Sunday, May 10, 2015

Looking Back on the Year

There are officially nineteen days of school left, and I am super excited for summer! Now, my summer might sound boring to you, because all it involves is swimming, eating, and sleeping, but I am super pumped. Unfortunately, the end of the school year also comes along with the end of this blog. Blogging has been such a great experience, especially since I get to share all my stories with y’all. For my final post, I’m gonna share with you guys on how I have changed this year.

First, I have become more social around adults. As part of the leadership class that I am in, I am on a student board for our local performing arts center, the Park City Institute. I volunteered at shows throughout their season, and helped out by selling memberships. This opportunity has helped me feel more comfortable interacting with adults, and I am no longer afraid to go up to the lady at Ikea for my fav froyo like I used to be!

Now, high school has been a whirlwind, but I have learned how to manage my stress better. Next week, I have an AP test, and yesterday I spent like two hours watching T.V., so I guess I am kinda becoming a regular teenager as far as procrastination is concerned. Over spring break, I just chilled and did no homework, which ended up being pretty great. This year, I took more of an applicable approach towards studying, instead of just memorizing the facts, and it really paid off!

My blog, Splashin’ Fashion, has helped me become more self-aware. By reflecting on all of the key aspects to swimming, I have realized my strengths and weaknesses. There is definitely a difference between just doing a set in practice, and actually being conscious of your actions. This year was my first year of high school athletics, and I learned a variety of life lessons, from the importance of integrity to the value of close friendships.
My friend Elise and I
My first blog post, My Summer of Swimming, was horrible, awkward, and took me forever to write. In my more recent posts, like Heatless Hairstyles, I have really found my voice. As time has progressed, I have felt more comfortable writing posts. Hopefully, you have found my writing to be somewhat humorous and entertaining. 

Some parts of me haven’t changed though. I still am obsessed with swimming, hair, good grades, fruit snacks, potato chips, and cheez-its. The other day, I was really proud of myself because I thought that I had gone a month without eating potato chips, only to find out that my mom considers Pringles to be potato chips. This summer, I am gonna try to eat healthier, but I am not so sure how its going to go. I am also psyched because I now am taller than my mom, which is rather beast considering I had not grown in about three years.

Through twenty two blog posts, I hope that you have learned a little bit more about me. Thank you to my followers and everyone who has read this blog, as well an anyone who has contributed to my blog (You guys are da bomb.com). I know you guys are gonna miss me, but as Mrs. Alp would say, you don't have to go cry and fart around on the field. This is it…so adios!

XOXO

Siena

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

All 'Bout Those Braids

What’s up? Today, I have decided to share with y’all anything and everything about braiding! I started my braiding fad when I was about eight years old, after I received my first American Girl Doll, Nicki, and I always wanted her hair to be flawless. Ahhh…those were the good ole days. Since then, I pretty much have served as a hair stylist for my mom and my sis. After watching Youtube videos for hours on end, I have become a pretty decent braider if I must say so myself. Therefore, without further ado, let’s get started!

The Basic Braid

It might just be a simple three strand braid, but you’d be amazed on how versatile it is. Recently, messy looks have been in, so braids nowadays are much looser. If you want to take this style up a notch, try letting a few strands of hair frame your face and then give them a slight curl by using a curling wand!

The French Braid

My grandma, who kinda lives in a tree house, is especially pro at french braiding, so it is definitely a classic. Her french braids always turn out perfect, although it takes her forever as she takes itty bitty pieces of hair. There are many versions of a french braid, but some of my favs include a full head, side, as well as a french braid leading into a high pony.

The Waterfall Braid

This hairdo is definitely the most elegant of the braid family, and it is perfect for those fancy occasions like Prom and Homecoming, which unfortunately I don’t get to go to yet because I’m still a freshie. If you find that this stitching pattern is too difficult for you, check out this faux easier version here. I have tried this a couple of times, and it literally takes a few minutes to do, which is perfect for all of those early mornings where you are in a hurry to get to school.

The Dutch Braid

This braid is very similar to the french braid, but instead of pulling hair sections over into the braid, you pull them under. By doing so, I think it gives a much more sophisticated and mature look. The key to taking this braid to the next level involves “pancaking the edges”, which adds more volume and texture. 

The Fishtail Braid

Instead of using three strands of hair, you use two for this look. Fishtails have become very popular and are being modeled by celebrities at red carpet events. One of the aspects that I love about fishtails is that they are unique and can be worn pretty much anywhere. If you are looking for a legit fishtail tutorial, click here!

The Zipper Braid

I started learning how to do the zipper braid about a month ago, but I still haven’t mastered it. For some reason, my brain and hands don't cooperate and I always get lost. The zipper braid has a intricate and difficult stitching pattern, but once it is finished you look on fleek. Hopefully I will be able to perfect my zipper braid craft soon!

The Zipper Braid
Photo Courtesy: Cute Girls Hairstyles
Thank you guys for reading! My blogging experience is coming to an end *single tear*, but stay tuned for my grand finale! I’ll see ya later…:)

XOXO

Siena

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Faster is in the Future

Hey y’all! This past weekend, I watched the Arena Pro Swim Series at Mesa on TV, and I not only was blown away by the fast times, but also the suits. Specifically, I saw many swimmers wearing a new kneeskin from Speedo. So being that total nerd, I had to find out all ‘bout it. Turns out, it is *cue drumroll* … the Speedo LZR Racer X, and it is a piece of perfection. Coincidentally, on Thursday at practice, the sports marketing gal from Speedo showed up with a bunch of these suits for my team to try on and test in the chlorine!

My team looking beast in the Speedo LZR Racer X.
The Speedo LZR Racer X uses the newest technology for optimum performance. It all starts with the fabric, that stretches vertically but not horizontally for a swimmer to have full range of motion while providing compression and muscle efficiency. Also, the fabric is lightweight and long-lasting, so it will maintain water repellency throughout longer meets. Near the core, there are “ab activators” that help a swimmer have a neutral body line in the water. The entire suit is bonded together with support seams - that are in a metallic blue color and glisten in the sunlight - that inside contain the words Feel the Water. Feel the Speed. Feel Fast. Finally, the suit utilizes laser cut precision straps that are extremely comfortable. These straps are an improvement from the Speedo LZR Racer Elite 2 because they are in a v-shape, which relieve pressure from the shoulders.

When we got to actually put the kneeskins on, I tried on a closed back. The closed back suits are much harder to get into because you do not have the open circle to use to shimmy it on. But, after breaking a sweat and bruising every internal organ and reaching the point where you think the kneeskin will never go on (because it is literally two sizes to small), there is a magical moment where you pull over the final strap and are done! :)

It was finally time to hop into the pool, and immediately once I got into the water I could feel the difference. As I accelerated into every turn, my legs had a faster turn-over rate. Also, even after I was tired, the suit helped me stay buoyant and keep my hips up on backstroke. In fact, this suit is so good, that one my teammates claimed that it felt like they were cheating!

The Speedo LZR Racer X is a kneeskin like no other, and I guarantee that if you purchase it, you won’t be disappointed. I personally have only worn Arena and Blue Seventy, but I really, really, really, really, really, really wanna get this as my next one for long course season. This suit will have the whole world swimming faster within no time, and I can’t wait to see what is coming next from Speedo!

Thanks y’all for reading today! Be sure to comment below on your favorite kneeskin and stay tuned for more posts coming soon! 

XOXO

Siena

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Back to the Basics

Hey y’all! Sorry I haven’t posted in a while, but after Age Group State, it was definitely a time for a break from both swimming and school! For this year’s break, I went to the beautiful island of Maui with my family! As I might have mentioned earlier, this summer I am heading to the Western Zone Age Group Championships (again!), which will be held in Kihei, Maui. While on vacation, I decided to stop by after scuba diving and check the pool out! It was pretty nice, except it had a ghetto scoreboard, but I’m pretty sure nothing can be too bad in Hawaii!

The Zones Pool

It’s finally time to start training for my fav time of year…long course season! The meets are held outside and there are less walls, which is definitely a bonus for me and my sucky turns. The first couple of weeks back in the chlorine are the most important, and they set the tone for pretty much everything in the future.

It’s always good to ease back into your routine, but that is not how we started off this time - unless you call sprinting for thirty minutes in dryland before you even get into the water easy breezy lemon squeezie. I have to admit, it is tempting to start off with a bang, especially by sprinting warm-up, but then the end of practice comes around and you literally are gasping for air.

Before a break, you are in your tip-top shape, just coming off of taper and big meets where you are getting best times. After a break, it is like swimming is an entirely new sport that you have never done. Therefore, it is important to watch your technique. Drilling is one of my favorite ways to practice technique and focus on all the “little things”. If you want to change your stroke, now is the time, as you can enforce these habits all season long. 

Now, during breaks you are supposed to remain somewhat active, and not be a couch potato. Well, I am not the example for this whatsoever. I slowly (key word: slowly) walked to the beach and attempted to tan, averaged twelve hours of sleep a night, and went out to eat every night while engulfing in bread and all sorts of desserts, such as hula pie! :)

Getting back in shape is really tough, but the harder you work, the quicker you’ll be there. On my team, we have been emphasizing leg driven strokes and underwaters. Because of these tough sets, I am super duper sore and walking up the stairs is a struggle. But in the end, it is all worth it, because hard work does pay off!

That is all that I have for y’all today. Be sure to comment down below on your experience with new seasons - I would love to hear ‘bout it! If you want to stay up-to-date with all my posts, please follow! Thanks for reading and I will see ya next time!

XOXO

Siena

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Adventures at Age Group State

As most of y’all already know, now that high school swimming is over, I train with club. Club practices are so much better than high school practices because we do a lot more distance and it is intense. This past weekend, I attended the 2015 Utah Short Course Age Group Championships. This meet has three age categories: 10 and under, 11-12, and 13-14. I’m one of the youngest in my grade, and it definitely has its drawbacks. It is never fun to be the last one to get your permit or license! But, I do get to graduate at the age of 17 and swim both age group and high school concurrently!

This year, the meet was held in Bountiful, Utah. If you ask me, Bountiful ain’t an interesting place, but has some pretty good places to eat. Because during swim meets, literally all I care about is food. I ate at Five Guys, In-N-Out, Paradise Bakery and Cafe, Texas Roadhouse, and Mikado. All of the aren’t the best nutritional choices, but nutrition is not, and will never be my forte. My challenge was trying to limit my fruit snack intake, but I averaged about six packages a session. Whoops!

The pool,  even though it isn't this pretty after sweaty swimmers!
Photo Courtesy of: Myrtha Pool
The swim meet began on Wednesday and ended on Saturday. I gotta skip school, so that was legit, except all the makeup work was boring. On Wednesday, I swam the 1650 freestyle (or the mile). Last year, I went nineteen minutes exactly in both my mile at short course and long course state. But this year I went seventeen minutes and fifty seven seconds! And I swear if I would have seen eighteen minutes exactly on the scoreboard, I would have questioned the meaning of life.

On Thursday, I swam the two hundred freestyle and four hundred individual medley in both prelims and finals, along with the two hundred freestyle relay. During a prelims and finals meet, you are supposed to swim fast in the morning and even faster at night. Unfortunately, some people completely ignore this idea, and decide to bag their races in the morning. This annoys me so much, put hey, I gotta go my own way! (Please take into consideration my extreme effort to give appreciation to High School Musical).

On Friday, I swam the one hundred backstroke, one hundred freestyle, five hundred freestyle, and two hundred medley relay. Friday was a rough day (mainly night) for me, but I had to move on quickly to prepare for Saturday! On Saturday, I swam the two hundred backstroke, one thousand freestyle, and four hundred freestyle relay. I did really well in these events, which was nice since I didn’t have the best races the day before.
Elise, Me, and Rachel.
There is something about the vibe that you get at age group meets. Maybe it is because there are really cute little kids, or that everyone knows each other because we have been racing for years! This meet was filled with inside jokes, competition, and the struggles shared among girls while getting into kneeskins. I can’t wait to see what Long Course Age Group will bring!

Thank you for reading this post! Be sure to comment below on your favorite event or stroke, and I’ll see y’all soon!

XOXO

Siena

Monday, March 23, 2015

Heatless Hairstyles

On my last post, my friend Alyssa asked, “What are your favorite no-heat hairstyles?” Today, I will tell you anything and everything ‘bout these hairdos. Being a swimmer, my hair is already really damaged from the chlorine, so I don’t wanna make it any worse. Also, I am pretty sure my hair is the thinnest in the entire world because my Papa decided to pass on his horrible genes. So, without further ado, lets get started! 

Warning: I usually look horrible when I wake up in the morning. But as far as bad hair days are concerned, ain’t nobody got time for that *insert sassy emoji here*! 

Literally me in the morning.
Photo Courtesy of: Travels of Yogi
Since sleep is bae, I like to get most of morning stuff done before hand and not procrastinate, like I do with my homework. My first no-heat hairstyle is sock bun curls. With slightly damp hair, take your sock bun and roll it up through your ponytail. After a night of flawless sleep, remove the sock bun and separate the curls with your fingers for a messier appearance. I have tried this look numerous times, and it doesn’t fail to please!

This next no-heat hairstyle is definitely my fav, mainly because it gives me a beachy vibe. All hope is needed, as PC has the longest winters. First, simply section off your wet hair and do two side french braids. In the morning, remove the braids and be prepared to be amazed. If you want to add a little volume and take your waves to the next level, spritz in a little bit of sea salt spray

Now, if you want to take a more traditional approach, you can use foam rollers. While your hair is moist, start dividing it. I prefer about one inch sections, but you can use different sizes to suit your needs. Foam rollers can be uncomfortable to sleep in, but they are totally worth it. I remember when I was little, for halloween I dressed up as a spa girl. I was such a dork back then!

Sometimes, the ends of your hair still will stay straight when you try these hairstyles. If so, you can touch it up a little with a curling wand or crimper. If your curls do not turn out how you like it, you can try a half up and half down or the perfect pony. Because these styles use damp hair, they tend to last all day. But, just in case, you can take a bit of hairspray for an extra hold.

As most of y’all know, I am absolutely obsessed with watching tutorials on how to do hair and makeup via Youtube. I mentioned this before, but Cute Girls Hairstyles is pretty much life. They have a lot of videos on clever no-heat hairstyles, and you can check them out on their channel here!


Paper Towel Curls
Photo Courtesy of: Cute Girls Hairstyles
That is all that I have for you fellas today. Please comment down below on if you have tried any of these no-heat hairstyles, or if you have any ideas for future blog posts. Your input is greatly appreciated! If want to stay up to date with my blog, follow me via email in the sidebar! Thanks :)

XOXO

Siena

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Conquering The Mental Battle

Every mind is complex. In swimming, the tough and the weak are defined through a series of brain games. When your body and your mind send you mixed signals, it can be difficult to know what is right. Swimming is a sport where hundredths of a second determine a winner and a loser. Swimming is a sport where waking up before dawn is the summer norm. But most importantly, swimming is a sport where dedication is a necessity.
One of my fav quotes
Photo Courtesy of: HD Wallpapers
On my team, we become mentally tough through our language. We are not allowed to say the word can’t, which is also known as the c-word. If we do say it, then we must do twenty five pushups and twenty five lunges. And boy, after dryland and a long practice, every pushup and lunge burns more than the last.

Right now, we are on taper for the age group state meet. Along with any taper comes the good ol’ pace set. By the end of pace, you are out of breath and all that lactic acid is building up in your muscles. Basically, your body feels horrible with a “capital h”. Yet, you know that if you give up, you won’t achieve your desired results. And later, you will know that you will regret it. In those last couple of one hundreds, you need to believe that you can. It all comes down to your attitude.

There are highs and lows in every sport, but the mid-season of swimming is notorious for being an ultimate. In the beginning, your body is fueled and you are excited to get back training. But after a couple of months, without any major meets, most people say practice is just a drag. How do you fix this problem? Think about the future. The final hoorah meet will come, and all of that hard work that you put in mid-season will pay off. 

Guess what, life isn’t perfect. Once in a while, you will have a disappointing swim. I can personally vouch for this, as basically every time I swim the two hundred butterfly, I drown the last fifty. But, you have to put those races in the past and learn from those mistakes.

Doesn’t everyone just love nerves? To a certain extent, pressure can be beneficial because it helps get the adrenaline running. I still remember how stressed I was for my first race at Zones. It was my first travel meet without my parents, and I didn’t trust my training. It was definitely reassuring knowing that my team was there cheering me on, but I still didn’t know how to focus. Sometimes all it takes is a couple deep breaths and a I can do it. And guess what, I ended that race with a personal best.

I am honestly not the most competitive person around, but it is important to focus on your race and not your competition. The only person that you are in control of is yourself, so you gotta make the most of it. Finally, the most important part is to have fun. You will never have dedication in the first place if you don’t enjoy what you are doing.

Preparing to warmup.
I hope you guys enjoyed these inspirational (and deep) words from me. As Ms. Alp (my Spanish teacher) would say, “It is okay to cry and go fart around in the field!” I recently gave a Ted Talk about how your attitude directly affects your performance in my leadership class, and it was the inspiration for this post. Be sure to comment below on how you stay calm before diving in, and I will see y’all soon!

XOXO

Siena

Thursday, March 12, 2015

All Those Famous People

As a child, everyone’s dream is to go to the Olympics and win a gold medal, or to become famous and known for excelling at a particular task. Unfortunately, as we look at those goals realistically, the chances are very slim, most likely non-existent. When I was younger, I aspired to become a professional swimmer, but later realized the possibilities and after having my hopes and dreams crushed, decided to plan a more practical future. In today’s blog post, I will be talking about the few that actually did it, the Olympians.

Michael Phelps

Even if you don’t know anything about swimming, you probably have heard about this guy before. Known for his eight gold medals in the 2008 Beijing Games, Phelps now holds the record for the most first place finishes in the Olympics. Phelps is the G.O.A.T, or the greatest of all time, not the animal. His diet might suggest that he is though, which is over twelve thousand calories. Due to his rigorous training schedule, he can pretty much eat whatever he wants. After a very short retirement, Phelps is back in the pool, and I guess we will just have to watch what happens leading up to Rio. 


Video From: Youtube
                                                        

Katie Ledecky

At a young age of 15, Katie Ledecky won her first international meet in the eight-hundred freestyle at the London Olympics. No biggie. Today, Ledecky holds three world records and is about to graduate high school. What’s next on her agenda? Katie has verbally committed to swim in college, Stanford specifically. One of the kids on my team, Jinwon, has a crazy fast sister named Schuyler. Schuyler swam the breaststroke leg on a national age group four hundred medley relay with Katie Ledecky. Schuyler and Katie both train together at Nation’s Capital.

Missy Franklin

This gal is a speed demon, which is where she received her nickname as “Missy the Missile”. Not to mention that Missy Franklin is also one of my biggest role models. She is so humble, positive, and just overall a great person. Despite her intense practices, Missy still finds time to give back to the community. The Missile is currently swimming for the California Bears, but most likely will turn pro after this year’s NCAAs. 

Rebecca Soni

I have met Rebecca, along with her teammate Ariana Kukors at my pool not once, but twice! For a little background information, Rebecca is the fastest two hundred breaststroker around. After retirement, she started a business with Ariana called Atlas Ventures. They focus on “crashing practices” to share their stories and also host several training camps. When Rebecca came to the pool, she emphasized nutrition, which y’all know I am not very good at. 

Ryan Lochte

It might seem hard to believe, but there is more to Ryan Lochte than just his body (mainly his abs). Lochte is one of those swimmers who can swim pretty much anything, which is why his best event is the two hundred and four hundred individual medley. He can also squeeze in a two hundred backstroke here and there. In his career, Lochte has won several events, attended the Olympics, and currently is training for upcoming meets.
His body leaves me speechless.
Photo Courtesy of: EOnline
Thank you for reading! Lots of Olympians are my role models, but I didn’t cover every famous swimmer there is around. Therefore, be sure to comment below on your favorite swimmer. Check back soon please!

XOXO

Siena

Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Answer to Accessories

You can take any outfit to the next level by using accessories. Whether it is a simple ring or an elaborate purse, there can sometimes be too little or too much going on with a look, so it often becomes hard to find a balance. In this blog post, I will be giving you some of my favorite accessories, so let’s get started!

Rings, Bracelets and Earrings

As some people might say, it is all about the bling! Jewelry is the perfect way to add a bit of sparkle to your style. The BP line from Nordstrom offers some of my favorite pieces, especially these basic midi rings and this crystal wrap bracelet. As far as earrings are concerned, I blame chlorine for not being able to pierce my ears, as supposedly they can get infected really easily. :( Maybe someday I will become a rule-breaker rebel. 

Belts

Besides holding up your pants, a belt has many other uses. If you want to spiff up a plain dress, you can easily add a belt as an accent. H&M carries some of my favorite belts that are perfect for any occasion. Plus, they are all super affordable too!

Headbands and Bows

You can spice up any hairstyle with a headband or a bow. Recently, it has been cold, but there is no snow. I am currently adoring head wraps because they are stylish and keep my ears warm. Looking back at my childhood, I always wore a side bow. Therefore, I am a big believer in that there is no such thing as having too many bows! Remember, if you can’t find a bow, a piece of ribbon will always do.

Watches

Watches are handy dandy if you want to know how many minutes are left in your least favorite class. Being from a Swiss-German background, I am a swatch lover. Swatch offers innovative and trendy watches that are suitable for all sorts of needs and personalities. Be sure to check out their Swatch and Art collection.

My Current Swatch
Photo Courtesy of: Sasy


Wallets and Handbags

Wallets and handbags are the place to store your moolah or any of your other trinkets. There are the designer wallets like Michael Kors, Kate Spade, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, but for those of you who do not want to use your entire paycheck, I recommend purchasing a knock off. TJ Maxx carries brand name products, but at a much, much, much lower price.

Hats and Scarves

My dress code at school used to be really strict, but now it has been amended so we can wear hats! My next wish list item is a beanie from Zumiez. Also, one of the latest crazes here in PC is infinity scarves, but honesty I never wear scarves because I find them annoying and itchy.

Thank you guys so much for reading this post! Please comment below on your favorite accessory, and I would appreciate any feedback or ideas that you have for future posts. Finally, I just added a gadget where you can follow me via email, so check that thingie out! 

XOXO


Siena

Friday, February 27, 2015

Developing a “Habit” at Senior State

Over our winter break, which wasn’t really a winter break at all since there was no snow *insert crying emoji here*, my team and I travelled to St. George for the 2015 Utah Senior Championships. This meet is a prelims and finals meet, and since it takes place at a lower altitude, your times are often faster due to the difference in atmospheric pressure. This year, not only did I swim well, but I also indulged in amazing junk food.

The car ride down was over four hours, but I made sure to keep myself busy by snacking on Mott’s Medley fruit snacks. Out of all the pouches that I devoured, only two contained my favorite carrot ones, which was very depressing. On Thursday night, I swam the mile for the first time this season and ended up dropping fifty three seconds. During all eighteen minutes and seven seconds of swimming back and forth, I was only thinking about a four letter word, food. For dinner, I went to this burger joint called The Habit, and ordered a double charburger with no tomato and a side of french fries. This meal totaled just a small 1080 calories. Little did I know that I would eat at The Habit four times within the next forty eight hours, which is quite a feat if you ask me.

Then came Friday morning, where I swam the 200 freestyle and 400 individual medley. After prelims, can you guess where I went to lunch? The Habit. Except, this time I ordered a chicken caesar salad with french fries. Nearby The Habit, there is a smoothie bar called The Orange Peel. They make dairy free smoothies and bubble tea. I always order the Orange Cream Dream (OCD), which is super funny because it toats matches my personality.

Can you tell that I really like these smoothies?
After finals on Friday night, I went to dinner at a new place, just kidding, The Habit. I was in need of major carbs, so I got a chicken sandwich with french fries. If you haven’t caught on, I kinda like french fries. Following a much needed beauty rest, I competed in the 500 freestyle, 100 freestyle, and 200 back at morning and night. The early session was followed by a meal at The Habit, a chicken caesar salad with french fries, but my mom and sister were tired of going to the same restaurant over and over again, so we went to Olive Garden Saturday night. Really?

The meet was finally over, it felt like it took weeks. There was an athlete party after Saturday finals that included a DJ and foam cannon, but I didn’t go. My friend Blaire went, but she was disappointed because the foam cannon wasn’t up to her standards. It is difficult to go back to school after a break, but it is not hard to go back to swimming. I am always eager to dive into a pool, even if it has an insanely high amount of chlorine like my team’s recently, and learn how to improve. 

That is all that I have for y’all today! Be sure to check back for more posts and comment below on your favorite places to eat at meets. Remember, I will give a follow for a follow! Thank you for reading!

XOXO

Siena

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Swimming Through High School State

Last weekend, I had my very first high school state meet! Going into the competition, I really didn’t know what to expect. My coach had told me prior to the meet that it was different environment, especially since it was not prelims and finals. All high school state meets are held at Brigham Young University (BYU), and even after renovation, the pool is still hideous. But that is okay, because all you need is a lane, right? One thing is for sure, I had never felt more pressure during a race in my entire life. 

Early in the morning, we went to our pool to warmup before going down to BYU, where we would warmup yet again. Just, at BYU, it was a lot more crowded. On the first day, my only event was the 200 Freestyle. Even after I finished swimming, which wasn’t as fast as I would have liked, my hands were still trembling. I was disappointed with my results, but I realized that I needed to put that event in my past, and focus on my next three races. After two hours inside a sweaty natatorium, it was time for the most important meal, dinner. As y’all know from my previous posts, I am a food junkie, so I went to JCW’s and ordered a six (yes, you heard it right, six) piece chicken tender meal with fries and an Oreo shake. Later, I collapsed on my bed for a much needed good night sleep.

Warmup at BYU
Even earlier in the morning, we started warmup again for the second day. I felt less stressed, mainly because it gets easier after you have raced once. My events were the 500 Freestyle, 200 Freestyle Relay, and 400 Freestyle Relay. In the 500 Freestyle, I got a best time, and my team went one-two-three-four on the podium. In the 200 and 400 Freestyle Relays, everyone on my “squad” had amazing splits and we broke the 3A state records.

My Relay at Podium
Photo Courtesy of: The Salt Lake Tribune 
My 400 Freestyle Relay Squad
The girls team ended up scoring the most points in Utah high school swimming history, and both the PCHS girls and boys teams were state champions. A celebratory jump into the dive tank with all five of our coaches marked the end of this meet. On the bus ride back up to PC, we stopped at the Brick Oven for linner - a mix of both lunch and dinner - where I stuffed myself with any crumb that was within reach.

Now that high school swimming is over (yea!), I am ready to get back to club practice and those good old distance sets. For the next season, I hope to perform better by learning to keep calm before diving into the chlorine. If you would like to find out more information on this competition, the Salt Lake Tribune, Park Record, and Deseret News wrote articles, or results can be found here

I would like to give a shoutout to all 19 of my page-views from France and 15 page-views from India. If you guys want to be notified when I publish another post, be sure to become one of my loyal followers :). Later this week, I will be talking ‘bout senior state, so please stay tuned!

XOXO

Siena

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Region Reflection and Taper Time

Hey guys! Sorry, it has been a while since I last posted, but I’ve been extremely busy with high school swimming. I don’t think that I have mentioned anything about high school swimming in my previous posts, mainly because I don’t like it, but we recently attended Region X Championships. The meet has a really fancy name, but only three teams attended since we live in a wee little region. 

To get everyone all psyched up, we had a team hair and tie dying party along with a dinner. I got a strip of my hair dyed red, even though it barely showed up and immediately came off in the pool the next day, which was pointless. Our team colors are black, red, and white, but somehow the black tie dye ended up looking more like blue. I had never tie dyed before, and lets just say that I do not see a professional tie dying career in my future. My shirt was pretty much all red, with a small dot of “black” here and there. At school the next day, our team looked like we went to war because our hands were red and our shirts were not the prettiest.

Finally, it was time to swim! My coach, Mike, had set some goals for the meet, and they were quite lofty if I might say so myself. He wanted us to win every single solitary event. That is sure a good way to create a stress and nerve free environment, *cough cough* not. Everyone ended up swimming really well, and we went one-two-three in a couple events. The only race that we lost was the Men’s 100 Butterfly. After twenty two events, I think that is kinda a major accomplishment, but Mike, being his usual self, still wasn’t one-hundred percent satisfied. I guess the lesson learned is that there is always room for improvement.

Accepting my medal from this jolly fella
Now comes the sometimes glorious yet frustrating time of year, taper. During taper, your yardage is supposed to be dropped for your body to recover and rest to prepare for optimal performance. For most swimmers, taper is seen as a excuse for everything. Often one jokes about not having to walk up the stairs or getting up from the couch to get food because of the fear that it will ruin their taper. This is why I got in little bit, okay maybe a lot, of trouble when I confessed to my coach about hitting the slopes. My question is, how can one hour of riding chairlifts and skiing through slush (Shoutout to Mother Nature) do any harm to the body?

At Park City, we do taper differently. There is this set called pace. Throughout pace, you have a goal time that you are expected to meet for each distance depending on your personal best in that race. Mike often jokes that if you can talk in between rounds or haven’t thrown up, that you are not going fast enough. Pace is one of the hardest workouts, but it is also the most rewarding. By sprinting with perfect technique, we are mimicking both race quality and race speed.

That is all that I have for y’all today! Be sure to comment below on how your high school season went and how you taper. Thank you for reading and check back soon for a post on 3A state! 

XOXO

Siena

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Gear Galore

At swim practice, I use loads of equipment to improve technique, build strength, and add variety. In today’s post, I will be giving you my insight and comments on swimming stuff!

Kick Board

The definition is pretty self explanatory - you hold onto this block of foam, and as my friend Elise would say it, just flail your legs. Over time, kick boards have become my worst enemy. My biggest pet peeve is when someone steals your kick board during a set and claims that it is their’s when they didn’t even pick one up in the first place! Also, my pool has “good” kick boards and “bad” kick boards. Everybody rushes to get the “good” kick boards, and if you are too late then you have to get one of the “bad” kick boards, which have chunks torn out of them.

Paddles

You would think that since I don’t kick when I swim, I would be a good puller. Well, guess what?You are wrong. Maybe it is because my paddles are twice the size of my hands, or because my hands enters the water in the completely wrong direction. I bought agility paddles to correct this habit, but they fell off every twenty-five yards!

Different Sizes of Paddles
Photo Courtesy: TYR
Fins

I used to like fins, until my coach decided to cut off a piece of them hoping that it would make it harder and increase my kick tempo. Not only do my fins look like little stubs, but they never seem to conform to my feet. I have to wear socks for them just to stay on, and blisters still seem to magically appear on my toes.

Snorkel

Snorkels are not for seeing coral, fish, turtles, or starfish. Instead, they allow you to pay close attention to what your hands are doing underwater. Until you get used to your snorkel, I recommend that you invest in a nose plug, as they are super handy dandy. If you don’t want mold to grow inside the mouthpiece, you should probably put it through the dishwasher every now and then. 

Pull Buoy

A pull buoy is one of my favorites because it helps engage your core. While holding a pull buoy snug between your legs, it often becomes challenging to get a quality push off the wall with powerful dolphin kicks. I have not used a pull buoy in practice recently, and I am not sure why, but hopefully I can put it to good use soon!

Pink Pull Buoy
Photo Courtesy: DJ Sports
Mesh Bag

I am pretty sure that I would look like a complete dork if I had to gather all my gear everyday without a place to store it. I rely heavily on my mesh bag for multiple reasons. It is waterproof and my go-to location to find anything and everything. 

Miscellaneous

Some of the basics that you need no matter what are caps, googles, and your water bottle. From personal experience, I can tell you that if you ever are dumb enough to forget your water bottle, you are pretty much doomed. :(

That is all that I have for you guys today. Thank you so much for reading and check out Swim Outlet for deals and steals on any equipment that your might need. See you later!

XOXO

Siena

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Nutrition No-No's

As a distance swimmer, or really any athlete, it is important that you fuel your body to maximize performance. In todays world, there is lots of research on what to put in your body to get the results out. While this information has been presented to me in many ways (through magazines, coaches, parents, lectures…), it seems to pass right by as my nutrition habits are nowhere, and I mean nowhere, near what they are supposed to be. In this post, I will be giving you a glimpse into my swim meet eating schedule.

For lunch after prelims and before finals, you can find me at the closest In-N-Out Burger ordering a Double-Double Animal Style with no tomato and extra burger spread with french fries. I usually try to pass on the shake, as I figure it might be a little much, but sometimes that extra creamy and thick vanilla ice cream is too hard to resist. I consume exactly 1675 calories of fatty deliciousness every time we go through the drive-thru. Now, my lunch menu is quite different from the simple and complex carbohydrate, protein rich, fresh fruit, crisp vegetable, vitamin and mineral packed, healthy diet. I am pretty sure that I am the only person in the world who would even think of engulfing such a meal before finals.

Double-Double Animal Style Burger
Photo Courtesy: Serious Seats
For the time between races, you are supposed - key word: supposed - to snack on foods that are quickly absorbed, easy to break down, and can reach muscles speedily. Some of these food items include crackers, fruit, energy bars, cheese, peanut butter, or eggs. Instead, I prefer Curious George fruit snacks, Cheez-Its, Chewy chocolate dipped chocolate chip granola bars, Pringles or Lays, and basically anything that is artificial. The only snack I have that is actually recommended is Go-Go Squeez, but only in Apple-Apple or Apple-Cinnamon flavor, I just love the pouch!

Now, you might think that I am a total failure, but there is hope. Hydration is my forte. I go through so many waters and Vitamin Waters, so not only am I quenching my thirst, but water makes the body feel refreshed and energized. As my coach says, you can never have to many fluids.In any sport, recovery is crucial in order to consistently be at the top of your game. My go-to recovery drink is chocolate milk because it tastes great and helps rebuild muscles. 

Before meets, you should start your day off right with a substantial breakfast. Now, at six in the morning in the car, the last thing I want to do is eat. But, I do eat a packet of Quakers blueberry and cream oatmeal. Why settle for anything less than a sugary bite filled with all kinds of dyes and fake fruit?

As you can tell, I might not be the best role model as far as healthy eating is concerned. Now that it is the New Year, and I don’t really have a New Year’s resolution, maybe I should try to start 2015 out right with a better nutrition plan. But, you know, today was all about the junk food from chocolate to cheesy Doritos.

I hope you guys enjoyed this post and learned what not to do before a meet! Be sure to check back for another post coming soon and leave any comments below. See you next time!

XOXO

Siena