This past weekend, I was at my second swim meet where I was the swimmer. I made the plunge once before—a year ago at the Palm Springs Piranhas hosted meet. I worried all week as the date of the meet approached. What had I done to myself? Why did I sign up for the meet?
Here is a partial list of things I worried and stressed about:
Standing on the blocks. It’s scary up there.
Diving off the blocks. I was afraid my goggles would fall off and I’d lose my contacts.
Doing a flip turn. In practice, I stick with slow open turns. While practicing flip turns the day before the meet, I got water up my nose and hit my head on the bottom of the pool.
Breathing. I worried that halfway through my 50 free I’d start to panic and revert to breath-holding.
Then, I realized that last year I couldn’t get out of the pool and I had to swim to the ladder. This year, I didn’t have to worry about that. I can now get out of the deep end. That thought made me realize all the things that I had done to prepare for the meet and what was under my control:
I had gone to practice consistently for an entire year.
I had improved my diet to make sure I was properly fueled.
I stayed hydrated.
I worked on dives and flip turns with Coach Jeff and felt more confident.
I started a stretching regime that included warming up my shoulders.
I was one year stronger and better at swimming than at my first meet.
I was mentally prepared. I was physically ready. I know I’ve made huge progress. Maybe at the next meet, I won’t get so worked up.
My only regret is that I didn’t start swimming when my kids were young. I’ve learned so much from swimming masters about how hard they work, how great their technique is and how hard it is to swim fast. I took it all for granted. I would have had a different perspective on swim meets and practice if only I had begun swimming years ago. I would have shared this bit of wisdom my favorite ref, Paul, told me at the meet, “Relax and have fun. It’s only a swim meet!”
Why do you think swim parents should compete? What makes you nervous before swim meets?
P.S. One of my most favorite things this weekend was to see and talk with three “kids” who swam with my children on Piranhas at my Masters meet. They are all grown-up and continuing with the sport they love.
Photos courtesy of Piranha Swim Team.
I’m usually good until 36 hours before the event and then panic. I try and try not to but the anxiety sets in and only subsides after I race my first event-which makes me want to go to more meets and repeat the entire process.
Thanks, Linda! Also, remember that anxiety is contagious!
interesting post. I just started doing triathlons–my first, a mini, was in August. I like the mix of training events. Swimming is a great sport, and good for lifelong fitness, so thats a good reason for parents to train. I also think it helps it understanding what their kids are going through, and may allow them to keep the whole thing in perspective.
As an adult, who is on the downside of the age slope, its now about being fit, and improving my skills, even as its very clear that a great many will be faster than me. And the companionship at adult events is great, we are cheering for each other, even as we each want to do our best.
When I first started Masters, I was so frightened and felt out of place. The swimmers and coach were so welcoming and one fellow swimmer told me to enjoy swimming, that it’s the secret of youth.
that’s good to hear. One of my next training steps may be doing some swim training with the masters groups. Thus far, I’ve been working on bringing my long neglected running up to (slow) speed, but one of these days, it will be time to do more than just swim laps.
If I could do it, you can too. Swimmers are so nice and welcoming. I didn’t know how to breathe in freestyle and had a coach help me through it all. You’ll love it.