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View Full Version : Why go to Nationals..?



Jimbosback
December 13th, 2010, 11:35 AM
... if you are not going to beat anybody?

I pretty much want to go. I am close to NQTs in a few events (I know I can swim some events even if I don't make time). But looking at past results, swimming the QT typically puts you in the lower 1/4. Looking at the schedule, I'd end up swimming the slow heats of one event, 2 if I make time, a day.

Is the overall experience worth the cost of the trip?

(I did lurk in all last year's Nationals threads, but I'd like to hear it all again. :) )

JimRude
December 13th, 2010, 11:47 AM
Yes, if:

- you like the atmosphere of big meets
- you like to see other people swim (fast)
- you like the idea of socializing in/outside the pool (informally and formally)

No, if:
- your only concern is winning, or even finishing high

orca1946
December 13th, 2010, 12:02 PM
WELL - this year I age up :cane:& the NQT are a bit slower for me. This quirk of fate allows me to MAYBE do a swim near a medal this year !! If not it is a great place to visit & remember how fast [ha ha ] I used to be !

couldbebetterfly
December 13th, 2010, 12:08 PM
For me it was worthwhile to make the 3 hour drive to Sheffield and 6 hour drive back when I was in the UK.

I was in the lower 1/4 to begin with, but when I aged up, a lot of the competition took time out for family (myself included) so although the top times were even faster, I ranked closer to the top. 1 year I totally lucked out and won the 800 free, and the next year made 4th in pretty much all my events, so you never know!

As of now I'm not swimming with a team, and don't feel it worthwhile to travel to Mesa and be in the lower 1/2 or so. Plus I have 2 young kids and hubby would need time off work etc etc. I would however make the 5 hour drive to San Antonio for Nationals if it were held there again.

That said, it was a great experience and I got to watch Mark Foster and Nick Gillingham swim which was awesome.

I'd say if you have the time and $$ it'd be a lot of fun.

Swimosaur
December 13th, 2010, 01:19 PM
Why go to Nationals ... if you are not going to beat anybody?

I pretty much want to go ...

There, you have answered your own question!

I went to SCY Nationals in Atlanta last year, even though I wasn't going to beat anybody, just for the whole hoopla of it all. And I had a great time, including some unexpected surprises: I won my back-in-the-pack heat in the 100 back and scored a couple of prize shammys, now my most cherished awards!, and I got to see Rich Abrahams' perfect swims and Charlotte Davis' perfect meet and have my concepts of what it means to grow older -- changed forever! Plus lots of other perks ...

That said, seeing as you are in Florida, why not consider Y nationals Apr. 14-17 in Ft. Lauderdale (even though it may be heresy to mention it on this board), and/or USMS LCM nats Aug. 3-6 in Auburn? Either or both would save a roundtrip air fare. USMS SCY nats are in Greensboro, NC in 2012, which may also be within driving distance for you.

gdanner
December 13th, 2010, 01:56 PM
... if you are not going to beat anybody?

I pretty much want to go. I am close to NQTs in a few events (I know I can swim some events even if I don't make time). But looking at past results, swimming the QT typically puts you in the lower 1/4. Looking at the schedule, I'd end up swimming the slow heats of one event, 2 if I make time, a day.

Is the overall experience worth the cost of the trip?

(I did lurk in all last year's Nationals threads, but I'd like to hear it all again. :) )

I go to meets where I'm at the bottom and meets where I'm at the top. It's all fun to me and totally worth the cost.

tjrpatt
December 13th, 2010, 02:13 PM
Nationals is a fun meet. I had a blast at Indy 2009. Plus, it was at one of the greatest pools in the world. :bow: Elvis Fans have Graceland and some swimmers have the IUPUI pool. I still got to see alot of Indy so that was cool too. I use USMS Nationals as my vacation. When I go away, it either has to be for swimming or for work. There is no "fundage" for the lazy vacation. I can be lazy at home for free.

That Guy
December 13th, 2010, 03:30 PM
If you swim some less-popular events, then you can't really predict where you will place. 200 back, 200 breast, 200 fly, the distance free events, and to a lesser extent the 400 IM are the least predictable. Particularly the distance free, since you can usually only swim one of them. If you enter the 1000 and all the distance studs in your age group happen to enter the 1650, you could find yourself in possession of a national champion patch.

TRYM_Swimmer
December 13th, 2010, 03:32 PM
Yes, if:

- you like the atmosphere of big meets
- you like to see other people swim (fast)
- you like the idea of socializing in/outside the pool (informally and formally)

No, if:
- your only concern is winning, or even finishing high

Exactly my thoughts. Always a fun experience. See if you can get on a relay.

swimshark
December 13th, 2010, 05:06 PM
Why go? Because it's a lot of fun with a bit of swimming involved.

tjrpatt
December 13th, 2010, 05:23 PM
If you swim some less-popular events, then you can't really predict where you will place. 200 back, 200 breast, 200 fly, the distance free events, and to a lesser extent the 400 IM are the least predictable. Particularly the distance free, since you can usually only swim one of them. If you enter the 1000 and all the distance studs in your age group happen to enter the 1650, you could find yourself in possession of a national champion patch.

Just go to LCM Nationals and do one of those events. There is even a bigger shot of a national championship.

Bobinator
December 13th, 2010, 05:31 PM
I loved the Nationals!!!!!
The best part is meeting and socializing with your favorite swimmers from the Forum and Blogs!!!! Winning an event wasn't even on my mind; being a part of a fantastic swimming extravaganza was!!!! :banana:

gigi
December 13th, 2010, 06:02 PM
Yes, if:

- you like the atmosphere of big meets
- you like to see other people swim (fast)
- you like the idea of socializing in/outside the pool (informally and formally)




And if it's worth traveling a long way and spending a lot of money to do all that!

I'd love to go to Nationals some day, but until it's within driving distance of my house, there's no way I'd go. I just couldn't justify the expense to the non-swimming members (read everyone) of my family. I hope to see a New England nationals in my lifetime!

jaadams1
December 13th, 2010, 08:48 PM
200 Fly, 200 Back, 200 Breast, 400 IM, Etc.


Just go to LCM Nationals and do one of those events. There is even a bigger shot of a national championship.

If only my job didn't require so much out of me during the summer I'd be all over these events with you at a LCM Nationals.

Jimbosback
December 13th, 2010, 09:59 PM
Thanks, and I know you are all right. I will like it. I guess it's coming down to cost. I might go to Auburn, and I also hope to go to NC. By 2012, I think I might actually be fast. :banana:

I know there's a lot more to swimming than winning/finishing high. I'd love for a trip to nationals to become an annual thing for me. It would be great to meet some forum members, especially those of you who have helped me so much while I got back into this.

orca1946
January 3rd, 2011, 06:33 PM
You swimmers inspire me to go this year ! Thanx:applaud:

Jimbosback
February 3rd, 2011, 09:31 PM
Just wanted to update. I still really want to go, but I am waffling.

So, I have decided to put my fate in my performance in the Valentine's Meet I'm swimming.

If I feel good in my 4 events (50 Fly, 100 IM, 50 BR, 100 BR) and my times have not gotten worse, I am going to go to nationals.

I have been feeling great in practice, so it's pretty much a lock, but you never know.

(and I'm a little uncomfortable going to a Valentine's meet wothout my wife with the words 'unattached' next to my name whenever it appears, but that's a different topic lol)

Then, if I don't hit NQT, I have to pick one to drop (or decide to swim 200 BR instead of 2 of them).

Hopefully, there will be lodging left when I make the decision.

Michael Heather
February 3rd, 2011, 09:47 PM
Although it is always a temptation to let decisions ride on performance, remember that there will be about 1600 other people there who generally have the same questions you do (remember that there is only 1 winner in each event), but also have other reasons to go. Those with excuses have many more opportunities to miss the event.

It is a very social atmosphere. You may make friends with someone you have never known, or reconnect with someone from the past. It is very difficult to walk the length of a pool at nationals without seeing someone you know.

It is a cocoon from society and work. the few days you spend there are almost devoid of outside rancor and news. It is all swimming and smiles.

Arizona in April is glorious. I spent 2 years in school there and have fond memories of nearly every day.

No suit spinners are necessary, just get out of the pool and your suit will dry in about 5 minutes, on you or off.

And the biggest secret that is not one at all - if you want to place in an event, swim the 200 fly. Even if you are slow, men and women alike will all think you are a god for even trying.

Jimbosback
February 3rd, 2011, 10:15 PM
Although it is always a temptation to let decisions ride on performance, remember that there will be about 1600 other people there who generally have the same questions you do (remember that there is only 1 winner in each event), but also have other reasons to go. Those with excuses have many more opportunities to miss the event.

It was between using this meet and rolling dice. :-)
Swimming will decide -- and more how I feel than times.

Thanks for the advice.:applaud:

A lifeguarding buddy of mine swam for Arizona (or maybe ASU). He loved it out there.

jaadams1
February 3rd, 2011, 10:54 PM
I'm going to go this spring for the sun-tan. I'll be the darkest person in town when I return, or at least red as a lobster. :banana:

aztimm
February 4th, 2011, 07:18 AM
Hopefully, there will be lodging left when I make the decision.

There are always hotels here, it is just a matter of how close you want to be to the pool. If you decide to go and can't find something, shoot me a PM. Since I live here, I may be able to help.


As for going or not, I went the last time it was here in Arizona but had a rather bad experience and skipped my last event. Really put a bad taste in my mouth and turned me off from all meets until last year I finally did one. I'll be out of town when it is going on this year, competing in a running race across the country.

pwb
February 4th, 2011, 10:46 AM
Hopefully, there will be lodging left when I make the decision.The greater Phoenix area is built around tourism and by that time of April many of the snowbirds will be gone. There will be loads of lodging. Even if you head up into north Scottsdale or downtown Phoenix, you're 20-30 minutes from the pool outside of rush hour.

Chris Stevenson
February 4th, 2011, 03:10 PM
The greater Phoenix area is built around tourism and by that time of April many of the snowbirds will be gone. There will be loads of lodging. Even if you head up into north Scottsdale or downtown Phoenix, you're 20-30 minutes from the pool outside of rush hour.

I am staying an extra day after nats for touristic stuff...would appreciate any suggestions you throw our way!

Allen Stark
February 4th, 2011, 03:17 PM
I really hate SCY and had been planning to skip Mesa for hundreds of reasons,but the meet is just so much fun I changed my mind and decided I had to go.(Now if I could just get over this :censor: cold so I could actually train for it.)

pwb
February 4th, 2011, 03:19 PM
I am staying an extra day after nats for touristic stuff...would appreciate any suggestions you throw our way!Let me know what interests you and how much time you have ...


cultural
historic
hiking
nature
casinos
chowing down
...

... and I'll do my best. Hopefully some of the other Arizonans on the forum can chime in.

ElaineK
February 4th, 2011, 04:18 PM
I really hate SCY and had been planning to skip Mesa for hundreds of reasons,but the meet is just so much fun I changed my mind and decided I had to go.(Now if I could just get over this :censor: cold so I could actually train for it.)

:applaud::applaud::applaud: Hey King Frog (Bull Frog?), I'm glad you decided to go! I'll look forward to seeing you out there! Are you and your wife making a vacation out of it? Bruce is coming out with me! :bliss:

knelson
February 4th, 2011, 04:25 PM
I am staying an extra day after nats for touristic stuff...would appreciate any suggestions you throw our way!

Last time I was there I visited Taliesin West. Pretty much a must-see for Frank Lloyd Wright fans!

http://www.franklloydwright.org/fllwf_web_091104/Tours.html

orca1946
February 4th, 2011, 05:44 PM
Unattached ha ha ha :d

Chris Stevenson
February 4th, 2011, 07:00 PM
Let me know what interests you and how much time you have ...


cultural
historic
hiking
nature
casinos
chowing down
...

... and I'll do my best. Hopefully some of the other Arizonans on the forum can chime in.

Cultural, historic, nature. I'd love to do hiking, but I'll have my parents with me too and they can only handle so much... Thanks! Looking forward to it.

Paul Smith
February 4th, 2011, 08:29 PM
I am staying an extra day after nats for touristic stuff...would appreciate any suggestions you throw our way!

Chris, call..email...or Facebook me and let me know what you are looking for? One thing that I haven't done but hear great things about is the Musical Instrument Museum: http://www.themim.org/

Hiking Camelback Mountain if you have anything left in your legs: http://phoenix.gov/PARKS/hikecmlb.html

Or a day trip to Sedona??

Muppet
February 7th, 2011, 01:58 PM
To me, swimming is an individual sport first and foremost. Some of the races against other swimmers are great, and when you have enough teammates to do relays and/or compete for a team banner, that makes it more fun. But in the end, it is just you against the clock.

I've never come to Nationals with my goal to beat someone (other than desire to be faster than my fiancee's 200 backstroke) or to finish in a certain position, though that National Champion title would be nice. To me, Nationals has always been about a time on the clock.

So Jimbo, and any other wafflers, my advice to you is that if you want to set a goal for yourself, why not make it Nationals? Train for it, taper for it, shave, maybe buy a nice suit... and who knows, you may surprise yourself!

pwb
February 7th, 2011, 03:33 PM
Here are some initial thoughts:


Cultural

Heard Museum (http://www.heard.org/): (http://www.heard.org/%29:) best for Native American history/culture. If you're done swimming and they're cooking up fry bread, get it and enjoy!
Museum of Instrument Museum as Paul mentioned above
Scottsdale Galleries (http://www.scottsdalegalleries.com) -- a wide mixture of styles and easily walkable with loads of restaurants and watering holes to stop into
Phoenix Art Museum (http://www.phxart.org/) -- art-lovers have told me this was better than they expected. Maybe their expectations were lower thinking that we're some desert outpost.


Hiking

My favorite "visitors trail" is Pinnacle Peak (http://www.pinnaclepeakpark.com/) because this trail gets you out of the city, has great natural scenery and is moderate. Chris, this would be perfect for your parents. About 45 minutes from Kino.

If you do this mid-morning and want a greasy burger in an old western outdoor setting, head over to nearby Greasewood Flat for lunch (http://www.greasewoodflat.net/).


Phoenix Mountain preserve (http://phoenix.gov/PARKS/hikphgud.html) has a great mix of trails for differing abilities/desires. The most popular (but not easy) is Piestewa Peak (formerly Squaw Peak), basically a stair climber to one of the best view points in the valley. By May, you'll probably want to hike this early. About 30-35 minutes from Kino pool.
Camelback Mountain, as mentioned.
South Mountain Park (http://www.phoenixasap.com/south-mountain-park.html) has endless miles of hiking for all levels and desires.

Eat at the Farm at South Mountain (http://www.thefarmatsouthmountain.com/) when you're down in this area.




Nature

I'm not a huge fan of our zoo (the habitats are sometimes so good for the animals that you can't see them!), but it's about 20 minutes from the Kino pool and will allow you to see a lot of the desert animals that you normally wouldn't see back east or up north.
If you love desert landscaping and cacti, the Desert Botanical Garden (http://www.dbg.org/) is practically next door to the zoo and a great place for a stroll.


Oh yeah, if you've got energy left and want to get a head start on your long course training, come swim Monday morning at Cactus Pool at 5:30am with one of the greatest Masters Coaches in the country, Laura Winslow!

If you're actually interested in this, better PM me around the meet to see if Laura's going to be there Monday morning. She's working much of the Nationals meet, so she might have a substitute coach.



I made some restaurant recommendations here: U.S. Masters Swimming Discussion Forums - View Single Post - 2011 Spring Nationals - Mesa, AZ.

PM me with any specific things you're interested in and I'll do my best.

Chris Stevenson
February 7th, 2011, 05:31 PM
Wow: thanks, Patrick!

Michael Heather
February 7th, 2011, 05:51 PM
Without stepping on Pat and Paul's feet, there is a lot to do and see around ASU, including Frank Lloyd Wright's last commission, the Grady Gammage Auditorium. Close and easy to walk. Almost all of the rest of my suggestions would be 35 years old.

Conniekat8
February 9th, 2011, 12:21 AM
... if you are not going to beat anybody?

Because it's fun to go, hang out with people.... and with big teams like mine, hang out with your friends and teammates.

Ahelee Sue Osborn
February 9th, 2011, 10:50 AM
As much as USMS Nationals is our prestigious championships each season, it offers so much more than high level competition.

There are hundreds of my friends I only see in person once or twice a year at Nationals. I LOVE it and have never had a disappointing time at one of these meets!

And people I have never seen at a meet or workout, show up on deck to support their swimmer or participate in relays. It's wonderful.
The dinner gatherings after the meet each evening are a social mingling highlight.

You can count on a huge venue with lots of places to meet each other or sit for a quiet chat - or a pre-race meditation. If you need advice on anything swimming, there are experts all around the pool deck.

USMS and their clubs don't throw a bigger party than the National Championships!
(add Paul & Laura Smith into that mix and it is a guaranteed great time)

Posted the registration link on my Facebook page... the hardest part is deciding what to swim!
http://www.usms.org/comp/scnats11/

orca1946
February 9th, 2011, 11:26 AM
Can you swim both the 1000 & 1650?

Jimbosback
February 16th, 2011, 11:28 AM
Just wanted to update. I still really want to go, but I am waffling.

So, I have decided to put my fate in my performance in the Valentine's Meet I'm swimming.

If I feel good in my 4 events (50 Fly, 100 IM, 50 BR, 100 BR) and my times have not gotten worse, I am going to go to nationals.


Well, I had a pretty good meet. Day 1 was great. I dropped my 100 IM by 1.58 (didn't quite break 1:10) and dropped my 50 Br (LCM conversion) by over 2 seconds.

Day 2, I warmed up too early, and there was a delay, and I felt myself tightening up, swam a little until I felt good, but had a tight 50 fly. Cruised it, only breathed twice, was hardly out of breath at the end, but could not turn on the jets and went .5 off my best. 100 Br, I also felt a little tight at the beginning and went out too slow but still beat my best by 1.6.

I just have to make the flights work, and I'll be there in the slow heats at nationals. Now to map out a training plan (and figure out how to properly warm up at a long meet). :applaud:

Jimbosback
March 13th, 2011, 09:56 PM
I just wanted to say that the online registration for Nationals was one of the best laid-out and easiest to use online forms ever. Super that all my member info was auto-filled and all the options were right there and easy to understand.

See you in Mesa.

TRYM_Swimmer
March 14th, 2011, 10:34 PM
I just wanted to say that the online registration for Nationals was one of the best laid-out and easiest to use online forms ever. Super that all my member info was auto-filled and all the options were right there and easy to understand.

See you in Mesa.

Have fun! When you find out how great it is, we'll plan on seeing you in Greensboro next year.

Jimbosback
March 14th, 2011, 10:50 PM
Have fun! When you find out how great it is, we'll plan on seeing you in Greensboro next year.


Hoping to go, and hoping to move up a few heats by then too!

awoods
March 15th, 2011, 03:25 PM
I went to short course yards nationals in Atlanta knowing I did'nt stand a prayer in medaling in any race (and I did'nt). However, I volunteered as a lane timer (at times that did'nt interfere with my races) which gave me free parking, a free shirt, snacks, and the best part of all..... I got to watch and meet past and present olympians and some real inspirational people race from deck level.