View Full Version : first meet....can't jump in from blocks :)

November 8th, 2017, 09:20 AM
I basically started seriously swimming this past May at 51 y/o.....I swam five 5k's and a 10k this summer and finally hooked up with a master team to start figuring out how to really learn how to swim and learn the strokes.

Anyway, I need to swim with ear plugs, just no way around it, I've tried without and always end up with swimmers ear or an actual ear infection. I've tried jumping from the blocks, and I can't do it without losing my ear plugs.

I've been told that masters do not have to start from the blocks, but at my first meet this upcoming Sunday in Munster, IN, who do I inform that I want to start in the pool, or do I even have to? I'm trying a 500 and 1650, starting from the blocks is probably more important for the 500 than the 1650.

Any advice would be very helpful


November 8th, 2017, 10:42 AM
I don't think you have to inform anyone. IF you want to start from the deck, you just stay there. if you want to start from the wall, you can jump in, I believe, when they call for swimmers to come to the blocks.

For your ears, have you tried putting in ear drops right after you get out to help the drying process so you don't have to wear plugs? There are several types out there you can get at Walgreens or online.

Good luck this weekend and let us know how you do.

November 8th, 2017, 02:00 PM
Here's a pic from an Adirondack meet last March. Half of us started from the deck. One word of caution, the deck is slippery compared to the stand. My foot slipped backwards which made me just belly flop into the water, costing at least a couple seconds.


Mark Usher
November 8th, 2017, 02:08 PM
I'm a certified starter.

At Master's meets it's not uncommon to have folks starting from either the water or the pool deck rather than the blocks, so it shouldn't be a surprise to most experienced officials.

Some swimmers will come up to the starter or deck ref prior to their race to let us know they intend to start in the water, but it's not necessary. Others will just give a wave from their lane and point to the water during the short whistles when their heat is called.

If you want to start from the water, jump in at the long whistle when the other swimmers are stepping up on the blocks.

Remember that you need to have one hand and one foot in contact with the wall and remain motionless at the starter's "Take your mark" command.

Don't be afraid to ask the officials if you have any questions, most of them are pretty nice folks. ;)

November 8th, 2017, 02:29 PM
I agree with flystorms - try one of the over the counter ear drying fluids. You can also make you own by combining 50% rubbing alcohol and 50% vinegar and using an eye dropper to put a few drops in your ears after you swim. The rubbing alcohol dries the ear and the vinegar's pH helps control microbe development.

Also, when you're ears get wet frequently from swimming, they tend to retain "wax" because it doesn't dry and fall out naturally. If you have narrow ear canals it builds up more easily. When I was a kid my mom used OTC hydrogen peroxide to get the ear wax to loosen and float up. You have to keep the peroxide in your ear for a few minutes (lots of bubbling and fizzing) and then dump it out - about once per week. It worked well, but I think in an adult the drying solutions are all that will be needed, and you might want to check before using peroxide in your ear. The peroxide breaks down to water, so in a sense you are adding water, which seems counterintuitive. There may be better solutions to remove wax, if that is a problem.

November 8th, 2017, 02:40 PM
I started in the water for my first swim meet. I saw a couple of people sitting by the pool deck with computers and stuff, so for my first event, I asked them who I should talk to about starting in the water. He said he was the right person and he put some check mark on my name. There was a person who stood at the deck as I was in the water to make sure I was in the correct starting position. Good luck!

November 8th, 2017, 06:36 PM
Thanks for this reply....! this is really what I needed to know.

November 8th, 2017, 08:32 PM
I endorse Sojerz suggestion. I've had good success using the 50/50 alcohol/vinegar solution.

November 8th, 2017, 08:49 PM
Just wondering if you could put a piece of athletic/duct/KT tape across each ear with the earplug inserted? That, and with your swim cap pulled down over your ears...would that keep them in when diving from the block?


November 12th, 2017, 10:28 AM
I usually use the ear drops and got my first and only case of swimmer's ear during a one week period when I lost my bottle and delayed replacing it. I'll never repeat that mistake! I started with the commercial bottle then refilled it with either the recipe above or just isopropyl alcohol. Make sure you get the higher concentration 90% alcohol if you are diluting it with vinegar. During that period of time when I was fighting the swimmer's ear I tried several different styles of ear plugs and found some stay in better than others. I only dove from the deck, not the blocks because the pool rules forbid diving off blocks except when specifically being coached. The wax plugs seemed to stay in better than the styles that stick out. Same was true for flip turns.

November 13th, 2017, 05:23 AM
It was good, I need to figure out a solution so I can jump in....I think I'm going to look into some earplug alternatives....the drops do not prevent my problem which is the eustachian tubes getting water in them.....water proof tape may be the answer?

November 13th, 2017, 10:54 AM
... I'm going to look into some earplug alternatives....the drops do not prevent my problem which is the eustachian tubes getting water in them.....water proof tape may be the answer?
Unless you have a torn/punctured ear drum, I don't see how earplugs or tape will keep water from getting into your Eustachian tubes because the tympanic membrane separates the external auditory canal from the middle and inner ear. If you are getting water into your Eustachian tubes it must be entering through your nose or mouth. For me, getting washed by an unexpected wave during backstroke is the quickest way to get water in all sorts of places water is not supposed to go. Some folks use nose plugs but mostly keeping the water out is a learned skill.

November 13th, 2017, 06:07 PM
Tell us about the swims you did.

November 14th, 2017, 07:14 PM
500 and 1650.....I really enjoyed the 1650 since I'm much more of an endurance person....I'm starting to learn how to breast stroke and back stroke and would like to eventually try that.....I think I have the ear issue figured out with some custom fitted ear plugs, now I just need to figure out how to keep my goggles on when I dive in...

November 15th, 2017, 04:53 PM
Tighten your goggles up just a touch more than in practice. You also should tuck your chin to your chest as you dive in and wearing a cap over your straps helps keep them in place as well.

November 16th, 2017, 12:03 PM
Once in a while, I do have the opportunity to dive off from the deck at the pool where I practice. And it took me several test dives to realize that regardless how tight my googles were, even when the straps are under the caps, my chin is tucked, my googles would always slip off. Turns out, its the goggles I was using. So I got a different set of googles and they stay on when I dive in. They have become my default goggles during swim meets.

November 17th, 2017, 05:14 AM
I guess I didn't think of trying different goggles....my 15 y/o daughter finally gave me some advice, so I'm hoping this will help; She said to position the top strap very high, and the suction of the goggles should "push-up"

November 17th, 2017, 12:05 PM
Sometimes keeping goggles sealed means going through dozens of low profile styles until you find the right one. Regarding ears, I suffered throughout my first 8 years of swimming with ear problems with numerous trips to the doctor. Found out the earplugs were the cause and the contact with water was just a catalyst. Little over a year ago I just quit using ear plugs altogether and use a cap for every swim. After swimming I rinse with a few drops of a homemade mixture (1 part everclear, 1 part vinegar, small portion of glycerin). Have not had any ear trouble since.