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trinollinger
February 12th, 2009, 10:01 PM
I am new to Masters swimming, and I am swimming my first meet at Auburn this weekend. Today when I was practicing, I would get on the blocks and start thinking about the meet. I would get so nervous and shaky that I could barely finish a 50!! After I stopped timing myself and told myself I was "just swimming an easy 50" I did okay. Any advice for Saturday?

Also...I cannot decide about my flip turn. I feel like it is different EVERY time I do it. Sometimes too close, others too far away, and sometimes right on. Should I try it in the meet, or just go for the open turn? It's not like I'm a contender or anything.....

Thanks for any advice!

KEWebb18
February 12th, 2009, 10:07 PM
I am new to Masters swimming, and I am swimming my first meet at Auburn this weekend. Today when I was practicing, I would get on the blocks and start thinking about the meet. I would get so nervous and shaky that I could barely finish a 50!! After I stopped timing myself and told myself I was "just swimming an easy 50" I did okay. Any advice for Saturday?

Also...I cannot decide about my flip turn. I feel like it is different EVERY time I do it. Sometimes too close, others too far away, and sometimes right on. Should I try it in the meet, or just go for the open turn? It's not like I'm a contender or anything.....

Thanks for any advice!

A lot of swimmers use relaxation techniques to prepare for events. I personally am a fan of finding a quiet place. One of my coaches told me that when you step on the blocks, your mind should be clear. You shouldn't think of a single thing except for waiting for the sound of the starting gun.
In terms of flip turns, see how you feel during warm-ups. Go with what you think that you are able to do, and don't get upset if things don't go as well as you want them to. Every race is a great experience to learn! Good luck!!!

CoachML
February 12th, 2009, 10:09 PM
I am new to Masters swimming, and I am swimming my first meet at Auburn this weekend. Today when I was practicing, I would get on the blocks and start thinking about the meet. I would get so nervous and shaky that I could barely finish a 50!! After I stopped timing myself and told myself I was "just swimming an easy 50" I did okay. Any advice for Saturday?

Also...I cannot decide about my flip turn. I feel like it is different EVERY time I do it. Sometimes too close, others too far away, and sometimes right on. Should I try it in the meet, or just go for the open turn? It's not like I'm a contender or anything.....

Thanks for any advice!Picture success.

Picture yourself out touching your opponent at the end of a race. You're tired. You haven't taken a breath the entire length. You stretch out to touch the wall, picture that feeling and the expression of joy you feel when you take your first breath of relief and look up at the score board.

Or if your the analytical type, consider that nerves are only the body dealing with stress. It's a good thing. When you're nervous your immune system is firing on all cylinders. Your pupils become dilated. Your heart beat increases and there is adrenaline going though your system that will actually make you faster.

Allen Stark
February 12th, 2009, 10:18 PM
Physiologically there is no difference between anxiety and excitement,it is just how you interpret the feelings.It is a race,expect to be excited.That's fine.As was stated visualize success.Also get a routine.Try to do exactly the same thing every time.Most of all HAVE FUN.
Also I'd go with the flip turn.Sooner or later you will flip in a race,you might as well get it over.If you miss,so what,you are there to learn and will do better next time.

trinollinger
February 12th, 2009, 10:36 PM
Thanks for the advice. I am looking forward to my first meet! Anyone else out there going to Auburn?

pwb
February 13th, 2009, 09:28 AM
Trin --



Find out what calms you down outside of the pool and do that before your race. A lot of people find music works wonders for that.
The "mind being clear" thought is a good one: as I'm actually standing behind the blocks in the heat or so before my race, I'm actively trying NOT to think about the race ahead. I know that might seem like ignoring the elephant in the room, but it helps clear my head.
Also, I kind of remind myself -- this is Masters swimming and I'm doing this for fun. Yes, I want to win, do PRs, etc. ... but, at the end of the race, if I flubbed a turn, got DQ'd or swam horribly, etc., I try not to sweat it because this is my "hobby" for fun and staying in shape. (Don't get me wrong, I sometimes still get PO'd, but I get over it much more quickly than in my younger days)

FlyQueen
February 13th, 2009, 09:39 AM
I've had the most success in races when I've told myself - don't think just go. If you've been practicing and training you'll be fine. I think Patrick's suggestion of having fun is huge. Sometimes I get so caught up going for a PR or whatnot that I forget that I am doing this because it's fun and I love it. Just go out and enjoy the experience.

This is my fifth masters season and I still get nervous every single meet. It's gotten better - but I always am nervous for my first event. Once that's over usually I calm down a bit.

Have fun! Do the flip turn! Learn and enjoy meeting the other swimmers - masters swimmers are a great group of people!

hnatkin
February 13th, 2009, 10:06 AM
With regards to flip turns - at Auburn one wall will be a bulkhead rather than a solid wall. Make sure you get in some good practice turns during warmup, since judging the wall is different with a bulkhead because the black line keeps going (even though there is still a T). If you have problems judging the wall in warmup, then I would recommend doing the open turn your races - it may keep you more relaxed.
Since this is your first meet, your times will be personal bests, so you will do great no matter what! Have fun and enjoy! Maybe I'll see you there!

trinollinger
February 13th, 2009, 10:53 AM
Thanks for all the great advice! I am really getting excited.

I don't leave for a few more hours...the lines are open for more advice for this swim meet virgin!

pwolf66
February 13th, 2009, 11:28 AM
With regards to flip turns - at Auburn one wall will be a bulkhead rather than a solid wall. Make sure you get in some good practice turns during warmup, since judging the wall is different with a bulkhead because the black line keeps going (even though there is still a T). If you have problems judging the wall in warmup, then I would recommend doing the open turn your races - it may keep you more relaxed.
Since this is your first meet, your times will be personal bests, so you will do great no matter what! Have fun and enjoy! Maybe I'll see you there!

Instead of bailing on the flip turn, during warmup and at near race speed, find some mark on the bottom, probably a lane lane from a crossing lane and establish a stroke count from that point to where you need to start your turn. That's the best way I know of to handle turns on short bulkheads.

trinollinger
February 13th, 2009, 11:34 AM
Instead of bailing on the flip turn, during warmup and at near race speed, find some mark on the bottom, probably a lane lane from a crossing lane and establish a stroke count from that point to where you need to start your turn. That's the best way I know of to handle turns on short bulkheads.

Thanks for the tip! We are going to try and swim at the pool this evening. I will try that and I think I will feel better having a plan.

gigi
February 13th, 2009, 05:43 PM
I know just how you feel - I had my first masters meet last year and I can't believe how nervous I was. I got so wound up in my nervousness that I couldn't shake it no matter what.

The good news was that it went away after my first event. So now when I get that nervous feeling, I know that some intense physical activity will chase it away. Jumping works. A set of long deep breaths works.

Good luck!

luchsn
February 13th, 2009, 06:16 PM
The best way to deal with nerves before a race is to listen to an up-beat song, relax and hang out with your friends! Try not to think about the race until you're behind the blocks getting ready!

Rnovitske
February 13th, 2009, 08:14 PM
Advice based on my experience -
I remember my first Masters Meet clearly - I was nervous. Being nervous is just normal - you can't help it. After the meet, I remember thinking, "I was nervous - why? - no one was even watching or paying attention!"

30 meets later, I still get nervous a bit. What I do to calm down is to talk and joke with the other swimmers and timers during the meet and before my race behind the blocks.

Good luck; nervous is normal.

orca1946
February 14th, 2009, 12:55 AM
It's OK to be excited, but don't forget to have fun! Unless you are going for a state/national record, remember when you were a kid:bouncing: & just have fun/enjoy the water1 !00 meets later you will look forward to these feelings!:)