Visiting Spencer Chiropractic has become among the most anticipated parts of my schedule, which already has an abundance of fun and interesting activities. (Bear with me on this jarring subject transition). Today I swam the 100m butterfly at a pool in Federal Way, Washington (where Phil Spencer lives). Brian Davis was also swimming it, and this would be the long awaited final showdown of Ben vs. Brian in the 100 butterfly. The first duel, of course, was at the Seattle Open, where I was still doing one-legged flip turns to protect my tender hip. At the first wall I had a small lead, but in the second half Brian was able to pull me back and put a full second on me at the finish. This time, I swore, would be different.
The meet today was prelims and finals, and between sessions Brian and I two different preparatory tactics. I went to Panera Bread and ate, then went to hang out with Phil, and finished off with an adjustment â€“ including something called something like the â€œcervical awakeningâ€. My neck cracked so loud I thought I might be dead, but instead I went from my morning feeling of sluggish and moody to feeling good, even hyper!
Courtenay doesnâ€™t like it when I get hyper. Like during the tour when Iâ€™m talking nonsense and distracting her from watching Thor and Bradley in their sexy pants.
I got back to the pool and did a nice 1000 warm-up, went over to Issaquah Swim Teamâ€™s area and talked a decent amount of shit to Brian and his teammates, then headed back to Cascade Swim Clubâ€™s area to motivate my team. (did I mention the 100 fly was part of the 400 medley relay?) Brianâ€™s relay had a combined age of 85, which is ancient in the world of age group swimming. My team, however, edged them out by two years at 87 (26, 25, 20, and 16). Plus, we had a guy named Thor doing the backstroke.
Phil and Courtenay were sitting in the stands making fun of peopleâ€™s lack of fashion sense. She was anyway, I figure Phil probably just responded with a nervous laugh to try to hide the fact that he didnâ€™t see anything wrong with walking around the pool deck in a full body Blue Seventy Nero suit with Uggs and mascara.
Let me set the scene for you: Itâ€™s 7:45 at night at the Wherehouser King County Aquatic Center, Issaquah Swim team is in the preferred lane four, Cascade in lane one. The sweat is dripping from the caps of the heat favorites from the east side, while the Seattle boys stand calm and ready, fearless of defeat. The fans are relentless in their lack of enthusiasm, and the quiet of the crowd seems eerie â€“ itâ€™s the quiet before the storm. The magnitude of this event weighs down the hearts of the onlookers, grasping them with suffocating anticipation.
The gun sounds and the backstrokers leap from the wall, Issaquah edges away over the first 100m and Cascade starts the breaststroke with a 1-second deficit. On breaststroke itâ€™s a battle between 29 year old Peter and 25 year old Andy, but youth shows its virtues and Andy reels in the Issy boys so Brian dives off a mere three tenths of a second ahead of me. I bury myself into the most powerful butterfly Iâ€™ve done since I actually trained for this type of event. At the turn I can see the embodiment of evil still half a body length ahead. I put my whole body into an undulating frenzy of aerial churned cream. My arms begin to tighten, I can feel my stroke shortening, by 75 meters my mind is consumed with visualizations of hitting the pad before my nemesis.
20 meters left â€“ I try kicking harder
10 meters â€“ my shoulders are paralyzed
5 meters â€“ just touch the wall
My timing is perfect, my last stroke is neither too long nor too short. I look at the clock, we are less than a second down â€“ there is no time to think about my split vs. Brianâ€™s, and I cheer for our freestyler, who is holding even with his evil counterpart in lane four.
In the end we were 4:07 something, about 8 tenths behind Issaquah. It was a righteous battle, and hopefully not our last. Brian split a 58 something, and I was a 59 something, meaning our loss was my personal responsibility. The disgrace has me with no choice but to perform seppuku. Had I worn a Blue Seventy skin suit, I may not have let my team down.