The normal meet format for Masters is that you can select five events to participate in but they allowed participants to do one event on Friday and up to five on Saturday. Bonus!
Some helpful tips if you are new to swim meets like me:
1) Read the meet registration form and look for important details like warmup and seeding information.
2) If you are unsure of a seed time, speak with the meet director and they will help you get in the right heat.
3) Take advantage of warmup and cooldown lanes. Usually 2 lanes will be provided for all the swimmers to use for warmup and cooldown during the meet. Prior to the start it is generally okay to utilize all lanes for warmup. Make sure you circle swim since this is the accepted practice with swimmers.
4) When you get to the meet, locate the heat sheets. Make note of your events and what heat and lane assignment you have been given. I usually bring a second registration form to keep track of this. I also will write down how many heats each event has as well as if any events are scratched.
5) You are responsible to be at the starting block on time for your events so you have to pay attention! Sometimes there aren't any entrants in an event and it will be skipped. The heat sheets will help you stay on top of that.
6) Most meets will post state and citizen records somewhere at the meet. If you think you could break a record for your age group and event, notify the starter and head timers. Record attempts require 3 timers to be official and it is your responsibility to tell the officials that you are going for a record.
7) If you are unsure of starting off the blocks or even diving from the edge, go ahead and do an in-pool start. There will be swimmers of all ages and abilities at a Masters meet so you have nothing to fear, all types of starts will be used!
8) Have fun and Swim Hard!!!
Back to the meet...this year I elected to do the 1500 Free for my Friday evening event. There was just one heat with about 5 of us entered. I put down 32 minutes as my seed time. This is a mental event more than a physical event for me. It's a tough distance to stay engaged and focused and keep a consistent pace. My previous time from this meet in 2010 was 32:35 so I was pretty happy when the timer told me I was under 29 min. I'm still waiting for the official results to be released but I pretty happy with a 3:30 minute improvement!
|I'm in green on the left side just before our 1500 start.|
After the events on Friday, I headed to the club's board meeting. I had reached out to the president about getting more involved and it was fun to attend the meeting. I especially enjoyed the motion to elect me as Social Media coordinator!!! I'll be taking over the Facebook, Twitter, and Blog feed for the Arkansas Masters!
Saturday morning I got to the pool around 8:30 for the meet start at 9:00. I was super nervous since I was trying out a new event...50 m Breast stroke. I decided on 4 events for Saturday which were 50 Breast, 100 Free, 50 Back, and 200 Free.
First up for me was the 50 breast and I was in the 2nd heat. After the first heat, the official had a conversation with a participant about her stroke form and it appeared she was being DQ'd. That increased my nervousness even more. Turns out she was pulling below the waist which isn't allowed in breast stroke. My start was a little iffy since I initially forgot to kick properly and caught myself starting to flutter. Kick fix and I was on my way doing the breast stroke! About half way down the pool I realized that it's a long way, 3/4 of the way down I wanted to be done! My time was just under 1 minute...barely.
|Whoops, bad form with a way too wide kick!|
Up next after a quick rest was the 100 free. I swam in the 2nd heat and managed just over 1:30 for the distance which was a few seconds improvement over my time in 2010.
The 50 back was stressful since I was assigned lane 1 next to the wall and the official. In outdoor pools I struggle to stay in a straight line for back stroke. So I was worried about running into the wall and I was worried that somehow I would make a form mistake with the official watching. With those two things making me nervous I got started okay. For the first 15m or so I stayed straight and then I slowly moved to the lane divider on my left and promptly ran into it. That startled me and I tried to get back on course. I ran into the divider a couple more times but soon enough I spotted the flags and new I was just a few strokes from finishing! My time was just under 53 seconds which was in line with my previous time.
My last event was the 200 free. My finish time was around 3:18 which I was happy with since I stayed pretty close to the other competitor in my heat for most of the race. Overall, it was a good meet for me and I had a good time swimming the events and chatting with the other swimmers.
After the meet was over, we headed over to Greg's house for the meet social. Greg and his wife Kim had a great pasta lunch spread and a beautiful shaded deck where we enjoyed the meal. It was a perfect finish to the meet since I was starving given my nerves kept me from eating much before the meet!