On Saturday in Chula Vista, California, after pursuing the World Championships "B" standard across the United States and Europe for he better part of the summer, 2011 USA triple jump champion Amanda Smock landed a 46-6 1/4 jump that achieved the standard for the meet in Daegu, South Korea and established a new personal best.
Smock took some time yesterday to answer our questions about her quest for the qualifying mark and about what lies ahead for the Melrose native.
Down the Backstretch: Congratulations on getting the qualifier last weekend. What can you tell us about the jump itself?
Amanda Smock: Considering the circumstances of the weeks leading up to this jump; three competitions in 10 days, a 17 hour travel day followed by one day at home and a flight to San Diego, my body felt pretty abused. The day of the meet, I had the mind-set that I was simply going to give the qualifying mark one last effort and do the best I could in this condition. I had to take every opportunity available to me. I went from not feeling very well during my morning shake out to finally coming around after a long warm up.
When I landed my 14.18m jump [46-6 1/4 in feet and inches], I was pretty surprised. It felt like a good jump, but not great. There were some technical things that I didn’t do very well. One of the landings got too far out in front of me forcing me to lose a lot of forward momentum. The jump could’ve been a lot better. I think this is part of my triple jump addiction; I always feel like there is a bigger and better jump in me.
DtB: After winning the USA title, you jumped in quite a few meets, but you hadn't improved upon your USA Outdoor jump. How concerned were you getting that you might not get the 46-3 1/4 jump you needed?
Smock: By the time the last opportunity came up, I was pretty exhausted and had taken getting the mark out of the equation, at that point it was more about checking every opportunity off the list and simply giving the jumps my bests effort … whatever was left.
DtB: Results aside, how did you feel about your fitness and jumping after USAs?
Smock: Fitness-wise, I felt in great jumping condition. I was pretty confident I could hold the fitness level I needed to have into the summer. The challenge for me was keeping my legs and hips ready to go. The triple jump can be pretty brutal on a person’s body without some well-planned recovery. Jumping in 4 competitions in 14 days doesn’t allow for much recovery. That said, I jumped my previous PR (45-5) or better in 5 of the last 6 competitions so I have to be happy with that.
DtB: Is there a different mentality you have -- or need to avoid -- when you're focused on a particular mark rather than on winning or placing highly?
Smock: I learned a pretty valuable lesson in my first meet post USA nationals in New York. At that meet, my mind was very fixed on 14.10m and after each jump of not achieving that distance I felt really defeated and frustrated … not a good state of mind to be jumping in. I learned to shift my mind-set from the mark and focus instead on the technical aspects of each jump. This really sunk in at the San Diego meet (where I finally achieved the B standard). It was finally all about giving the best effort I was able to without worrying about “the mark”.
DtB: Were you able to enjoy traveling in Europe at all or was it all business while you were there?
Smock: I had a really great experience in Europe. My mom was able to come with me and join in on the adventures which made it a lot more fun than what I imagine it would’ve been like on my own. Some of the days I was able to get my workout done in the morning allowing time in the afternoon to explore different cities, shop and sight see.
DtB: So, looking ahead, when do you leave for South Korea?
Smock: I leave for South Korea on August 21st and will stay in the athlete village with the US team in Daegu, a few miles from the competition stadium.
DtB: What's your goal for the World Championships?
Smock: I’ll really have to take advantage of each jump since I am only guaranteed three. Putting my lessons learned to use, my goal is to stay focused on the jumps themselves and do them technically well.
Photo of Smock jumping at the USA Championships by Becky Miller.