Madelyn Moore and Jesse Washington experienced another day of frustration at the Videna Aquatic Centre at the Pan American Games yesterday.
The pair were hoping for an improvement after being disappointed with their displays in the 100 metres butterfly on Wednesday, but again struggled to find their best form.
Moore finished fifth in heat two of the women’s 100 metres freestyle in a time of 59.02sec before Washington came eighth in heat four of the men’s event in 52.22.
Both swimmers arrived in Lima on Sunday, just a few days after competing at the Aquatics World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea, which could be an explanation for their below-par displays. They return to the pool today for the 50 freestyle heats.
“It’s been really difficult to prepare for [the Pan Am Games],” said Moore, who finished seventeenth overall out of 28 participants. “The 14-hour flight [from South Korea] really takes it out of you.
“You have a long layover in the States and then have to take another flight. You just have to do the best you can, but it has been really hard.”
The 19-year-old, who attends the University of Northern Colorado, said she particularly struggled during the second half of her race and felt ragged towards the finish.
“I was a second off my personal best,” said added. “The second 50 metres for me has always been a struggle.
“It’s something to really work on because I fell apart at the end. I was trying different race tactics and trying to go straight arm for the last 15 metres. It’s something you have to practise and it’s difficult to go out and just do it.”
Moore admits she is feeling the strain after a long season but is determined to finish strongly in her favourite event today.
“We’ve had a difficult season and we’ve been going since February,” she said. “You have to keep yourself motivated and that can be really difficult sometimes.
“It’s hard when you’ve been doing this for years. You get to our age and you’re not setting personal bests as much. You have to keep going as this is the sport we love.”
Washington could not hide his frustration after his performance and admits he has been feeling sluggish in the pool in the Lima.
“I didn’t do as well as I planned or wanted to do,” said Washington, who placed 23rd overall out of 29 competitors. “I swam a few tenths slower than my personal best.
“Maybe my fitness has gone down a bit since the worlds. I’m just not swimming fast and perhaps that’s down to fitness. I’m still keeping my hopes up for the 50 free.”
The 20-year-old, who attends the Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, said he had been hoping to break Roy-Allan Burch’s 100 freestyle national record.
“I was looking for the national record, which is 50.07, but obviously I have a lot of work to do to get there,” he added.