 3:13.52. A very nice start. A new team record the fellas

Next up, was Jeff Williamson's 200 free. He didn't swim all that well in the morning and was hoping to improve quite a bit this evening. The only problem was that this race was less then 15 minutes after the relay. Still, not to be deterred, Jeff went out like a champ in 49.6, but started feeling that 46 relay split a bit in the back end of this race. He finished a very respectable 1:43.75 (2 seconds faster then this morning). It's about 4 second off his best, but a very good swim considering the circumstances and a new team record. About 15-20 minutes later, he had to swim the 100 fly for his 3rd race of the night. He made a good swim of it (considering the circumstances), but at 53.04, it was about a second slower then this morning. All in all, considering the back, to back, to back nature of the night, Jeff rebounded very nicely from his shaky early start.

Matt just had one swim tonight (other then the relay) and that was in the 100 Breast. It was about 20-25 minutes after the relay so he was in pretty good shape. He was seeded 18th overall and was in a great lane for this heat. He went out in a blistering 27.19 and was in a great spot to take the heat. Unfortunately, he was in a bad stroke cycle at the end and took a short stroke that hurt his overall time just a bit. This is a very typical early season miscue and that's exactly what these meets are for (to work out those kinks before more important meets later in the season). Still, his time of 58.67 was a touch faster then in the morning and still his 3rd fastest time ever in this event. It was also good for 19th overall in the meet. A very nice swim for this point in the season.

All in all, a great day for the boys and after a few more group shots with Missy Franklin, it was off to eat some pizza and then get some rest for tomorrow's races.

Tommy. Matt, Missy Franklin, Jeff and Erick.

More to come tomorrow.