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View Full Version : Swim meets for a clueless newbie



ssumargo
January 4th, 2017, 05:05 PM
I am thinking of participating a swim meet, just to experience it once in my life. I had a lot of reservations about signing up for a meet. But after reading some of the threads in the forums, my fears have subsided.

1. I can't do flip turns very well. It seems I can do open turns instead.
2. I fear my goggles will pop off during my dive. Looks like I can start in the water which I am more comfortable with anyways.

But there are a few things that I'm still wondering about.

1. I'm pretty slow. I've read somewhere that most meets have a "slow heat"? What does that mean really? So you could have multiple people being #1 for the same age group? And how can you tell if a meet has several heats?
2. Why is it when I view some of the past event results, some events have rankings for the top 3 swimmers and some have only 1? I am attaching a screenshot of what I am talking about. Does that mean there was only 1 person swimming in that event?
3. How does one finish off for freestyle? Do you have to press a buzzer?

swimark
January 4th, 2017, 05:32 PM
Good for you willing trying it.

1. Heats are usually broken down from slowest to fastest from the swimmer's seed time. That seed time is entered by the swimmer at the time of (swim meet) registration and it should be what they think they will swim. Sometimes if it's unknown (first time swimmer, or a swimmer back from a break\injury) then they may allow you to enter "NT" or No Time. Then that swimmer will be automatically placed in the slowest heat. Some meets will not allow a "NT" so a best guess is requested\required.

More on the heats... if there are 18 swimmers for a particular event, the slowest 6 swimmers will be in heat 1, the next 6 will be in heat 2 and the fastest 6 will be in heat 3.

2. As for the results of the meet, events are broken down into age groups (and also male\female), every 5 years (20-24, 25-29, 30-34, etc...). So it's possible there may be more in one age group than another. Also regardless of the heat, the fastest time in that age group will be ranked #1.

3. As for the finish. Most of the time there is an electronic touch pad. It's attached to the wall underneath the starting blocks at the water line and extending down a couple of feet. You just need to touch it. However if there are no touch pads (unlikely) then there will be timers with stop watches and you just need to touch the wall.

Sumorunner
January 4th, 2017, 07:21 PM
Me too. I've got my eyes on one Jan 21st in Schenectady, NY. Haven't registered yet, but it's about a 90% certainty now. I have had the same questions and people assure me I won't make a complete fool of myself. As for speed, I have none. As runner for 40 years, racing anything short of a mile was a waste of time. I have no pool times other than training workouts.

My quandary is which event to enter. 50y (best 54) or 100y (best 2:10)? But I swim a casual 1k-2k yds 3-4 days a week and am most comfortable at 500 yds. I worry that my 12 minutes or so will hold up the whole show and tick people off.

scales
January 5th, 2017, 08:52 AM
I worry that my 12 minutes or so will hold up the whole show and tick people off.

As a newer swimmer having competed in only two meets myself so far, I can tell you this will simply not be the case. Masters events are full of people excited to swim and perform for themselves and their team. They are not judgmental, and in fact, if you are a first time swimmer getting involved in a longer, harder swim, then you should be getting nothing but kudos.

Here are my suggestions for you:

1. Absolutely go to a meet.

2. Enter times of "NT", or just something incredibly slow for your time. This will ensure you're with peers and not the Ledecky heat.

3. Enter every event you'd like to try. This is the critical thing to remember...for the next 18-24 months, every meet you enter is going to be practice. You shouldn't even worry about your times, because ya know wha? Every time you post at your first meet is a personal best. Those PBs will help you establish goals, and over time you'll understand what you want to swim more of.

4. Open turns are fine. At my first meet I swam open turns for all my events, and was really proud of what I put on the board in the end. Do learn flip turns after the meet, though. Don't feel pressured to do it at any time, but know that you'll get more satisfaction from competitive swimming if your physically capable of flip turns.

5. A double cap configuration can help you with goggle woes. Latex on head, then goggles, then silicon. Bada bing, bada boom. Snug as a bug in a rug.

6. Make sure to warm up and warm down, don't be nervous about either. Remember, you're already slow (me too)...doing a healthy, injury-preventing warm up isn't going to slow you down more. A warm down is necessary for the same reason.

7. Make sure to maintain your nutrition habits, don't change your diet for the meet and make sure you hydrate (you know this from running)

8. Have no fear.

9. Have no fear.

10. Just swim.

knelson
January 5th, 2017, 05:56 PM
3. Enter every event you'd like to try.

But not all at the same meet, I hope :)

Personally I usually limit myself to three races per day to make sure I've got adequate recovery time. Also avoid entering back-to-back events. Many local meets will only have a few heats per event, so you'll want to spread your events out.

orca1946
January 5th, 2017, 06:53 PM
We will welcome you at any of our meets! Good for you to give it a try. On the finish - don't just grab the top of the touch/finish pad --- push the FRONT to stop the clock. The top does not have the ability to stop the timer. Just have fun & don't worry where you finish.
You are faster than anyone that is on the couch !!

ourswimmer
January 6th, 2017, 12:46 AM
2. Enter times of "NT", or just something incredibly slow for your time. This will ensure you're with peers and not the Ledecky heat.

No; swim the event in practice and then enter that time. You'll almost certainly swim faster in the meet, but a practice time trial at least will get you in the right range for your first race.

Karl_S
January 6th, 2017, 09:03 AM
No; swim the event in practice and then enter that time. You'll almost certainly swim faster in the meet, but a practice time trial at least will get you in the right range for your first race.
Agree.

Sumorunner
January 8th, 2017, 11:48 AM
OK, I'm in. Just registered for the Adirondack LMSC meet in Rotterdam, NY, Jan. 21. I signed up for the 50y-free and 200y-free. I might have tried the 500y but it is only two events after the 50y.

orca1946
January 8th, 2017, 01:22 PM
Let us know how you do.

FindingMyInnerFish
January 8th, 2017, 01:31 PM
But not all at the same meet, I hope :)

Personally I usually limit myself to three races per day to make sure I've got adequate recovery time. Also avoid entering back-to-back events. Many local meets will only have a few heats per event, so you'll want to spread your events out.

I actually did a back to back 50 and 500--I can't remember now which one came first, but I think it was the 500, which allowed me to warm up for the 50. I wasn't fast in either, but I didn't die. :)

aztimm
January 9th, 2017, 02:25 PM
I actually did a back to back 50 and 500--I can't remember now which one came first, but I think it was the 500, which allowed me to warm up for the 50. I wasn't fast in either, but I didn't die. :)

I did a back-to-back 1500 LCM then maybe 5 min rest (at the most) before I swam the 100m. I didn't think I'd be in the fastest heat of the 1500, and expected 20+ min rest. But most of the fast people who were doing both either sandbagged or did NT.

I think that I did PB's in both events. Had a really good race for the 100.



As for a newbie doing meets... I'd see if the meet was offered in the past, or a similar meet nearby, and check through the results. If you're really concerned at being out of synch, you could always contact the meet organizer, or someone else who may be doing it.

I was once seeded in a 200 SCM free with 2 Olympians who both entered NT. I didn't show up for the meet at all (one or both were in all of my other events too). But I heard that they lapped everyone in that heat, and some twice.

knelson
January 10th, 2017, 10:43 AM
I actually did a back to back 50 and 500--I can't remember now which one came first, but I think it was the 500, which allowed me to warm up for the 50. I wasn't fast in either, but I didn't die. :)

In 2013 I swam the 200, 400 and 800 long course free relays back-to-back-to-back. They don't offer those events often, so a few of us wanted to swim them all. If I recall correctly I swam anchor on the 400, then had to get right up on the blocks and lead off the 800. That was fun. :)

He's an excerpt from my blog at the time:

After that there was a short break and then we swam three relays in a row, in consecutive heats. I anchored the 200 free relay and the 400 free relay, but then had to lead-off the 800 free relay. At least there was a team 100 meters back in the 400, so I did have a solid two minutes rest before I had to do a 200! I'm somewhat amazed I was able to split a 2:16 in the 200. There was a guy two lanes over who was right with me, and I think that helped. I told myself before these relays I was just going to cruise, but somehow when the race happens the adrenaline kicks in.

This kind of thing is fun for the novelty once in a while, but not the best strategy if you are actually trying to swim as fast as possible!

Nichollsvi
January 10th, 2017, 07:19 PM
If this helps, I didn't learn to really swim at all until about 5 years ago. I learned to do 100 and 200 fly (slow but still legal) and am going to try all 5 200 strokes in a month, and the 500 free the next day.

Crazy? Yeah. You have 3 choices in life: give up, give in, or give it all you got. I can look at my self for failing. I just can't look at myself and say I didn't try to be more than I thought I could be.

I felt that way over the first 100 fly. The same way on the 400 IM ... and then doing a 400 IM followed by the 50 back (I didn't get out of the pool) and the same for the 200 fly and 50 back. I will have those memories forever.

I'd rather be at the top of a hill, puking, in pain, on top of the world, rather than at the bottom wondering what it felt like to be on top. It all depends on attitude.

Besides, if you ask, I've always had people willing to give hints, tips, comments. That advice has been helpful. Worth the price of a meet.

ssumargo
January 11th, 2017, 10:57 AM
I've been reviewing past event results and I see there are some events where there is only 1 swimmer. Do they still continue the event even if it's 1 swimmer? I feel so embarrassed about ending up in an event by myself while everybody else is waiting for me to just finish this lonely event so they can watch something more exciting.

Allen Stark
January 11th, 2017, 11:11 AM
I've been reviewing past event results and I see there are some events where there is only 1 swimmer. Do they still continue the event even if it's 1 swimmer? I feel so embarrassed about ending up in an event by myself while everybody else is waiting for me to just finish this lonely event so they can watch something more exciting.

It would be a very small meet to have only one swimmer in an event. Much more likely is that there was only one person of that age group and gender in the event. Most local meets are seeded by time only, so that if there are few people your age there, there will still be several people in an event. I doubt many people go to Masters meets to "watch something exciting." Sure there can be exciting races and that is fun to watch,but most want to swim well, be with friends, meet new people, encourage newcomers, etc.

cinc3100
January 13th, 2017, 08:16 PM
It would be a very small meet to have only one swimmer in an event. Much more likely is that there was only one person of that age group and gender in the event. Most local meets are seeded by time only, so that if there are few people your age there, there will still be several people in an event. I doubt many people go to Masters meets to "watch something exciting." Sure there can be exciting races and that is fun to watch,but most want to swim well, be with friends, meet new people, encourage newcomers, etc.

Well, I know how the persons feels, the last meet I did was in 2004. I'm doing a senior olympics event in Tucson, the 50 and 100 yard breaststrokes. No dolphin kick, just the old pull and kick from the turns.

orca1946
January 15th, 2017, 01:25 PM
I once did a 400 im and the next event was the 200 back that I moved over a lane & started from there in 30 seconds!!!!

Nichollsvi
January 15th, 2017, 02:04 PM
Can I quote you to my Coach? He thinks I"m loony for doing a 400 IM and a 50 back or 200 fly and 50 back right after.

ElaineK
January 16th, 2017, 12:14 PM
Can I quote you to my Coach? He thinks I"m loony for doing a 400 IM and a 50 back or 200 fly and 50 back right after.

I do those crazy combos in every local meet! In many cases, I swim the 200 fly AFTER a sprint event. Who cares what anybody else thinks?

Nichollsvi
January 16th, 2017, 10:44 PM
I knew I liked you a lot!! :) Thanks Elaine.

ElaineK
January 17th, 2017, 12:23 PM
I knew I liked you a lot!! :) Thanks Elaine.

:D Hey, if we end up at the same meet again, we'll be the crazy ones together. I was the only woman to race 200 fly at the Georgia Senior Games, and I have found myself in that position a lot at local meets. If Marianne Countryman doesn't show up to a meet, I am usually the only woman racing 200 fly and 400 IM.

Nichollsvi
January 17th, 2017, 01:38 PM
AWESOME!!!

Yes now that I learned fly (100 & 200 at 50), that is what I'm finding out. You are much faster than me, but I enjoy the challenge and the freedom to do something different.

ElaineK
January 17th, 2017, 04:07 PM
AWESOME!!!

Yes now that I learned fly (100 & 200 at 50), that is what I'm finding out. You are much faster than me, but I enjoy the challenge and the freedom to do something different.

:applaud::applaud::applaud:

Nichollsvi
January 17th, 2017, 10:02 PM
You are way too kind! :)