Journey to Olympic Trials: Believe in Yourself

Commentary by Jeff Commings, SwimmingWorld.TV associate producer

PHOENIX, Arizona, November 6. THE past six days had many ups and downs — like most weeks. This week had many of the ups and downs had in the same day, particularly today at a meet in Phoenix.

The meet was the Phoenix Swim Club Pentathlon, a meet that consisted of five events within a 90-minute span ranging from the 50 fly to 500 free. I swam three good events and two not-so-good events, which is a good track record for most at any meet. It just happened that the two not-so-good events were two of my best: the 100 breast and 200 IM.

To read about my results from the meet, you can go to my blog. You will be just as surprised as I was that one of my better events of the day was the 500 free, which I haven't raced since high school, more than 20 years ago. Going 5:03.88 probably put some thoughts into my coach's head about turning me into a distance swimmer. While the 500 wasn't as excruciating as I feared, I don't think I'll be doing it for a very long time.

I'm going to take the next week to analyze my technique on my 100 breast. At today's meet, I swam a 59.48 (short course yards), which is embarrassingly slow, but came about an hour into the meet and was the fourth race of the day. I'm not trying to make excuses. I had fully expected to at least swim a 58.5, and it was all I could do to convince myself that training is still going well and that I'm still going to swim very fast at my taper meet in about four weeks. I had to believe that everything is still proceeding as planned.

I had been training well both in and out of the pool this past week. My session last Wednesday with JR Rosania was very tough, but will eventually help with leg strength and endurance in all my strokes. And I had a good workout on Thursday evening with Coley Stickels, the head coach of Phoenix Swim Club, where I swam about 3,500 yards of breaststroke.

Technique-wise, my breaststroke hasn't been consistent. My muscles have been quite sore all week, and often it's not easy for me to swim correct breaststroke when my lats and rhomboids are twisted in knots. But that's when you want to focus on technique. That will be my concentration in the coming days.

Jeff Commings will be the second-oldest man to compete at the U.S. Olympic Trials next summer. He also holds Masters world records in the 50 and 100 breaststrokes.