KELOWNA BC TO PAN AM GAMES GUADALJARA  October 2011. Kierra raced in the 100m breaststroke last Monday and finished 5th with a time of 1:10.15. It’s her 3rd best event but the only one she was allowed to race in Guadalajara (long story). She came back with a silver medal as part of the medley relay team swimming in the morning preliminaries. Initially I wasn’t going to go to Mexico to see only 1 event but as the date came closer I changed my mind and found a cheap last minute flight and off I went. Swimming Canada managed to find me a ticket and I’m glad I was a part of it.

I stayed at the Don Quihote hotel in downtown Guadalajara, close to restaurants, buses, shopping, squares and a gazillion churches. Not the most spectacular of hotels but it was clean, people were really nice and the location was ideal.

I honestly made a reasonable effort to get around using buses. If you leave your first world sensibilities at the door I can speak reasonable Spanish after spending a year in Nicaragua 25 years ago and I think getting around on a city bus is best way to get a feel for a city. It didn’t work out too well though and I abandoned that plan on 2nd day. Taxis are fun too and $5 gets you pretty anywhere. Overall, I loved the food, history, architecture, music and the overall pace of Guadalajara.

As for the swimming….the United States dominated this meet from the first day through the last winning gold and silver for most events and they didn’t even bring their  team. Their developmental swimmers were still better than everyone else and most races were a battle for bronze. Kierra was happy with her time and happier with her relay silver. She adjusted to the altitude really well and is well positioned for the olympic trials in Montreal next April. She had never competed in front of 4,000 people and she’s never signed an autograph before so it was a good experience. Her University of Minnesota coach was coaching the USA team so she was happy to see a familiar face on deck

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