A Day in the Life: Sarah Groff-Palermo, Day 5

NEW YORK, New York, March 25. NEW York Masters swimmer Sarah Groff-Palermo writes about another day at New Englands in her fifth "A Day in the Life" entry.

Saturday, March 24, 2007, Day 5
Another day, another bag of chocolate chip cookies destroyed by two in the afternoon, another set of killer performances by the ladies of Red Tide, who are currently rocking the top spot in our division. Le Moulin keeps taking her age group down, Thor has yet to place lower than fifth, and our 25+ A team swam down the rest of the 200 medley with a vengeance, just touching out the last opponent, another NYC swim team.

The beginning of my day was not so sweet, though. I woke up feeling worse than on Friday and worried that I had spent all my energy just getting through day 1. In warmup, my legs felt like rocks, and when I took out the first leg of the 400 free relay a second slower than I swam the 100, it seemed my worst fears were coming true. Coming up were the 100 fly and 200 free, races I have had a bit of trouble with the past two years, letting them intimidate me and generally taking things out too slow. I have been working on both all season, and I was so frustrated that it seemed to be for naught. I rested and listened to my awesome iPod playlists and generally felt sorry for myself till it was time to warm up for the 100.

Then in warmup, something clicked. All of a sudden, I was upset. I was mad at my body for being sick and not doing what I wanted, and I decided I was going to swim the 100 fly right and the rest of me was just going to have to go along with it. And it was the race of my life. I took it out hard and just waited for the painful death that never came. My teammates who had been watching from the stands came down to yell and I finished hard, leaving most of the heat behind. Of course, I still finished 10th, but it was a first-place race to me, three seconds faster than I went in January. The 200 free followed the same pattern, and I dropped five seconds for a sixth-place finish, again second in my heat.

Afterward, once we escaped the pandemonium of the locker rooms, we headed out to Cambridge for our team dinner. It's a good thing our forward-thinking president booked the private room, because there is nothing so similar as Masters swimmers after an all day meet and beer-drinking locusts. It was a raucous meal, appropriate to our great day, with much shouting and laughing and congratulations all around.

Then we came back to the hotel and a bunch of us sat around giggling, like it was 8th grade all over again. The end to a pretty rockin' day. One more left, and I'm already feeling a bit nostalgic for New Englands 2007.

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