2017 SCY National Championships

The Great Bay Masters trip to the 2017 USMS Spring Nationals was full of blood, sweat and tears... and that was just putting on the tech suits! Seven intrepid swimmers, plus the ever patient Malone Cloitre as Den Mother, made the 2500+ mile trip from the cool, damp environs of the New Hampshire seacoast to the scorching desert of Southern California: DJ Schultz, Aagje Caron, Rachel Neild, Christophe Cloitre, Todd Whitford, Chad Neild and our fearless leader Crystie McGrail.

We sent DJ out first as our advance scout, and he took advantage of the opportunity to scope out the area, including a quick dip in the competition pool to get a feel for the course. The rest of us came on an assortment of planes on Thursday the 26th. Once we all arrived, we went to the pool and grabbed a spot for our team canopy, swam some laps then headed to the house. After getting settled in, we went out for a team dinner followed by a group trip to the grocery store to buy supplies. Returning to the house, we all retired early for a well-deserved rest before our first day of competition.

Friday dawned bright and hot, and with lunches, snacks and gallons of water (and sunscreen) packed, we trekked to the Riverside Aquatics Center for our first day of racing. It was quite the scene, with far more people than we usually see around a pool, shared tech suit struggles with strangers, and the pleasure of watching Olympic Gold Medalist Ryan Lochte swim the 100 breast and put on a clinic in the 200 IM. Chad even managed to snag a sweet picture with him!

DJ was the first GBM swimmer to race, and he started us off by dropping almost 3 seconds from his 100 breaststroke time and making the Nationals Qualifying Time! (Note: Swimmers are allowed to compete at Nationals in up to 3 individual events without making the qualifying times). Our other swimmers also had a great day:

   · Aagje snagged 3rd & 2nd place in her 100 breast and 100 free along with 2 new GBM records
   · DJ dropped 2 seconds (and grabbed another NQT!) in his 100 free
   · Crystie crushed her times in the 200 back and IM, nabbing 5th and 4th place and 2 new GBM records
   · Todd clocked in with a PR in his 50 fly
   · Rachel knocked 4.5 seconds off of her 100 breast and got a new GBM record too!
   · Chad, having recently become an official member of GBM, put in a strong performance in the 200 IM, setting a new GBM record in the process!
   · Christophe put in the final individual swim of the day with an impressive swim in the 100 free, rocking his flip turns despite suffering from vertigo for the past few months.
   · The Mixed Freelay of Rachel, Crystie, Christophe and DJ capped off the day, put a hurt on the competition, and Crystie beat her own GBM record in the lead off position.

Saturday morning saw Aagje brave the chilly, windy weather to claim 2nd place in the 500 free, with the always awesome Crystie providing the counting. While Christophe and Malone set off for the botanical gardens, the rest of us procured ice, snacks and all of the coconut water from Wal-Mart before heading to the pool for the festivities. Along with Ryan Lochte (and 20 other former Olympians), Nathan Adrian attended and became one of the day's main attractions.

GBM swimmers had another great day in the water:

   · Aagje complemented her 500 free with 3rd place finishes in the 100 fly and 200 breast, both new GBM records, and even found time for a welcomed visit with her family
   · Chad powered through his 100 fly and had a great swim in the 100 IM
   · Crystie showed her sprinting prowess by securing 6th place in the 50 back and 8th in the 100 IM, and posting PRs and a new GBM record for the IM
   · Rachel dropped almost 4 seconds combined in her 100 IM and 200 breast
   · Todd snuck into 9th place in the 50 back, and put up another PR in the 100 IM
   · The boys 200 Medley started off the day's relays, with the with Todd leading off, DJ putting in a very nice breaststroke swim, Christophe taking one for the team with the fly leg and Chad closing it out
   · Finishing the day off, Christophe had a fantastic lead off leg in the 200 Freelay, setting up DJ, Chad and Todd for an impressive time of 1:41.43!

The final day of competition was a scorcher, with little to no wind to cool us down. Our plucky band of swimmers made the final drive to the pool to watch and swim the day's events. Among the author's favorite swims of the weekend to watch was the absolutely gorgeous 200 fly presented by 22 year-old Mickey Mowry of Rose Bowl Masters, touching the wall in a smoking 1:49.63!

GBM had some gorgeous swims of their own. Aagje once again started us off with an impressive 400 IM, placing 2nd. Crystie also had a great IM swim, slashing 10 seconds off of her time, placing 7th. Each swim was a new GBM record. The rest of the day lived up to the great start:

   · DJ, swimming with a hurting shoulder, put in PRs on both the 50 and 200 free
   · Rachel proved how tough she is by swimming her 5th 200 fly ever, knocking almost 3 seconds off of her time and squeaking into the top 10!
   · Christophe nailed his final event, the 50 free and with Malone's help, filled out the cheering section before heading out to explore the Southwest
   · Crystie completed her weekend with another stellar swim, knocking a second off her 5th place, GBM record breaking 100 back
   · Todd had a PR in the 50 free, and in the last individual swim of the weekend, secured 9th place, a PR and a new GBM record in the 50 breast
   · The final GBM relay of the weekend, the Mixed 200 Medley, saw Crystie leading off with a super-fast backstroke (yet another GBM record! Go Crystie!), Rachel giving it her all on the breast leg, Chad keeping us in the race on the fly and Todd finishing strong with the free, beating the Men's time by over 2 seconds

After a long weekend of sun, fun and swimming, the remaining 6 GBM members had a nice, relaxing evening with some well-deserved drinks, food, pool games and conversation. Monday morning, after bidding farewell to Aagje and DJ, our final 4 troopers embarked on a sight-seeing road trip. After passing through Joshua Tree National Park, Pioneertown, by Big Bear Lake, and eating a tasty dinner, we boarded our plane to begin the trip home.

All in all, it was an amazing trip. Apart from the fast swimming, warm weather, outrageous stories, beautiful scenery, good food and great accommodations, it was the people, the laughter and the team building that really made this an unforgettable weekend. Huge thanks to everyone who braved the heat, the airlines and the crowds to make this a wonderful weekend for everyone involved. Indianapolis, here we come!

For all of you out there thinking about going to Nationals, or to any swim meet with this incredible team, take my advice and do it. You will not regret it!

Complete meet results available here

     RECORDS SET AT MEET: 170430-USMS-Nats; Course = SCY

     EVENT         NAME                   TIME     AGE     GROUP
     100 Back      Crystie McGrail      1:05.62     32     30-34
     200 Back      Crystie McGrail      2:23.11     32     30-34
     100 IM        Crystie McGrail      1:06.49     32     30-34
     200 IM        Crystie McGrail      2:25.70     32     30-34
     400 IM        Crystie McGrail      5:15.38     32     30-34
     100 Breast    Rachel Neild         1:20.51     36     35-39
     100 Free      Aagje Caron          1:30.09     75     75-79
     100 Breast    Aagje Caron          1:53.89     75     75-79 **
     200 Breast    Aagje Caron          4:12.27     75     75-79 **
     100 Fly       Aagje Caron          2:00.91     75     75-79
     400 IM        Aagje Caron          8:04.16     75     75-79 **
     200 IM        Chad Neild           2:27.76     20     18-24
     50 Breast     Matthew Whitford       28.90     41     40-44

 ** also NELMSC record

Number of records set at this meet: 13

      RECORDS SET AT MEET: 170430-USMS-Nat; Course = SCY

Men      200 Free      18-24      1:41.43      2017
Christophe Cloitre, 42    Chad Neild, 20
Richard Schultz, 50    Matthew Whitford, 41

Number of records set at this meet: 1 

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