This was my last Sunbelt conference championship and my last taper of my college swimming career. This year our conference championship was held in Rockwall Texas at a high school. We left on a bus to Miami International airport at 4:30 am on Thursday morning and the plane left at 6. This really didn’t give us much time to eat breakfast at the airport, but I was planning on that so I made breakfast ahead of time. I made a full breakfast of three eggs, two slices of ham and English muffin, which I ate it before we left. Just to make sure I wouldn’t starve anytime I brought some snacks and a few bagels. When we arrived at the airport we didn’t have much time to have our bags checked and go through security. Once Eric Williams and I got through security we headed straight to the gate and we were some of the last to board the plane.
On the plane ride, I sat in between some interesting characters. On my left was an interior designer, or at least that’s what I assumed from what he was wearing, who was looking at the floor plans of the Peabody hotel in Orlando. To the right was some creeper that had the worst smelling breath in the world who kept staring at me while I was reading the New York Times paper. It might have been because the paper was four days old and I was hogging the armrest.
When we arrived in Dallas the coaches left us so they could take the shuttle and get the vans. I am not sure what took that so long, but we waited for about 45 minutes or more for them to come back. I believe it took a little over an hour to get From Dallas to Rockwall but I was still half asleep from waking up so early so I don’t really know. When we got to Rockwall TX we went straight to the hotel to settle in and then everyone walked over to the closest Plaza to have lunch. After lunch I had Eric and Mikolaj cut my hair into a Mohawk as I do every year when I cut my hair. Around 4:30 or 5pm we left to check out the pool and have a swim out. The pool was located about 2 miles away from the hotel and took about 5 minutes to get there with the vans. It was an indoor 50-meter pool with a 4 lane 25-yard small pool. The lighting was not very bright, and even though they turned them on brighter during the meet, it still wasn’t great then. It was a good thing that I brought my super clear goggles since I had the same problem with the lights my sophomore year in Buffalo NY at Indian River. One really strange thing was when I went to get a drink of water from the water fountain the water tasted weird and dirty. I found out later that in Rockwall TX the water is pumped from the ground and passes a clay layer where the water picks up minerals, which cause the water to taste like crap. From then on I only drank bottled water because I didn’t want to take any chances with Texas’s dirty water. We had the pool to our self’s for about 20 minutes until Denver and Western Kentucky came in, so it was a bit crowded at the end of our swim out. After the swim out, some of the vans went to Target to get some food for the weekend. I got milk for my protein shakes, power bars and peanut butter and jelly stuff for my lunches for the weekend. For dinner about 8 of us went to a really nice Italian restaurant that was cheap and fast. I had a Caesar salad with garlic bread and chicken alfredo.
The next morning (Wednesday) we had a wake up swim around 9:30am which gave us plenty of time to sleep in and have a good breakfast. I don’t remember her name but the breakfast lady set us up perfectly. I mean the food was decent quality hotel food but the breakfast lady would go out of her way for you. After I was finished with my breakfast I took my plate to go look for the trash and she came flying around the corner saying that she would take that. I actually didn’t even know where the trash can was for the first two days because she took my plate almost every time. When we headed over to the pool I rode in coach Nikki’s van, which was loaded with most of the D-group. Knowing that I wouldn’t be on the 200 Medley relay I didn’t practice much of the strokes in the wake up swim. Once we got back I quickly ate my PB&J and then had Eric and Mikolaj shave my head. I originally was going to have Eric do it but Mikolaj came into the bathroom and took over which turned out to be good since Eric didn’t have the patients to shave my head. After Mikolaj was finished with my head, Eric wanted to stretch with me. This ended up being a start of a new tradition to stretch in-between sessions which I think was a great idea. Once that was done I went back to my room to shave my legs and then had enough time to take a quick 45 minute power nap. My secret in-between sessions are to only take a maximum 30 to 45 minute nap so I don’t get into a deep sleep.
That afternoon was the 200 medley and 800 free relays. The 200 medley contained Tyler, Alan, Eric, and Anthony. The 800 free relay was Jay, Csaba, Mikolaj and I. I lead off the 800 free relay and went a 1:37.7 which was 1.5 seconds off my best and a NCAA B cut! This didn’t exactly mean I was going to NCAAs but I had a chance. Usually, you need to be at least top 25 in the country to make it and I believe I ended up getting 125th which is still excellent. We ended up getting 3rd out of 3 in both relays but the cool part was we got to stand on the podium the next day. Also, the 800 free relay broke a 15 year school record and got the hammer award! For dinner, the coaches set up catering from a local Italian restaurant. They catered food every night of the meet except for the last night. I don’t remember what we had that night but I know it was good.
Thursday was the 500 free, 200 IM, 50 free and the 200 free relay. I did the 200 IM instead of the 500 Free since I was seated 3rd in the 200 IM. In the morning for the 200 IM my goggles fell down to my ears, but it didn’t cause too much of a problem because I went 1:50.85 which was about 1.3 faster than my best time. I felt like I still had some more left for the night but I didn’t hold back in the morning. The coaches told Mikolaj and me that if the guys in the 50 went 21 mid or faster we would need to do a time trial if we wanted to be on the 200 free relay. Well they ended up going around 21 mid to low and we both really didn’t want to do a time trial so they were put on the relay. In the afternoon I dropped 0.3 more to make 1:50.57 and got 4th overall. I really wanted to break 1:50 but I still can’t complain with a best time.
Fridays set up was the 400 IM, 100 Fly, 200 Free, 100 Breast, 100 Back and 400 medley relay. I was entered in the 400 IM and 200 Free but I chose the 200 free since I was seated first. Looking at the results in the 800 free relay two days before I knew that people would go fast in the morning so I made sure to put up a good morning swim. I went a 1:38.4 which was a little slower than my lead-off relay swim, but I was going into finals seated first. I was super excited to be seated first, but finals is a new race and anything could happen.
I did my normal routine by eating a PB&J for lunch, stretch with Eric and then take a quick power nap. I knew that it was going to be a special night since the 200 free would probably be my strongest event of the meet. My pace was feeling good and faster than the morning. I was ready with my warm-ups, beanie, gloves, and headphones heading over to the blocks. I was watching the girl’s race and noticed that the girl that was seated first looked about 10 yards behind everyone after the first 100. I knew that something wasn’t right, but I was up soon so I couldn’t worry about it. They stopped the meet right before the men’s consolations and it looked like they were changing the speaker under block 4, which was the block the girl was in. I didn’t think anything of it just that I needed to be focused on my race but it started to take a long time. After about 20 minutes they finally started the consolations. Once they finished we walked out as they announced our names. I stuck to my plan of taking it out fast like I normally do and see how I can hold on in the last 50. I went out in a 47.2, and was ahead of the whole field and held on in the third 50 but tightened up pretty bad on the last 50 and got out-touched by .09 from 1st to 3rd. I was about .2 sec off from what I went in the relay, but I was still happy with the time, I just wish it ended in my favor. I warmed down and tried not to think about the race and got ready to prepare for the 400 medley relay since I was anchored it. In the relay, I slipped on the block hardcore on my start and only went a 45.94. I made sure I ate a good dinner and tried to get to bed early. I was up a little later than I wanted to with the race going through my mind, but I was over it by the morning and was ready for the three more 100 Free’s left of the meet.
Saturday was the final day of my last college swim meet ever. The day’s line-up was the 1650, 200 Back, 100 Free, 200 Fly. Just like the past two days I was entered in two events, the 200 back and the 100 free. To me the 200 back was a very fast event to make into finals and I had been training freestyle more than backstroke so logically I chose the 100 free. It was a wise choice since the 200 back took 1:49 low to make top 8. In the morning I went a 45.61 which was my best time by 0.1. At first I thought that I didn’t make it back to finals, but later found out that I got 5th, so that was a relief. The plan for the night was to take it out faster than I did in the morning which was a 21.86. We got back to the hotel and I continued to do my normal routine of making the PB&J, stretching with Eric and finish off with my power nap.
For finals all I had left were two 100 Freestyles, 1 individual and 1 on the relay. Even though it was the last day I still didn’t feel super tired, which I think was a good sign for the evening to come. Before finals started all of the seniors from each team were announced with a brief bio about them and they walked around the pool. There were 7 guys and 3 girls that graduated as listed: Chris Cruts, Trevor Lowe, Rafael Pena, Tyler Griffith, David Rudolf, Michael Shimansky, Eric Jackwin, Janelle Nassim, Alicia Stevens, Nikki Morley. The parents got us goodie bags with random stuff (candy) and a mug, a flower and some balloons. Moving on to the meet, I wasn’t too nervous for my race. I just wanted to have fun and that’s what I did. I ended up getting 4th place and going 45.41 which was 0.2 off my best. Now all that was left to do was the 400 Free relay at the end of the meet. I asked the coaches if I could lead off because I really enjoy leading off. I lead off with a 45.63 .2 off my best but still, solid swim to finish off a great meet. The guys on the relay (Tyler, Mikolaj, and John Walsh) all went under 45 to fish off with a 2:59.74 which also broke a 15 year old school record. It couldn’t have gotten any better to finish off the meet with that race.
We all were so excited about the meet, but wanted to get some food so we went to the Saltgrass Steak House for dinner. I had a salad and rib eye steak with some French fries. Liz Starke went around making sure that everyone who earned a “desert time” from the meet got one, so I ended up getting a piece of cheesecake. This was probably my first real desert since Christmas and it was so yummy. After dinner, we headed back to the hotel and began the normal tradition of everyone speaking their words about the year. I would have to highlight Nikki Morley’s speech about handing over the responsibilities of taking care of Mikolaj to Eric Williams even though that makes no sense since both of them need people to look after them but it was hilarious. Another funny incident was when Alie Gonzalez was trying to speak but she kept playing with Trevor’s chair and he said “what are you doing with my chair?” People started to laugh but the kicker was when Mike Shimansky said “No Trevor, she is too old for you” (she was a freshman and he was a super senior for those of you who don’t know). I was laughing so hard that I was crying practically. Once that finished it was about 12 or 1 in the morning. I went back to my room to see that my parents texted me to come to their room. I went over and they had gotten me some beef jerky and a jalapeno cooker for the grill. That was pretty cool, because I love to make stuffed jalapenos with seasoned cream cheese wrapped with bacon. After that, a bunch of people went to the hotel Jacuzzi and pool to relax for a little while. It was nice to finally be over and have nothing to worry about for the rest of the weekend. I was planning to stay up all night with Chris but he didn’t feel like staying up this year, but I told him we still needed to do our door tradition. Last year we took all the door name tags and put them on the coaches’ door to be a joke for them to see it in the morning when they got up. This year Alan and Chris took all of the guys door tags since the girls were too big and they would not all fit on the door.
We got up pretty early in the morning since the flight was at 7 and the hotel was an hour away from the airport. The coaches just made it to pay for the checked luggage and had to literally run to the gate since they didn’t plan for the time it took to take the vans back to the rental car place. We boarded the plane with about 10 minutes to spare. I sat next to Eric Erton and across the aisle was Eric Williams. On the plane ride, I had my first soda (Ginger Ale) in months which was pretty good. One funny thing that happened on the plane was Eric W. took some gummies and put them in Jordan Richardson’s mouth when she was sleeping. She took it and threw it at him when she realized what he was doing. Being a tad bit sleep deprived I fell asleep a few times on the plane. Once we landed at Miami International I texted my girlfriend Nicola Mackenzie that I had arrived. On our way to the baggage area, I saw her standing there to surprise me! It was so exciting to see her since I hadn’t seen her in over a week. She got me a card that congratulated me for swimming well. I showed her some of my pictures and some videos on my camera as we waited for our bags. Every travel trip the team plays “The Bag Game”. The bag game is where everyone puts in a dollar and the person who’s bag comes out first wins all the money. I was sure that I was going to win since I was one of the last people to put my bags on. Well, I didn’t end up winning, actually, I lost big time since my bag never came out. Also, Emily Scraggs bag didn’t come out either, so coach Steve took us over to the baggage services to claim our lost bags. I had to give them all my information about what it looked like and the address to drop it off at. It was a good thing that I didn’t have anything important in it that I needed right away. My bag came that night and they dropped it off at my dorms around 10.
Overall the weekend was one of a kind. I swam amazingly for my last college meet getting all best times. I got to do what I love and hang out with all of my good friends. And to top it off my girlfriend surprised me at the end. I am sure that I will miss it and wish I had another year of eligibility, but life goes on. One thing that I have learned is to just stay positive and hard work and dedication will pay off in the end.
200 Free leadoff of 800 Free : 22.75 47.42 1:12.42 1:37.70
200 IM : 6 Adam Corbin SR FAU 1:50.85 q
24.54 27.80 32.56 25.95
200 IM : 4 Adam Corbin SR FAU 1:50.57 15
24.54 27.97 31.94 26.12
200 Free: 1 Adam Corbin SR FAU 1:38.47 q
22.83 24.59 25.47 25.58
200 Free: 3 Adam Corbin SR FAU 1:37.95 NC-B
22.76 24.45 25.06 25.68
100 Free on medley relay: 21.92 45.94
100 Free: 5 Adam Corbin SR FAU 45.61 q
100 Free: 4 Adam Corbin SR FAU 45.41 15
10.30 11.30 11.89 11.92
100 Free lead off on 400 Free relay: 21.90 45.63