After swimming to lifetime bests in the yards pool at the BIG TEN Championships Bahamian standout Laura Morley converted her impressive short improvement to the long course pool by setting 2 new national records. Morley moved the performance bar up for her nation by taking down the national records in the 100 and 200 metre breaststroke at the ARENA Pro Swim Series meet held at the Indiana University Natatorium from March 2 -5.The new Bahamian records stand at 1:11.46 and 2:32.98 respectively.
Morley set the previous marks of 1:11.83 (April 2) in the 100 metres and 2:35.03 (March 31) in the 200 metres and at 2016 Speedo Sectional Championship at SPIRE Institute.
Laura actually bettered her 200 metre breaststroke records twice clocking 2:34.00 (split time1:13.51) to qualify for the B final. She would crush that time in the final. She showed the strength of her conditioning as she moved from 8th at the 100 with a time of 1:13.53 to record a sub 1:20 split of 1:18.32 to finish 5th in 2:32.98. Her previous record splits before this meet were 1:14.72 and 1:20.31.
When draftingthecaribbean spoke to the Nassau native on March 8 she offered these thoughts on her expectations heading in to the meet and described the heats and final of the 200 metre breaststroke
“ I headed into this meet hoping to go best times. On Thursday morning I swam the 200 breaststroke prelims and my coach told me to go out and have fun while swimming. I had no expectations going into this meet and was looking forward to competing against other International swimmers that had come to the Arena Pro Series. After touching the wall I was pleased with my time as I had dropped a whole second from my best time. However, for finals my coach and I really wanted to focus on my back half speed and see how fast I could go in finals. My B final at night had a lot of great competition and gave me a great opportunity to race really talented breaststrokers. Ultimately I went out in the same speed as the morning but really focused on my last two 50’s. When I touched that wall I was thrilled and so surprised, I had no idea that a 2:32 was in my reach!”
In the 100 metre breaststroke, Laura, who represented The Bahamas at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games lowered her national record in the morning preliminaries. She swam 1:11.46 (split time 33.92) to yet again make another B final. In the evening’s B final she was again faster than her 2016 best when she placed 3rd in a time of 1:11.80 (split time 34.15).
Morley spoke about her 100 metre breaststroke and her performances overall
“For my 100 breaststroke on Saturday morning I also had no expectations because I swim more efficiently without putting pressure on myself. I ended up dropping a few tenths in the morning and qualified for the B final. I was very thrilled with my morning swim but unfortunately added a few tenths during my finals swim. However, my coaches and I were very pleased with my personal best times and performance at the meet”.
When asked how this meet sets her up for faster times for summer she said
“The Arena Pro Swim Series was a good indicator of where my fitness and training level are. I am looking forward to getting back into hard training so that I can completely gear up for the long course season. I do not have a set schedule yet for the summer for which meets I will be attending but my ultimate goal will be to qualify for Worlds”.
The 2016 national Champion in the 200 metre breaststroke was also asked if her coaches would have the World Championships B standards of 1:09.95 and 2:31.02 in mind when conditioning her for the rest of the season
“It would be such an honour to compete at the World Championships and it is a big goal for me this summer. However, my coaches and I try not to put pressure on specific time standards but strive for best times whenever I am rested for a meet. I think 2:31 and 1:09 are great goals for me moving forward with my training!”
She also gave an insight as to what her schedule would be now like
“Since the college season is almost over I do not have any meets scheduled until after I take my final exams. My coach and I are looking into swimming at the Arena Pro Series Meet in Atlanta during the first week of May but those plans are not set in stone. As of now I will be back in the water training full time until summer meets pick up”.