2004 National Age Group Championships

By Miriam Crawford

6th August 2004

When I arrived at the Nationals this year I had one aim, to swim well and get a PB. This year exceeded my expectations.

I arrived focused and ready for a good day racing. I warmed up my shoulders and jumped into the pool trying not to complain too much about the unnatural cold. When it was time for my heat I had completely suppressed my nerves by telling myself that it was an ordinary gala and that I had to swim my own race. I was not expected to get a place so the important race for me was the heat. There was no pressure and no one other than Dave and friends were watching me.

During my races I tried to remember all of the advice Dave and the other coaches had given me and I really went for it. The result was a 4 sec. PB in the 400freestyle and a 2 sec PB in the 200 freestyle. Feeling very pleased I went for a nice long swim down only to hear my name being announced as a finalist in my age group. Obviously I was pleased but at the same time I was petrified.

As I had made a finals I had to be measured for a new investigation called "fast track" where scientists are trying to work out what physiological features make up a good swimmer. They poked and prodded me whilst measuring my torso and limb height and my weight. Then back to the hotel for food and a good rest. So far so good and all was going according to Dave's instructions..

Then came the time for my finals races. I was terrified, in fact Dave said he had never seen me that nervous before. This is not good when you are about to swim! Lining up before the race was the worst, knowing that two of the girls were international and the best in the country and then there was me struggling at National level. On top of that you have to march on, be introduced and the whole thing was on the enormous monitor screen above. Not to mention that there was a pool full of people watching. Needless to say my performances in the finals were not good and I went a lot slower than in the heats.

I went home pleased to have made finals but no medals this year. Dave has not only got to sort out my swimming but has got to work on my head as well! Not an easy task for any coach.

I would like to thank every one for their help and encouragement this year, to Dave for his hard work, To Christine, Geoff , Mike and Trevor for keeping going and to Ian Thwaites for generally being there and being good fun!

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