The Western Kentucky Green Gators do a great job of hosting the Barbara Stevens Memorial Swim Meet in Bowling Green each January. It’s not a particularly large meet, but it attracts quality swimmers from the local club and as well as athletes from Louisville, Lexington, and Nashville. The meet is well-run and moves at a comfortably steady pace.
I swam the 500 freestyle, 100 freestyle, 100 breaststroke, 100 butterfly, and 200 freestyle. It was my first swim meet in over five months and I was pleased with my performance. My first two events were particularly close races which helped motivate me to decent times.
The meet began with the 500 freestyle in which I swam in heat 4. I was able to close the gap on a couple racers, missing second place by two one-hundredths of a second. My time for the last 100 yards was just 3 seconds slower than the first 100 yards of the race, so I felt good about my pace and stamina.
In the 100 freestyle, I finished two-tenths of a second off my personal best time. It was a fun race as I was ¾ of a second off the pace at the half-way point. I made up a second in the back half of the race to win the heat by a quarter-second. Results for the other three races I swam were close to predicted finish times, but slower than personal bests.
The event was set up well with heats grouped together by projected finish times regardless of age or gender. Results were then posted in traditional five-year age groups by gender. This made for competitive races in events with multiple heats.
It was good to see my friend Thomas Maine at the meet. He and I were the only representatives from the St. Louis Area Masters swim club. At 94 years of age, Thomas still competes regularly. He doesn’t choose the easiest races, swimming the 100-yard and 200-yard individual medley races in Bowling Green. Together, Tom and I propelled SLAM to ninth place out of the twelve teams at the meet.
After the meet, I stopped by Spencer’s Coffee, a very nice coffee shop located on the downtown square. They offer a full-service coffee bar and a limited menu of quality food items. I had a chicken salad sandwich, espresso and a brewed coffee for the road. The food and coffee were satisfying and well worth the drive across town.