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KEWebb18
February 25th, 2009, 09:45 PM
I did it. I finally got the guts to sign up for my first masters swim meet. I am a little nervous (ok a lot nervous!) about it. From what I have read on here, the atmosphere at most places is pretty friendly and welcoming. Would anyone like to share anything with me on what to expect? How different is it than an age group (other than the obvious lack of kids and parents running around) meet or a high school meet? Those are my only meet experiences. I don't think that it is a large meet, but I am a little nervous about how this whole "masters" thing works.
Thanks!

tjrpatt
February 25th, 2009, 10:09 PM
My first Masters meet was in 2004 and it was a SCM. It was a different experience but I only did SCM in summer league when I was a kid and the longest event was a 100 IM. So, it was weird to do events like the 200 IM, fly, and 400 IM in SCM. The Atmosphere was very friendly and welcoming. I was there with people from my workout group at the time and unlike my old age group club, it was great to be around nice people.

USMSarah
February 26th, 2009, 12:11 AM
You'll have a blast. If it's not that big of a meet, you will more than likely be seeded with both women and men. It threw me off a bit when I went to my first meet - was not expecting it. Most of the meets I have gone to lately move along pretty quickly... it kind of feels like a HS meet at times. Don't get too nervous - like the above posts says, everyone is friendly and welcoming! Have fun! Bring your own snacks and drinks because there usually isn't much available for ya at the pool/facility.

Rykno
February 26th, 2009, 01:22 AM
My first Masters meet was in 2007, and it was both different from what I remembered about meets and fun.

It was a small one day meet with two sessions. events were only 50 and 100 with 4x50 Medley and free relays.

it was different in that between races, it was more like a social gathering rather than a meet. when I went back in 2008 to the same meet, it was the same people and same social atmosphere.

I didn't make it to this years meet at that pool, but one of our newbies (age group 50-54) went and she had so much fun, she's going with us to our biggest meet of the year. it had been nearly 30 yrs since she last raced, but it didn't effect her day. she only swam the 50 /100 breast and did well in my eyes. 50 - 43.00 and in the 100 - 1:33.18. we've been working on her starts, turns and underwater technic so in 3 weeks we think she can get down around 41 and 1:30. she had only stood on the starting blocks 4 times before her race.

Next year she'll be in the 55-59 and I think if she continues to have fun with it can easily go under 40 in the 50.

Swimalison
February 26th, 2009, 06:20 AM
How exciting! I have swam in meets my entire life (summer leagues, high school...some college...etc) but just recently swam in my first Master's meet...and it was the big Rutger's Zone meet. (didn't mess around and just went for the big stuff..) OMG I LOVED it!!! It was a 2 day meet.
I was pretty nervous, I have to admit. However my team mates and others were very helpful. Like someone else said, bring your own food and drinks...Drink lots of water so you don't get too dehydrated. Bring music for the long waits in between events. Bring like 3 towels, flip flops, and I even have a terry robe that I throw on after I swim. Bringing 2 bags (one for dry clothes and other for wet stuff) works nicely too. Of course bring extra cap and goggles in case something breaks.
You will have a blast!!!!! What meet if I may ask? I lived in Richmond and swam for what I think it now called Robious Masters Team....w/Jim Miller.
HAVE FUN!!!!!!!

thewookiee
February 26th, 2009, 07:22 AM
You will have a blast! Don't go in worrying about times. Go in with the mindset of having fun. You will meet some neat folk. When it's time to race, go race your best...forget about it.

Good Luck!

craig68
February 26th, 2009, 09:05 AM
If you're experiencing 'good' nervousness about doing your best, then let those butterflies do their trick! :) But if you are nervous about doing the wrong thing, swimming slower than others, or otherwise looking foolish, then put those thoughts right out of your head! You will be so, so pleased at how inclusive these events are. An example from the Auburn meet a few weeks ago: In the first one or two heats of each event there were usually a few folks starting in the water or diving off the deck because they couldn't or wouldn't climb up on the blocks. Then there were folks diving off the blocks for the first time in their lives! There were folks doing questionable butterfly and breaststroke manuevres. And then there were folks in the latest tech suits going for USMS records. We're all in it together. Have fun!

Mookie
February 26th, 2009, 09:40 AM
Are you swimming the meet in Warrenton, VA on March 15th? I've just printed out the entry form and my three best events are back to back to back. Aww, what the heck, I'll go for it. It's only my second Masters meet ever and I can't wait; the first one was fun! :bliss:

funkyfish
February 26th, 2009, 01:03 PM
My first meet experience was horrible. First off, I had to pay to park. Then I had to shower before entering the pool and the water was ice cold. I'm sure I had pre-entered but when I got there they had no record of me and I had to re-enter all over again, and pay another registration fee. After that was done I'm ready to swim my 1st event, get to the blocks, and then they tell me they had to change the order of events for some reason, so I had to step down (I was the only one standing on the blocks so I felt foolish). I forgot to add, when I got to the meet I realized that I didn't bring a racing suit so I had to swim in bermuda shorts. During my first race my swim cap split and was flapping on the top of my head. Also, my goggles cracked and were leaking water duing the entire swim. I didn't eat enough for breakfast so my stomach was upset and I was feeling nauseous for all my swims. During my races, the other swimmers would spit in my lane (not just the ones next to me, but every one in that heat would come over and spit, even the judges). Finally, for each and every race I could tell that the timers would start the watch 1 or 2 seconds before the gun went off and I'd have to get their attention when I finished and tell them to stop the watch. It was not a good experience at all…

Just kidding…my first meet was a lot of fun and I think you'll be hard pressed to find anyone who'll tell you otherwise. The folks I've met at meets are a bunch of easy-going people, almost too easy-going…I wonder what they're up to…
:bliss::banana::bouncing:

gigi
February 26th, 2009, 08:20 PM
Oh man, Funkyfish, you are too funny. I thought that was for real until I got to the spitting in the lane part. I kept thinking "Oh that poor swimmer. Oh no, how awful." WHat a laugh!

I had a great time at my first masters meet as well. I hadn't been in a swim meet in 30 years, I hadn't been off a diving block in 30 years, and I never ever done some of the events I signed up for. It was v. fun.

I was very nervous on my first event and, frankly, I didn't really get my act together at all. But after that first event, which I considered a throwaway, everything was great. I've now been to 3 meets and it just gets more fun and more exciting. I practice on my own so I don't have a team to pal around with but everyone has been super friendly and I made some meet pals right away.

Definitely bring at least 2 towels, a cozy sweatshirt, A PADLOCK for your locker if you're lucky enough to get one, more snacks than you think you can possibly eat (you can always share what you don't want and make even more friends), and I'm a great believer in bringing a pillow to sit on or put my head on if I want to relax for a while.

I always bring a book to read or some papers to grade, but I never touch either of them...there's too much other stuff to do

YOu'll have a great time, enjoy!

KEWebb18
February 26th, 2009, 08:34 PM
Yeah I know what to bring to a swim meet, believe me, I have been to enough of those :)
I am just not sure in terms of what to expect from older swimmers. I don't want to be that person that is super-competitive when everyone else is relaxed or vice versa.
I am swimming in the Frank Clark Masters Open in Greensboro, NC. I am considering swimming the one in Warrenton if this goes well. I am definitely going to try to swim at the Colonies Zone meet at the end of April.
Thanks everyone so much for the helpful words. If this is any indication of what folks are like at the meets, I have no reason to worry :)

USMSarah
February 26th, 2009, 09:19 PM
Yeah I know what to bring to a swim meet, believe me, I have been to enough of those :)
I am just not sure in terms of what to expect from older swimmers. I don't want to be that person that is super-competitive when everyone else is relaxed or vice versa.
I am swimming in the Frank Clark Masters Open in Greensboro, NC. I am considering swimming the one in Warrenton if this goes well. I am definitely going to try to swim at the Colonies Zone meet at the end of April.
Thanks everyone so much for the helpful words. If this is any indication of what folks are like at the meets, I have no reason to worry :)

You can make it as competitive as you want. You'll have a variety of swimmers there - enjoy!

The Fortress
February 26th, 2009, 09:29 PM
I am just not sure in terms of what to expect from older swimmers. I don't want to be that person that is super-competitive when everyone else is relaxed or vice versa.

I am swimming in the Frank Clark Masters Open in Greensboro, NC. I am considering swimming the one in Warrenton if this goes well. I am definitely going to try to swim at the Colonies Zone meet at the end of April.
Thanks everyone so much for the helpful words. If this is any indication of what folks are like at the meets, I have no reason to worry :)

Masters meets are pretty relaxed, especially in season meets. You'll probably find a wide range of ability level. It's hard not to be nervous at your first meet -- I sure was. Just gotta get the first one under your belt and you'll become more relaxed over time.

Colonies Zones was also my third meet as a masters swimmer. It's in my home pool. Hope to meet you there in April! Last year, we had an apres party at my house, which was a good way to meet forumites and other swimmers.

funkyfish
February 26th, 2009, 09:31 PM
I don't want to be that person that is super-competitive when everyone else is relaxed or vice versa.

If you're entering events you've never swam before, or if you've had a long time off (measured in years or even decades) I'd suggest coming up with some sort of seed time as opposed to entering NT. I've had to get a guestimate on some swims just by swimming them in practice at the beginning right after warm up. You'll swim faster than the guestimates, but it'll probably get you in the right heat for you.

As an aside, I've finally suckered my wife into joining masters and swimming competitively again. We'll be doing some pre time trials for her. Have fun.
:banana:

Rykno
February 26th, 2009, 10:04 PM
I think the guestimates work better with shorter swims.

after 200m it's really hard to get a good swim at practice, i think.

I swim the 400m free at practice around 5:05 (never under 5:00 even though I have tried a few times) but I swim in a meet 4:41. my 400m IM guestimate was 5:40 and I swam 5:19.

a friend of mine swam his first masters meet last year, and the meet had a policy that all late entries would be seeded last, so even though he entered with a 9:45 in the 800m he was in heat 1 with people that had 17:00. he opened in 26.?? and wound up swimming 9:32 and should have been in the second to last or last heat. not much fun for him.


If you're entering events you've never swam before, or if you've had a long time off (measured in years or even decades) I'd suggest coming up with some sort of seed time as opposed to entering NT. I've had to get a guestimate on some swims just by swimming them in practice at the beginning right after warm up. You'll swim faster than the guestimates, but it'll probably get you in the right heat for you.

KEWebb18
February 27th, 2009, 03:52 PM
I guessed on my entry times. I swim scm in my workouts, and this meet is scy. That made it a little difficult to guess. We'll just see how it goes! Today the nervousness is more of an excitement.

trinollinger
February 27th, 2009, 05:02 PM
I just did my first master's meet on February 14/15th and LOVED it. How close is the meet to where you live? We went up on the Friday night before, and went and swam in the pool. If that is possible, I would highly recommend it! It went a long way in easing my jitters, and I wasn't so overwhelmed when we walked on on Saturday morning. My other bit of newbie advice is to talk to all the other swimmers! They all want to help, and are glad to have another person join their sport.
Good Luck, and let us know how you do!

aztimm
February 27th, 2009, 05:17 PM
I think the guestimates work better with shorter swims.


A good coach can make the guestimates work pretty well. Prior to a meet, I asked my coach at the time (Ron Johnson) for help with seed times. This was at the end of practice, I had already gotten out. He told me to dive in and do a 50 (I don't remember, but I think around 80%). Based on that 50, he gave me seed times all the way up to a 500 free, and they were all very close. I think the 50 was spot on, 100 within 2 sec, 200 within 3 sec, and the 500 maybe off by 5 sec.


I did have a bad experience at a meet once, and took it a bit personally. Over time, I've come to accept that the experience was limited to a bad apple and not the overall view of masters swimmers. My team had hosted nationals, I had just finished an event, and hadn't done as well as I had hoped. I shared my time with someone in the warm-down pool. He said something like, "Its people like you who make these meets drag on for hours." It took me a while to get over that comment, and other than that my meet experiences have been all positive.

tjrpatt
February 27th, 2009, 05:26 PM
me with someone in the warm-down pool. He said something like, "Its people like you who make these meets drag on for hours." It took me a while to get over that comment, and other than that my meet experiences have been all positive.

What a jerk this person was!

Mookie
February 27th, 2009, 07:50 PM
What a jerk this person was!

No kidding. Probably had their cap pulled down low to cover the big 'L' on their forehead. :bolt:

KEWebb18
February 28th, 2009, 09:07 PM
I am very happy to say that my first meet was a success (to me). I was scared diving off of the blocks--hahaha. Funny how when we are young we do anything and then when we get older we get scared of those things!
I had a good experience and would recommend this meet to anyone in the area who is looking for a good low-key meet. I enjoyed meeting other swimmers and appreciated everyone's advice!

thewookiee
February 28th, 2009, 09:27 PM
Katie....CONGRATULATIONS!! Sounds like you had a great day. From what people have said, you should consider the Colonial meet in April at George Mason. It's in a really good pool.

Again, CONGRATS!

momof5
August 6th, 2014, 09:26 PM
I am very happy to say that my first meet was a success (to me). I was scared diving off of the blocks--hahaha. Funny how when we are young we do anything and then when we get older we get scared of those things!
I had a good experience and would recommend this meet to anyone in the area who is looking for a good low-key meet. I enjoyed meeting other swimmers and appreciated everyone's advice!

I realize I'm bringing back a very old thread. But I am swimming in my first meet ever later this month and this post made me wonder, are swimmers allowed to practice diving off the blocks during warm up? The pool I practice in doesn't have blocks and I have never done it before. I'd hate for my first dive off a block to be during my first race ever!

Allen Stark
August 6th, 2014, 10:58 PM
I realize I'm bringing back a very old thread. But I am swimming in my first meet ever later this month and this post made me wonder, are swimmers allowed to practice diving off the blocks during warm up? The pool I practice in doesn't have blocks and I have never done it before. I'd hate for my first dive off a block to be during my first race ever!

During the warm up before the start of the meet,most meets will have a designated sprint lane for at least part of the warm up.If they do you can go off the blocks there.You cannot dive off the blocks in warm up from any other lane.

momof5
August 6th, 2014, 11:09 PM
Thanks!

FindingMyInnerFish
August 9th, 2014, 10:59 AM
My first few meets I did in-water starts or started from the deck. It took a while to get the courage to go off a block, but just worth noting that if you don't feel comfortable using a block, it's okay to start in the water. I just figured it was worth overcoming that fear so I worked w/ a coach to help me get comfortable off a block. I have a feeling I'd have to get used to them again now since it's been a while--open water doesn't have start blocks. ;)

momof5
August 9th, 2014, 03:44 PM
I'm pretty comfortable with diving in general, so at the moment I'm not afraid of the blocks (once I get there it might be a different story!), but that is good to know. Thanks!

flystorms
August 10th, 2014, 09:05 PM
Just remember to keep your head tucked below your arms and your nose down so your goggles don't slip off.