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shannalee80
February 9th, 2011, 09:37 PM
I just started back swimming about six months ago and about two months ago signed up for USMS because there was a Masters swim meet at my pool and I thought it would be a fun goal to eventually compete.

I am seriously thinking about signing up for my first swim meet (Colonial Zone SCY Championships) in April but I am afraid that 1)I will finish dead last in every event I do - I have gotten A LOT faster but I don't I am at race speed yet and 2)The people from my swim club might be irritated that I didn't scored well enough in my races to earn them any club points. I also don't think I will be doing any relays because I think I will hurt the team's chances in placing well. I don't know anyone else in the local swim club (VMST) I signed up for.

Right now, I think I want to do the 50 free, 50 back, and 100 back. Should I really wait to do my first swim meet or should I just do this first one for the experience? I don't want people to snicker at my times.

Allen Stark
February 9th, 2011, 09:54 PM
Go,no one but you will care if you swim slow,and I would be stunned if you don't find the people friendly and accepting.We are always glad to have new swimmers show up.

geochuck
February 9th, 2011, 09:58 PM
No one should laugh and who cares what other people think. If your team mates don't like what you do, so what.

If you are in the swim it should be for your own good.

Good luck and all power to you.

The Fortress
February 9th, 2011, 10:14 PM
Go,no one but you will care if you swim slow,and I would be stunned if you don't find the people friendly and accepting.We are always glad to have new swimmers show up.

Agree with Allen! As someone who swims for the meet host and has swum at this meet with fast swimmers and newbies alike for many years, I can assure you that you would be most welcome. No one ever snickers. Many people sign up with VMST as a default team if they don't want to swim unattached, so don't worry about VMST either. The first meet can be a little nerve wracking; you might as well take the plunge now and get some times.

200free
February 9th, 2011, 11:34 PM
Whether you're 18 or 80, slow or fast, everyone is welcome to compete. If you're worried about how you'll fit in, check out the results from last year's meet:
http://www.patriotmasters.org/ColoniesZone2010/results/index.htm

Don't worry about the points race, it's fun to try to win the team trophy but most people come to meet old friends and enjoy themselves,
and maybe use the upcoming meet as motivation to get themselves to the pool for practice.

And the relays are fun. VMST puts up many many relays at this meet and I'm sure they'd love to have you join them.

Tri-ingToTurn40
February 10th, 2011, 09:24 AM
As far as points for individual events go, if dead last = 0 points (or possibly more) and not competing = 0 points (definitely), then why not compete? :agree:

TRYM_Swimmer
February 10th, 2011, 09:58 AM
Great pool, great folks! DO IT!

knelson
February 10th, 2011, 10:04 AM
Just do it and don't worry. All of your concerns are unfounded. If you do end up dead last, who cares? At least you tried. No one will care if you don't score tons of points. Any points you do score are just a bonus for your club. As for relays, perhaps your availability will allow one more relay to swim. The vast majority of swimmers at masters meets are there just to do their best and have fun!

bzaks1424
February 10th, 2011, 10:13 AM
Swim as much as you can! Enjoy it! Everyone I've ever met at ANY meet in the nation have been AMAZING to me!

Besides - you'll probably meet The Fortress there, I've been told she's actually quite nice in person! :rofl: J.k. Les.

Jimbosback
February 10th, 2011, 10:13 AM
One thing I have learned about swimming Masters -- no one is judging anyone, especially in the areas you mentioned.

Like Al Davis might say, "Just swim, baby."

pmccoy
February 10th, 2011, 10:45 AM
I swam my first meet last year and had a lot of the same worries. It had been over 25 years since my last meet when I was in Jr. High School. Back then, being last or slow or awkward would get an occasional snide comment but even as kids most teammates knew that not much good comes from picking on other teammates. From what I've seen so far teams are very welcoming and supportive. When I travel, I'll just show up at master's practices in different parts of the country and they allways take me in and find me a lane.

As suggested by Fortress, this is the perfect time to get used to the race conditions. There's nothing on the line here so get used to the racing atmosphere and how everything runs. Worry about your times next year. You will have a fresh set of "personal bests" to train to beat and hopefully a touch of the competition bug to keep you motivated. That and a bunch of new teammates.

One suggeston: If there aren't any time (or other) constraints, enter more events. Try everything out and see what you enjoy. Last year, I entered a lot of the shorter events but I also entered the 500 free and enjoyed it more than the sprints even though I was dead last in my heat. This year, everything I'm swimming is 200 yds and up (except breast stroke).

Good luck and have fun!

ande
February 10th, 2011, 11:25 AM
You are seriously thinking about signing up for your first swim meet the Colonial Zone SCY Championships in April
DO IT, its fun

BUT you are afraid that

1) you will finish dead last in every event I do - I have gotten A LOT faster but I don't I am at race speed yet
SO, YOU ARE ONLY COMPETING WITH YOU

2) The people from my swim club might be irritated that I didn't scored well enough in my races to earn them any club points.
HONESTLY, THEY DON'T CARE IF YOU SCORE POINTS OR NOT.
BE A NICE PERSON AND HAVE FUN

I also don't think I will be doing any relays because I think I will hurt the team's chances in placing well.
RELAYS PUT UP THE 4 FASTEST SWIMMERS WHO WANT TO SWIM

I don't know anyone else in the local swim club (VMST) I signed up for.
MAKE FRIENDS, start with Leslie

ENTER THE 50 free, 50 back, and 100 back.

Should I really wait to do my first swim meet?
NO

should I just do this first one for the experience?
YES

I don't want people to snicker at my times
THEY WON'T AND IF THEY DO, THEY SUCK.

now prepare for the meet
you can swim faster faster


get a speedy suit





I just started back swimming about six months ago and about two months ago signed up for USMS because there was a Masters swim meet at my pool and I thought it would be a fun goal to eventually compete.

I am seriously thinking about signing up for my first swim meet (Colonial Zone SCY Championships) in April but I am afraid that 1)I will finish dead last in every event I do - I have gotten A LOT faster but I don't I am at race speed yet and 2)The people from my swim club might be irritated that I didn't scored well enough in my races to earn them any club points. I also don't think I will be doing any relays because I think I will hurt the team's chances in placing well. I don't know anyone else in the local swim club (VMST) I signed up for.

Right now, I think I want to do the 50 free, 50 back, and 100 back. Should I really wait to do my first swim meet or should I just do this first one for the experience? I don't want people to snicker at my times.

bzaks1424
February 10th, 2011, 11:28 AM
THEY WON'T AND IF THEY DO, THEY SUCK.

Thank you Ande - that made my quote of the day.

kgernert
February 10th, 2011, 11:29 AM
As someone who only started competing a year ago, I've found that instead of snickering at slower times, people who know it's your first meet (or first time swimming a particular event) are that much MORE supportive. So go and have fun! You never know... the competition bug just might bite you too! :D

GOOD LUCK! :cheerleader:

nkfrench
February 10th, 2011, 11:31 AM
My first Masters coach said Zones can actually be a decent place for a "first meet" as there are more participants and more liklihood that you will have somebody about your speed to race against; and there will be more time between events so you can recharge.

Slow people go to meets too. It's not just newbies or old people or those with disabilities. Some of us are just ... slow.

Very few people give a rat's *** about your times, how many points you earned, what medals/ribbons you got. Those are for you to enjoy.

It's not always about being the first to the wall. Seeing an improvement in my "masters" best times is more fun than beating somebody while doing a sub-par swim.

couldbebetterfly
February 10th, 2011, 11:37 AM
As everyone else says, just go for it! At my very first masters meet, I was nervous and thought I swam really slow as I was comparing myself with my age-group times.

However everyone I met was so supportive and thought I'd done great and convinced me that I was starting a fresh chapter. Now I menatlly reset my PRs after each life event (yeah, yeah its still nice to get close to all time PRs and is a long term goal, but I don't beat myself up about it). Some people I know reset when they age up.

Get the experience and enjoy it. Be the best you can be with what you've got right now :)

no200fly
February 10th, 2011, 11:42 AM
My advice - don't swim the 200 fly or 400 IM - otherwise, just have fun.

ElaineK
February 10th, 2011, 11:53 AM
Great post, Ande! :applaud: I agree with Ande and every other poster before me. I was a newbie, one year ago today- exactly! :bliss:My first meet was a big one at the end of March, shortly after joining. It had been 31 years since I had last competed, so I didn't have much of a clue, to say the least. Everyone I talked to at the meet was so helpful and encouraging; even one of the meet volunteers from a competing club was cheering me on! I even swam a relay (thanks, Rob Copeland!) and had a blast doing it. Rob was a ringer on the relay, but the two of us gals were slow at backstroke and breaststroke (me). But, nobody cared; we were giving each other high-5's and cheering each other on.

Whatever you do, take the leap and swim at this meet! I'm still thankful I did! I even went to Nationals as a newbie and (almost) came in dead-last in my age group. NOBODY CARED!

Good luck!
:cheerleader:

shannalee80
February 10th, 2011, 08:04 PM
Thanks for the advice and encouragement!


My advice - don't swim the 200 fly or 400 IM - otherwise, just have fun.

Why?

pmccoy
February 10th, 2011, 08:26 PM
Why?If you can swim a legal 200 fly, by all means go for it. You will probably win by default since not many people sign up for it.

shannalee80
February 10th, 2011, 08:34 PM
If you can swim a legal 200 fly, by all means go for it. You will probably win by default since not many people sign up for it.

I was just wondering. One of my goals in swimming is to finally learn the butterfly and master the breaststroke.

__steve__
February 10th, 2011, 08:53 PM
I don't want people to snicker at my times.There will be no snickering. No one pays attention unless something drastic happens - like your suit falls off on the blocks. Right now I recall the first time I was ever on the blocks about 12 months ago(didnt swim as a kid)> Not being familiar with the cues I hesitated on the blocks while glancing at the marshall. Everyone else was in the water, I couldnt hear the horn with earplugs in:blush:. I reviewed the video and the only laugh I heard was from my wife.

no200fly
February 10th, 2011, 09:07 PM
Thanks for the advice and encouragement!



Why?

They are the hardest races I can imagine.

celticbass1
February 11th, 2011, 04:29 PM
January 2011 was officially my fourth month back in the water after a 25 year lay-off and I decided to compete in a Masters Swim Meet. I had some of the same concerns that you have except that at that time I was swimming unattached and didn't know a single person associated with Michigan Masters swimming.

I can tell you a couple of things: 1. You'll probably be faster than you think, and if you aren't, absolutely no one will laugh at or snicker at you. 2. If the swim meet is anything like the two meets I've now been to, everyone will be very friendly and help you understand anything you don't understand. 3. If you're anything like me, racing will get back in to your blood and you won't be able to get enough of it.

I would disagree slightly with one of the earlier posts that told you to sign up for as many events as possible to see which ones you like. I would say sign up for whatever makes you comfortable and be prepared to be much more fatigued than you would ever expect from a few short races, I was.

My last bit of advice would be to make sure you swim a nice easy workout the day after the meet. I swam my first meet, skipped workout for three days, and my muscles were so full of lactic acid they hardly moved.

By the way, next week I'm headed to my third meet of 2011.

Good luck!!!!

Czarazuk
February 11th, 2011, 06:30 PM
Reading all of the posts above should be proof enough that Masters swimmers are good people. Compete and enjoy.

orca1946
February 11th, 2011, 06:46 PM
Most of all - have fun. Most swimmers will not even look at your time, maybe your coach.

AnnG
February 13th, 2011, 11:17 AM
All these posters are right on the money, and as far as the relays, you never know what strategy you might fit into. For our association meet I have teammates who pour over all the possible combinations of swimmers to place us in the age groups where we have the best chance of scoring points, you might be surprized how you fit in! A relay needs four swimmers and you just might be the key to placing a team in a soft age group. So don't be afraid of signing up for relays, they are a blast. My mantra has always been: Any Relay any time any where.

shannalee80
February 28th, 2011, 07:02 PM
Okay, I will sign up for the Colonies Zone SCY very soon - not sure what events I will do yet. But, I am nervous about the forward starts - how many people really do it with the push off the wall? I have never even tried the starting blocks or from the deck.

You guys have been giving great advice so far! :)

swimshark
February 28th, 2011, 08:25 PM
Okay, I will sign up for the Colonies Zone SCY very soon - not sure what events I will do yet. But, I am nervous about the forward starts - how many people really do it with the push off the wall? I have never even tried the starting blocks or from the deck.

You guys have been giving great advice so far! :)

There will be quite a few people there doing wall starts. Zones is a big meet but don't let that worry you. It's a fun meet, too.

And I look forward to meeting you there.

__steve__
February 28th, 2011, 09:20 PM
I have never even tried the starting blocks or from the deck.

I never dove from the block either a little over a year ago. Just make sure your hands are locked to each other before entry.

If you practice beforehand on your own (off block or even side of pool), make sure it is deep enough and someone is nearby.

greenjeans11
March 12th, 2011, 01:56 PM
I just swam my first meet last week. I entered a 50 back, 100 back, and 100 IM. It was my first meet ever. I was amazed how encouraging everyone was. I've been going to weekly practices for maybe 3 months. Nothing bad happened, I found myself swimming "against" men and women because it was a smaller meet, I guess- meaning we were in the same heat, so no one knew my age as they watched me.

All I got was encouragement, praise, from folks on other teams and my own. Any good Masters team would welcome a new competitor, it appears. I actually didn't pay attention to my times, just entered the experience of competing. I likely was last in all 3 races and could care less- once the results are posted, I'll have times to include for my next meet.

Best of all I learned a ton, you will too. Because of very recent eye surgery I started all my races in the pool, since I'm not doctor-cleared to dive from a platform. It was legal- slower, but no losing my goggles. Deck entries- sign up the same day for more events. 3 in 1 day was fine for me. No watches allowed during a race. Etc.

ColoJoel
March 13th, 2011, 07:05 PM
After viewing the results (times) from 2 recent meets in Colorado on the COMSA web page ("Highlands Ranch Short & Sweet" & "Mile High Masters Invitational"), I decided then, that there is no way that I will ever be able to (or want to) swim in one, period! :afraid::shakeshead:

cheakamus
March 13th, 2011, 11:57 PM
The best advice I got for my first swim meet, three years ago, came from my then-coach, John Fedena. He told me to get to the pool early and, if at all possible, do a few warm-up laps in the pool I would actually be competing in. I did as he said, as was I glad I did. The pool had a moveable bulkhead, which created weird visual effects as I approached it I couldn't tell whether I was looking at it, through it, or under it. The first few laps I either ran smack into it, or flipped too soon and missed it altogether. But by about the 10th lap, I finally figured out exactly where to look, and I had no problem in the actual race. Had I not found this out beforehand, it would have been a disaster.

Something else you might want to find out before your first meet is what the actual starts consist of I mean the bells and the whistles (and buzzers). Nobody thought to tell me that, since everyone else has been doing it so long it's just obvious except to me! I did sort of figure it out from watching the first few heats, but then I had a false start (not my fault!) in one of my races.

I can't remember whether they blew a whistle or I just noticed everyone else stop swimming, but we had to climb out of the pool and do it all over again, by which time I was thoroughly spooked. On the second start, I dove in, but then I noticed a red flashing light in my peripheral vision. "Oh no, another false start," I thought, and stopped swimming. Only to see the rest of the swimmers swimming furiously toward the far wall. It only cost me about 10 seconds (and a red face!) Someone told me later that the flashing light I saw might have had something to do with the timing. I'm still not sure how the ref actually does signal a false start.

hofffam
March 15th, 2011, 06:06 PM
I do not agree with the recommendation to enter a bunch of events. I think you should enter 2-4 events a day and choose events you feel comfortable swimming. Racing is tiring. You may not recover so quickly after a race and it might be best to space the events apart to get some rest between. Be sure to warm down after each race for at least a few minutes.

Otherwise go for it. We all had that "first meet" and I am willing to bet not one of us had a bad experience.

Water-For-Life
March 15th, 2011, 06:16 PM
One thing I have learned about swimming Masters -- no one is judging anyone, especially in the areas you mentioned.


This is so true. I LOVE the friendly atmosphere of Masters and I agree with everyone else, just do it! One of my favourite quotes is actually from a book about running, Born to Run, but it embodies Masters swimming so perfectly:

"The reason we race isn't so much to beat each other... as it is to be with each other."

You have to start somewhere; go enjoy yourself!

ColoJoel
May 14th, 2011, 04:43 PM
Well, everyone, since my last post in early March (& others on other forums) about Never!! wanting to (or feeling able to) attend a meet, I've had a change of heart, & early this week signed up for one.
A large factor was my master's coach who felt I should go to it (& for that I applaud his confidence in me doing so), mostly to see what one is about.

Also I felt that, for example, Many people run marathons, half-marathons, Tri's, etc, and do them NOT to win, but rather-- to 'just do it'. That's where I feel I am at right now--I will give it a shot & see how I do, as many others have remarked.
I signed up for 50, 100, & 200 FR and 50 BR. It will be LCM so fewer turns to worry about :).

June 5 in Denver
I am holding no preconceived notions about what it will be like -- I'll know better when it's over!

ElaineK
May 14th, 2011, 04:57 PM
Well, everyone, since my last post in early March (& others on other forums) about Never!! wanting to (or feeling able to) attend a meet, I've had a change of heart, & early this week signed up for one.
A large factor was my master's coach who felt I should go to it (& for that I applaud his confidence in me doing so), mostly to see what one is about.

Also I felt that, for example, Many people run marathons, half-marathons, Tri's, etc, and do them NOT to win, but rather-- to 'just do it'. That's where I feel I am at right now--I will give it a shot & see how I do, as many others have remarked.
I signed up for 50, 100, & 200 FR and 50 BR. It will be LCM so fewer turns to worry about :).

June 5 in Denver
I am holding no preconceived notions about what it will be like -- I'll know better when it's over!

Good luck, Joel! :cheerleader: Just go with the idea of having fun, meeting other swimmers and enjoying yourself. During warm-ups, you may want to introduce yourself to other swimmers in your lane. And, do the same on the bench, in between events. Getting to know other swimmers is what has made my meet experiences so enjoyable and memorable!

ColoJoel
August 7th, 2011, 08:39 PM
Well, 2 months ago I went to my first meet (a couple of posts back), at that one I did 'deck starts' (no block starts), got DQ'ed in the 50 BR due to extra dolphin kicks, but otherwise it was a great experience (my masters coach went also & gave me LOTS of great advice :-). From that (since that) BR DQ I've been working on my BR whip kick.

Saturday Aug 6, went to my second meet (put on by the same club, at the same pool -- Lowry 50 meter outdoor in Denver); this time entered the 50 & 100 FR and 50 & 100 BR. Goals were to: better my times on the FR, to not DQ on the BR, and to do block starts.

Well, I accomplished all of those goals :) except I did DQ on the 100 BR -- I still have a problem with my kick where I'll touch my feet together after the kick, then sometimes will seperate them during the pull (I suppose) and my feet flutter -- that caused it. :confused:. But that's OK, something more to work on. On my 100 FR I took 8 seconds off the time from June -- I am extremely pleased with that (mostly because I didn't slow down on second 50 vs first 50 as much as last time). No problems with block starts either although I'd like to improve them too.

All in all, a very enjoyable experience :). I even talked to a few fellow swimmers too! Most meets in Colo are indoors so this was a treat. I'd like to keep refining my strokes, keep improving, & keep attending meets in order to test myself on how I'm doing & to be a part of the meet experiences -- different than practices for sure. Although I look at what the others results are, for me at least, I only care about what I do, how I can improve, what goals I need to be setting . . . that's what's great about Masters . . . :applaud: -- I may even try some BK events at indoor meets!

As I sometimes tell others -- I don't feel I'm doing too bad considering that I never swam competitively until 2 months ago, & I'm 50 (but so happy when most people take me for 40 or even younger :) -- fountain of youth, perhaps?).

ElaineK
August 8th, 2011, 05:28 AM
Way to go, Joel! :applaud: Glad to hear you had such enjoyable experiences and feel inspired to keep on swimming. I have had a blast since joining USMS, in Feb. 2010. And, the most enjoyable experiences have been at the three Nationals meets I attended; especially this last one.

The best suggestion I can make to you is to keep on the forums, soak up all the wisdom from your fellow forumites, and attend any and every Nationals meets you can! It is an experience you will never forget. :cheerleader:

Cheers!
:chug: