4:59 p.m. – Hey everyone, back to the blog after a few hours away. It is an absolutely gorgeous day here in Indianapolis – 68 degrees and sunny! I came across Lucas Oil Stadium on my run this afternoon and the home of the Colts was gleaming in the sun.
Sticking to routine, the team held its meeting at 4:10 and it was off to the natatorium. Coach Carlson addressed the group first and stated that the morning session was a mixed bag of swims. Some were good, some were not so good. From coaching to the fine details that go into making a turn, there was room for improvement. The details that many people (me) never notice make all the difference in swimming. One slight mistake – a miscue on a turn, or stroke, or start and that’s all it takes to go from third place to 15th. This meet is so fast and so competitive that oftentimes the one who makes the fewest mistakes ends up winning.
Alissa Tinklenberg had a few miscues in her 100 backstroke this morning and staying to true Tink form, she was the first one to admit what those were. Fortunately for Tink, she was good enough to persevere and earn a place in tonight’s finals.
I saw Alissa in the lobby of our hotel following my run and asked her how she was feeling. “I feel fine. I’m not going to swim somebody else’s race tonight,” she replied. That’s the refreshing thing about Tink and the rest of this group. Despite all their success, they remain humble and are always looking for ways to get better.
Coach Carlson concluded his portion by telling the athletes that things don’t happen magically and that nobody can wave a magic wand that suddenly turns them into All-Americans. At some point, the swimmers are going to have to step up and make things happen on their own. If the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament taught us anything today, it is that madness ensues in March. Crazy things have happened at this meet and even crazier things are yet to take place.
Coach Lindstrom stressed focus and being in the moment. “Focus on what’s next and what you need to do,” he said. Coach Weyandt talked about energy and stressed the importance of maintaing confidence and enthusiasm through the remainder of the meet. The three coaches always offer three different points of view, keeping their insight short and sweet.
After the serious items, Carlson told his athletes to spend some time with their family and friends who made the trip tonight at the pool. Only Jenny Strom and Alissa Tinklenberg will be racing tonight, so Carlson wants his athletes to sit in the stands with their loved ones for at least a short amount of time.
We are about 15 minutes away from the start of the session. I’m off to watch the senior tribute and grab a few pics.
6:07 p.m. – The senior tribute is complete and the meet has been. It is a pretty cool spectacle the NCAA puts on for the competing seniors of this meet. All the seniors gather in the long hallways located under the grandstands on both sides of the pool. Then public address announcer Tom Schutt reads off each senior’s name and the school they represent. The senior then exits the tunnel and is greeted by his/her coaching staff. I got some great pics of coach Carlson and Lindstrom hugging seniors Laura Drake and Alissa Tinklenberg when they stepped out onto the deck. The seniors then stand in a long line on each side of the pool and are given one more standing ovation.
I have yet to mention anything about the National Anthem. The Star Spangled Banner is recited at the start of each finals session. I will have to track down who sang the anthem tonight because it was spectacular and the building erupted on the final note of the song and we were underway shortly after.
Luke Weyandt was correct, Friday is a much more intense day in terms of atmosphere and crowd size. The attendance averaged roughly 1,200 spectators per session the first two days and there are definitely more people than that in the house tonight. The Gustie students are also back in the stands making tons of noise already.
The finals for the women’s 100 butterfly is happening right now so I am off to get in position for Tinklenberg’s 100 backstroke final. Jenny Strom will then be next in the 100 breaststroke, so I will likely be reporting back after her swim.
The picture you see above of Katie and Tarin happened before the events began. The girls wanted to go up onto the catwalk and I could see no reason at the time to not bring them up. I realize now this was probably highly frowned upon, but seriously, how can you beat that picture!!!
6:58 p.m. – Gustavus is done swimming for the night. Alissa Tinklenberg placed eighth in the 100 backstroke, and Jennifer Strom finished ninth in the 100 breaststroke.
Tinklenberg earns her first individual All-America honor of the meet with her swim this evening. In talking to the coaching staff, it sounds like Alissa felt good about her race and that she was happy with how she competed. She has put it behind her and is now focused on what she needs to do tomorrow.
Jenny Strom stole the show in the consolation finals of the 100 breaststroke. Strom won the consolation heat with a time of 1:03.11. The junior improved on her preliminary time by over a second in tonight’s final.
Here’s an interesting note about Strom and her race. Apparently she switched suits for tonight and went away from the one she’d been using at the NCAA Championships up to this point. In talking to Luke after the race, this isn’t an uncommon occurrence. Jenny went to the suit she felt most comfortable in, which is also the suit she recorded her previous best time in. It sounds like Tinklenberg will also be switching suits tomorrow. The only time the Gusties have ever worn these pink and black competition suits is this weekend, and only for their race and following cool down. I’m learning something new every day.
Congrats to both Alissa and Jenny on their performances today. The team will have an earlier night than usual because there are no relay events following tonight’s diving competition.
I will be putting a few videos together and wrapping the day up with a formal recap of the finals. Below is a photo gallery from tonight.
9:42 p.m. – I’m back at the hotel back in the room with the entire coaching staff rehashing tonight’s performances by Alissa Tinklenberg and Jenny Strom. Coach Carlson was very proud of both swimmers and provided me with some great quotes for tonight’s recap. The recap is now posted and can be accessed via the link below.
Here are the two video recaps from tonight as well. I had to do the interviews on the street outside the hotel because it was too loud in the pool when we were leaving. Jenny Strom was possibly the most nervous athlete I’ve ever interviewed. She was worried for nothing and did a great job – just like her swim tonight. Tink was a pro as always. I hate when good interviews graduate and Alissa definitely makes the All-Interview Team.
I’m out for now. One more day to go. The team will be up and awake tomorrow morning for its last 7:00 a.m. walk.