Jr. Pan Pacs 2012


I was a little disappointed that my coach, Emil, didn’t make the trip to Junior Pan Pacs after being selected.  I understood why, he did give up August last year coaching a 2 week training camp, then a week competing for Swim BC at the Western Canada Summer Games and I’ve dragged him all over North America over the last three years. I guess his Starbucks mug collection is big enough. In the end it didn’t matter. Ken McKinnon was the head coach and Dimitri coached the breaststrokers and backstrokers for a 2-week camp in Vancouver then another week competing in Honolulu. Even though they’re both well respected developmental coaches with impeccable credentials, whenever they talked to me, I found myself having trouble listening because I would substitute there words for what I know Emil would say in that given situation.  So many times over the past 3 years when I was about to head to the ready room, Emil’s pre-race instructions would involve starting an argument about where we were going to eat supper…”Tonight no more Quiznos or Subway, instead we find restaurant that makes Baklava” We’d argue back and forth for a few minutes until I’d storm off angry and wouldn’t realize till I stepped on the blocks that I’d forgotten to be nervous about my race.  Dimitri must think I’m strange when I’d start to laugh to myself while he was dispensing race strategy wisdom. It really made me miss Emil. I sometimes forget to say it but thanks Ken and Dimitri for giving up your summers… I really appreciate it.

A few words about Pan Pacs..

Nothing bugs me more than reading a tweet or facebook status from a swimmer complaining about a delay or hiccup with their flight to Australia, California or Europe while I’m home either in History class or about to ride my bike 20kms to the pool.  We could have been stuck on the tarmac for 24 hours and I wouldn’t have cared…. we were going to Hawaii!  I was on this team two years ago and I was the very last pick. It was my first Canadian team and I remember in Victoria they had to choose the A senior team first to go to Dubai before selecting the Junior pan pac team.  I knew I was on the bubble and it dragged on and on and on.  Finally, a freestyler decided to go to Dubai instead of Maui and it looked like I was going to be on the team, then they selected too many for Dubai…then it looked like I was out…. then after another painful hour or so waiting in the Commonwealth pool I was asked to go.  Best feeling ever. This time, I was one of the Captains. The two weeks at UBC flew by as we all got to know each other and got used to our new coaches.  It was pretty much the same old same old…eat, sleep, swim, repeat …only in Vancouver instead of Kelowna.

The Canadian girls had some great swims in Honolulu. Noemi was typical Noemi and re set the Jr. Pan Pac record book in the 1Fly.  Erika made a statement with her swimming this week that she’s ready for prime time while Mariya broke a 25 year old NAG record held by Allison Higson.  I had good swims in the 100/200 breast winning both races.  The most exciting race though was the 4×100 medley relay to end the meet.  Sydney started us off in the back and the battle for me was to stop thinking, “maybe bronze” because we were right in it heading into the breaststroke.  My mindset changed to “hey…we just might…..”  I stayed with the American but just couldn’t quite catch her.  Noemi then went to work and had a great swim.  On the final leg, Victoria did what she was supposed to going all out and went toe-to-toe with the American in the free.  At the turn it looked like Victoria had caught her and easily held on for silver.  Gutsiest swim of the week.  Tres bien girls. With Cynthia, Erika, Victoria and Paige winning bronze earlier, the girls’ medal totals were 4 Gold, 3 silver and 2 bronze.

For me, off to Minnesota tomorrow for my American adventure.   That reminds me…If anyone in Minnesota is reading this….I need a ride from the minneapolis airport, Lindburgh terminal Tuesday at 1:25pm :). 

Quick shout out to coach the Coach Mike Swim Blog…..http://www.coachmikeswim.blogspot.ca/ .  Thanks for the kind words.   Mike, If you do land Ken McKinnon as a guest on your podcast this week, can you somehow suggest he supply Junior teams with those uber cool green running shoes the USA Olympic team were given in London?  I’d consider it a personal favour.

Thanks for Reading

Kierra Smith

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