Going the Distance at the CeraVe Invite

Photo Courtesy: Ella Walsh

By Oliver Pickering, Swimming World Intern.

Two days into the annual CeraVe Invite, young talents and veteran swimmers alike have been showing their mettle and dedication in the pool. Whether finalists or not, swimmers are giving their best shots at improving their long course times, even though most of their Winter practices have been for short course meets.

Despite being short course season for most swimmers, CeraVe overall has been showing to be a great opportunity for competitors to race in a long course pool and inure themselves to the challenges posed by racing in meters rather than yards. This change in distances, in fact, might be reflected in the large differences in seed and preliminary times: overall, many swimmers have not been able to improve on their summer times despite working hard the entire season. To the average spectator, changing from a short course 25-yard length pool to a 50-meter pool might seem like a trivial change: after all, it would seem as if a race in a long course pool would only be a few yards longer than if swum in short course.

Rabea Pfaff of the Delaware Swim Team explains otherwise. “Changing from short course to long course is in part is a mental thing,” she explained. “While the pool is not only longer and there are less walls during a long course race, thinking about how the race is done and adjusting quickly both physically and mentally are the hardest things about switch.”

Her team, like most others, is practicing in a 25-yard pool right now, and many swimmers are facing the challenge of adjusting themselves to swimming in meters. Overall, while some swimmers were able to achieve personal bests, many swimmer’s races did not stack up to their seed times, which where most likely taken from the last long course season, where they had practiced in long course pools and were ready for the changes.

While adding time is often demoralizing, Rabea has a method for dealing with a rough swim. “I think about each race as an individual and independent competition.” Even though many swimmers are faced with a rough transition between long course and short course, Rabea explained, “It’s important to stay positive even if you had a bad meet so you can make a comeback in your other races.”

The CeraVe Invite has again been a welcome challenge to the swimmers looking to gain early exposure to long course racing for the next season. While it has been difficult for many swimmers to improve on their personal bests, Rabea, along with many other swimmers are able to take this experience “in perspective,” and look at CeraVe as a difficult meet as a positive experience in order to create realistic goals for their future races.

All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.