The Other Daughter

A blog by Lara Jackson’s sister

Archive for the ‘Swimming technicalities’ Category

Swim Season – never ends

Posted by Carly Rose Jackson on March 12, 2009

Aside: an article about Lara.  The writer focussed on Lara’s unique pasttime: horseback riding.  Lara & Calypso.jpgNotice the inaccuracy?  I just want to say for the record: a) I have never belonged to a swim team and b) I would never join any sort of team for a cute boy, because I am a liberated woman.

Okay, back to the blog:

I mentioned in an earlier post that once the swimming phenom invaded the Jackson family, we never went camping again.  It’s true.  Also, any vacations to visit family had to be scheduled around swim season.

Since this is a blog about swimming, I’ll explain a little about swim seasons.

From September to March, U.S. college and high school swimmers compete in short course pools.  Below is a picture of the pool where Lara just competed in the Pacific 10 Conference.

The divider in the middle allows for short-course competition on one side and warm-up lanes on the other side of the pool.  During the long-course season, the divider is removed.  The two strings of flags are for backstrokers.  When they see the flags, they know to turn over, because they’ve reached the end of the pool.

pac 10 Seattle 2009 pool length.jpg

Lara holds the American Record in the 50-yard freestyle.  Since only crazy Americans swim in 25-yard pools, technically she’s the world record holder, according to my dad.

The rest of the world swims a short course season in a 25-meter length pool.

If you have watched Olympic swimming, you may have noticed the races in 50-meter length pools.  This is called long-course.  The long-course season runs from April to August, and is usually run by USA Swimming

These seasons are basically the same from age 6 to age 42.  When Lara was in high school, she swam the short-course season with her high school team, though she still trained with her USA Swimming team.  That’s right, Lara trained on two swim teams; but so did every other swimmer.

During summer vacation, Lara trained with her USA Swimming “club” team, the Barracudas.  Now that she is in college, she stays in Tucson over the summer to train with the Ford Aquatic Team.  With Christmas training and summer training, I never get to see her.

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Pac-10 and The Swim Meet Schedule

Posted by Carly Rose Jackson on March 12, 2009

NCAA 2008 Champ.jpgI have only been to one of my sister’s college meets, but it was the big one: NCAA 2008.

To the left: Lara accepted her 1st place medal for the 50 free at NCAA 2008.  She’s making a “WC” with her hand, for Wildcats.

My parents, as I have mentioned before, are experienced swimmeet cheerleaders.  By 2008 Lara was a junior and Mom and Dad had the schedule down pat.

This week, Lara and her teammates are swimming in the Pac-10 Conference in Seattle.  When you click on this (fourth photo in), you can see a picture of the 200 medley relay team, Hailey DeGolia, Annie Chandler, Lara Jackson and Lindsey Kelly.  Click here for UofA Pac-10 coverage.

If you’re very excited about Lara swimming, or if you don’t have anything else to do, you can watch live streaming of Lara’s best event, the 50 freestyle.  Just go to this website, and a screen will appear during the meet at the bottom right-hand corner.  Lara’s 50-free will begin at approximately 10 p.m. EST on Thursday, February 26.

Here’s what my parents’  Thursday will look like:

Early in the a.m., Mom will gather with other swim parents to assemble gift bags for all the doing goodie bags.jpggirls.  Parents collect little things like headbands, worry stones, removable tatoos, other goodies.  Anything in school colors is highly valuable.The parents leave the gift bags outside the girls’ hotel rooms.  This is a picture of me and the swim moms.

Mom and Dad will go to preliminaries and sit through many many heats.

From this glossary I found on the USA Swimming site:




After preliminaries, Mom and Dad will go out to lunch.  Sometimes Lara goes too, but she won’t on Thursday.  So my parents will get food and bring it to her at the hotel.  During a meet, the swimmer’s needs come first.  I didn’t realize this when I went to NCAAs.  I didn’t realize that I would have no access to any food until Lara had everything she needed.  This year, I’m bringing a stash of Kashi bars.

Afternoon is rest time.

 In the evening, all the parents wait for the swimmers to come down to go warm up before finals. Parents cheering.jpg

 To the right is a picture of U of A parents cheering, waiting for that first swimmer to step off the elevator.

 The parents sing the Arizona fight song, wave pom-poms and generally try to embarrass their daughters.

 Finals will begin at 6 p.m. in Seattle, on Thursday.  They may continue until after 9 p.m.  Then my parents will congratulate Lara and the other swimmers and parents, collect Lara’s first place trophy, and only then can anyone who’s not a swimmer get dinner.

I’m bringing lots of Kashi bars.

– the division of an event in which there are too many swimmers to compete at one time. For example, an event with thirty swimmers in a six-lane pool would require five heats.In other words: there are eight lanes in a pool.  An event is the stroke and length (e.g. 50 meter freestyle).  A heat is a round of eight swimmers within an event.  The fastest 16 swimmers will swim in finals that evening.


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The Great Black Suit Debate

Posted by Carly Rose Jackson on March 11, 2009

LZR design.jpg

In the past year, Speedo introduced the LZR Racer suit, a full-body, technologically constructed super swim suit. (pictured left)

Speedo has one of my favorite websites, because you just feel cooler after you look at it.

 There now, don’t you feel cooler? 

This past week, the Federation Internationale de Natation (FINA) met with suit manufacturers to clarify the restrictions on competition suits.  You can read all the intricate details here

Speedo is not the only manufacturer of full-body, high-tech suits.  Lara wore a Blue Seventy at Olympic Trials, and a TYR— oops, no I meant this TYR — at the international meet in Japan.

The team suits at 2008 NCAAs were Nike.  Below, Annie Chandler, Hailey DeGolia, and Lara celebrate their 200 medley relay victory.  Notice the Nike. 

NCAA 2008 celebration.jpg How we know there’s a suit issue:

Over 100 world records were broken in the past year, and most of the record breakers were wearing one of these high-tech suits.

Studies determined that the suits help stocky swimmers more than tall swimmers.

At over 500 dollars, the suits are not accessible to every swimmer.  Lara said her team and coaches had to jump through hoops to get suits for all the swimmers who qualified for Olympic Trials.

In Lara’s words, “The suit thing turned out to be kind of a mess.”  She said the records have been broken, so what would happen to the records if the suits are declared to be “technological doping”?

She said, “How do you undo letting go floodgates?”

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