Thursday, March 11, 2010
Mariya Pavlovskaya's 2nd All-American swim
Junior Mariya Pavlovskaya once again achieved Honorable Mention All-American status by winning the consolation heat of the 400 yard IM finishing in 9th place overall. She dropped over 3 seconds off her prelim swim which was already her best time this season. After her 11th place finish in the 200 IM, a 9th place finish in the 400 IM makes her two-for-two in events in which she's scoring points for the Nanooks.
"Nationals are a very important competition and it's really exciting for me as an athlete to be a part of such an anticipated and great event. It takes a lot of commitment, endurance, support and motivation to actually make it through the entire season and get here. Nationals are like a summary statement that provides a conclusion to everything you did throughout the year. As a team we started in September and worked all the way through to the end and we had some amazing victories both in the pool and in school. My teammates' achievements and attitude helped me significantly to reach where I am right now. Every day they would prove their highest ambitions and their powerful will. I'm thankful to be a part of such an amazing team.
This year Nationals take place in Canton, Ohio. It's pretty peaceful out here - no huge shiny buildings as in Houston, Texas, where nationals were held last year. This year our national team has been reduced to only two of us - Felina and me. Scott is the only coach who came here so it makes three of us from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. People here are not as friendly as in Fairbanks which makes me miss our campus a little. We got here on Sunday afternoon and settled down in one of the hotels which is close to the pool and the mall and all different kinds of restaurants.
On Monday and Tuesday we swam four times which was nice and relaxing after the plane ride and helped us to get a feel for the water. I was surprised that the water temperature was the same as in our pool at home because usually the pools we compete in are much warmer. The pool is pretty good, not counting that the showers are ice cold and there are no locks on the bathroom doors so you have to hold the door when you go in. It brings some challenges to the settled routine we're used to once we're at the pool.
There are many teams here and it's really challenging to get bleacher space. However, we are few and we managed to get a good spot and not get in anybody's way. Warming up in the main pool takes a lot of skill because it's overcrowded with swimmers who try to kick, sprint and do drills all at the same time.
On the first day of the meet I swam my 200 IM and I consider that swim as one of my best races this year. I felt really smooth and relaxed. It was a good start to the championships.
Today was my 400 IM and in the morning it felt harder than I expected. I was a bit disappointed that I didn't get into the "big" finals finishing prelims in 10th place. In the afternoon, however, I felt much better and I didn't even feel tired afterwards. So far nationals are going pretty well for me: I swam my best times this season and I'm very excited for the two races that I have coming up.