Disclaimer: Blueseventy Swim of the Week is not meant to be a conclusive selection of the best overall swim of the week, but rather one Featured Swim to be explored in deeper detail. The blueSeventy Swim is an opportunity to take a closer look at the context of one of the many fast swims this week, perhaps a swim that slipped through the cracks as others grabbed the headlines, or a race we didn’t get to examine as closely in the flood of weekly meets.
It’s day 5 of U.S. Nationals. Only three events remain and the teams for Pan Pacs and the three major 2019 international meets are all-but-locked.
Ella Eastin, fighting mononucleosis all month, is on none of them.
Eastin specializes in some of swimming’s most brutal events. Most of us struggle to swim a 200 fly without mono. Eastin managed to take 12th in the nation with mono, though she scratched out of finals. But that turned out to be the right decision for Eastin and coach Greg Meehan. The pair decided to test the waters on day 1 in that 200 fly, but quickly realized Eastin would need all the rest she could get to make a one-event push for national travel teams.
Strategically, the 200 IM was perfect. Eastin was always a longshot in a loaded 200 free. And though she’s arguably the best 400 IMer in the nation, the brutality of that event would probably compound the limitations imposed by her illness. The 200 IM was a better fit: a less-demanding (though still difficult) event, a less-crowded field and the most rest available, as it came on the final day of competition.
The only thing it would take was a lot of patience and a steely resolve to avoid nerves. Eastin sat out for three days, watching Pan Pacs opportunities come and go in her best races. The desire to jump back in and try had to be there – Eastin and Meehan were putting all their eggs in the 200 IM basket, an all-in wager that could leave them with nothing. Even more important, though, was that Eastin needed as much mental and physical rest as she could get: stressing about Pan Pacs opportunities missed or worries about the all-or-nothing 200 IM wager would only set back her recovery process and bring about the very failure about which she’d be worrying.
That’s why it was such a feel-good story when Eastin did indeed make the Pan Pacs team on Sunday, taking 3rd in the 200 IM with a great swim and getting into Pan Pacs as only one of three third-place finishers based on having the best modified world rank of any third-place finisher.
Eastin is still on the outside for Worlds next summer, but should be on the World University Games roster as a fallback. She gets another week of rest before getting another chance to retry the 200 IM (and any other events she’d like) at Pan Pacs. Either way, Eastin has shown an admirable ability to overcome adversity throughout her career, and last week’s patient, calm, confident endurance of a bad twist of fate has only made Eastin more popular with fans – and more respected by the sport as a whole.
WE MAKE SWIMMERS.
There isn’t a second that goes by when the team at blueseventy aren’t thinking about you. How you eat, breathe, train, play, win, lose, suffer and celebrate. How swimming is every part of what makes you tick. Aptly named because 70% of the earth is covered in water, blueseventy is a world leader in the pool and open water. Since 1993, we design, test, refine and craft products using superior materials and revolutionary details that equate to comfort, freedom from restriction and ultimately a competitive advantage in the water. This is where we thrive. There is no substitute and no way around it. We’re all for the swim.
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