I bought my plane ticket and committed to going to the Mel Zajac meet at UBC in Vancouver May 27-29.  This will be my eighth straight Zajac meet and last one at the UBC Aquatic Centre because UBC is building  a new pool across the street which will be ready next year (I think).   There’s no city more appealing than Vancouver in the Springtime and I can’t wait.

I’ve made the five hour drive over the Coquihalla  from Kelowna to UBC for swim meets so many times.  The drive was usually filled with boundless optimism thinking I was finally ready for prime time only to spend five hours driving home second guessing why I was a breaststroker.  BC breaststrokers growing up in the Martha/Annamay era never come home from UBC with a shiny medal.  That’s not negative talk or lack of confidence coming through my keyboard…. one of them was a world record holder and the other one medaled at worlds.    It meant losing,  losing by a lot and losing often.    The place oozes with history though with Brian Johns, Brent Haydon and Annamay posters reminding everyone whose house you’re in and all they’ve accomplished.

During prelims of an IM one year I thought I was right with Tanya Hunks in the lane next to me only to have her blow me away over last 50.  Same with Julia Wilkinson another year.  I felt pretty good about myself at the time and tried to play it cool and look like I wasn’t going all out in a morning swim.    These may have been career highlights at the time.  (for me….not them.     I remember a UBC meet where it was my last chance to qualify for Westerns only to look up and find out I just missed.  Also remember a 2008 Swimming Canada camp for breaststrokers at UBC where it seemed all we did was spend 3 days throwing a medicine ball back and forth. Might be still sore from that.

On one hand, for me that pool has a bit of a beatings-will-continue-until-morale-improves memories but on the other hand I’ve watched Ariana Kukors pip Missy Franklin in the 100 free at my first Zajac and last year saw Kevin Cordes blow away the field with his flawless breaststroke technique that needs to be seen up close.  In between I’ve watched Cochrane, Dickens, Lochte and Johns race in person.  In 2012 I raced three lanes over from Liesel Jones.  I learned so much about swimming  just watching those guys and how they handled themselves at a meet and am looking forward to one last meet in that pool.

Training is going really well these days in Minnesota with some Gophers getting ready for European Championships and other gearing up for US Olympic Trials.  There’s certainly a different buzz in the air this year and everyone’s upped their game.   Every yard swum, nap taken, bite eaten and weight lifted these days has a purpose and takes on a higher level of importance.  (haha…for those who know me, I was kidding about the weightlifting part ).

This summer this is where I will be:

May 12-15                           Pro Swim Series Charlotte

May 27-29                           Mel Zajac, Vancouver BC

June 4-12                             Mare Nostrum tour

July 7-10                               BC AAA’s Victoria BC

I’ll head back to Kelowna after the AAA Victoria meet and spend a couple of weeks putting final touches on my stroke and training with the Lightning.   Looking forward to starting my days swimming around the buoys at Gyro with the triathletes long before normal people wake up.
I know this is the part where I’m supposed to say something like … “sorry I haven’t blogged much lately and I promise to update this page more often”.   No promises on that though.  In fact, I’ll  probably be checking in here even less.   I’m overdue to submit a swim-centric blog about my goals for the rest of the year and the workouts I’m doing trying to achieve them.   They’re boring to read though and even more boring to write.  I’m enjoying hanging out with my team and coming to the pool every day getting ready to take on everyone later this Summer.  Feeling more confident about this Brazil thing every day.

Kierra Smith
Minneapolis, MN