PDA

View Full Version : Those who have competed at Zones meets



FindingMyInnerFish
October 29th, 2007, 12:30 AM
I am considering doing a couple events at the Colonies Zone meet at Rutgers, but I have to admit to being a little concerned about the following:

1. I'm a slow swimmer, and while this has not stopped me from going into smaller, low-key meets, I don't know how it would work for a championship meet. The events I'm considering are the 100 and/or 200 free, and the best I've done in the 100 is something in the low 2 mins., for the 200, 4:21 or 4:22. I recently had a coach do a video analysis of my stroke and he made some very helpful suggestions, but of course I don't look for miracles by December 8. Obviously I want to improve on these times, but would I be totally out of my league in a Zone meet like this? Or are there others getting aroudn these same times (hey, it's okay if those others are 95... just don't want to be totally by myself in the pool as the officials look nervously from their watches to me and back).

2. I know I have to get past my anxiety about getting on the starting block--I've done some dives in practice but not recently... and when I did, I felt very uncomfortable, always afraid I'd slip. In past meets I've done either in-water starts or at most would dive off the side of the pool, but maybe that's kind of dorky for a championship meet. Not that I've ever let the dorkiness of a particular choice stop me if I feel it's the best choice for me... ;) But just in case I decide to try the starting block, do any of you have tips on (a) keeping the nerves under control and (b) getting a safe, not too awful looking dive? Coordination has never been one of my strengths, but I do want to be open to trying things that don't feel comfortable.

Thanks for the input! btw, I'm going to meet with the above-mentioned coach for a few more sessions. He's terrific! Maybe I could ask him to talk me through some starts.

swimshark
October 29th, 2007, 07:47 AM
Relax and do the meet. You'll be fine with your times. Yes, there will be people there who are faster but there will be slower people, too. It doesn't matter, though. This is masters swimming - all are welcome no matter your speed!

As for the blocks, I have issues with them lately, too. I feel like I'm going to fall off. If you don't want to start from them, dive from the deck. It is perfectly legal. You can start from in the pool but if you can dive from the deck, do it. There will be people there starting from the deck as well as those starting from in the water.

As for anxiety - take deep breaths. If it helps, picture your race in your head before you get near the blocks. I usually do this to calm myself down.

And most of all enjoy the meet!

Alison

FindingMyInnerFish
October 29th, 2007, 07:59 AM
Thanks Alison!

Meets are so few and far between in Philly and I figure this is fairly close and a good opportunity to keep myself motivated until the next meet opportunity in Philly/metro area. Plus, it would be fun to meet some "forumites" in person!

I tend to be the "caboose" in my masters' swim practices, but I long since decided not to let that worry me--getting the workout is better than not getting the workout. But I'd been wanting for a while to just have some individual coaching sessions to see if I could tweak my stroke a bit and improve on it. My former masters' coach recommended the guy I'm going to now--and he definitely picked a winner! So maybe I can finally reach my goal of a sub-2 min. 100 free!

imspoiled
October 29th, 2007, 11:20 AM
FMIF-

I agree with Alison. You'll be fine. Likely not the fastest or the slowest, so just go out there and do your best.

Not sure what part of Philly you're in, but if you're willing to go as far as Rutgers, there are more meets in the area beginning in January. Phoenixville Y has a nice SCM meet in January, and there's a SCY meet at the Boyertown Y.
Check out http://www.dvmasters.org/events.php for local meets.

Hope to see you at Rutgers!
Dana

Blackbeard's Peg
October 29th, 2007, 11:39 AM
FMIF,
Don't let the title of the meet deter you. The same speeds of swimmers are at every meet, just more (in terms of volume) show up for the bigger ones. Rutgers is a good time - they have a nice pool. Bring your snowshoes though - every time I go up there for this meet, it snows!

hofffam
October 29th, 2007, 11:44 AM
I think you'll be very satisfied with yourself after the meet. You should do it. It is an accomlishment to RACE as a mature adult instead of sitting on the couch watching TV.

As for the blocks.... I suggest not worrying AT ALL about being fast off the block. Much of the stress of a start is the tension while you are waiting for the beep, then trying to go fast. Think instead about just getting in the water cleanly with your head down and your hands together. Practice of course before the meet and during warmup. You might even practice a few starts early in warmup before the line develops so you can take your time. The water should be plenty deep for a Zones meet so you won't have to worry about going too deep.

swimminlyn
October 29th, 2007, 12:13 PM
I just swam this weekend at the GRIN Fall Classic which is part of the TYR Grand Prix Series. It was a good size meet and a few National records were broken. There were a few people that started in the water.
Just go have fun and do your best. You will be glad you did.

talne621
October 29th, 2007, 01:52 PM
Hi! Don't worry you should be fine. The zone championships was my first masters meet ever last year. I was nervous but after my first race I calmed down. Last year the slowest person did 2:52 for the 100 free. There are more people at the zone meets, so there are alot more people around your times. The shallowest part of the pool at Rutgers is 6 feet 3 inches. There are always people starting in the water or diving in from the side. You just have to practice your dives. I was afraid at first to dive. Everyone is really nice at the meets. Just go and remember to have fun.

GordonD
October 29th, 2007, 02:38 PM
For the issue of dealing with the slope of the starting block, I have found that the staggered foot start helps a lot. I had used the "both feet on the edge" method forever but just started trying the staggered method. I'm amazed how much more stability it gives me. I don't have to be teetering on the edge of falling forward anymore in order to get a decent start.

The other main thing to get comfortable with ahead of time is keeping your chin in your chest upon entry into the water, in order to prevent your goggles from coming off. It's actually pretty easy to do but for some beginners it causes them to dive deeper than they desire.

Good luck either way. But for sure go to the meet and have some fun. At the last Zones I went to I saw several folks diving from the side or starting from in the water. No worries.

swimminlyn
October 29th, 2007, 04:51 PM
Findingmyinnerfish,

Everyone is giving all the encouragement to go. Do it and have fun.

As for the start....
In warm ups try a couple off the block, then try a couple from the side. When it comes to race time, do what feels comfortable to you. No matter how you start, as long as you are relaxed and having fun you will do well.

GO FOR IT!!!!

ensignada
October 29th, 2007, 10:03 PM
My first meet ever was LCM zones. I was the slowest swimmer in my age group (and the youngest by far in my heats, LOL), but I am so glad that I did it. No one cares how you do but you and the friends who cheer you on.

As for the blocks, that was the single thing that terrified me the most (I was afraid to dive, much less off of blocks). But I got a little private coaching and practiced. Once I had done a couple of dives in the sprint lanes during warm-up, I felt fine. I have videotape - it wasn't elegant or even quick, but I did get into the water head first. And frankly, if it just seems like too much, dive off the side or start from the water. No one cares.

I haven't decided if I'm headed to Rutgers or not yet, but if I do, let's definately meet up.

aquaFeisty
October 29th, 2007, 10:07 PM
FMIF:

Definitely go for it! Our IL State meet is HUGE, often larger than the Colonies Zones meets, and many people on my team make it their first (or only one of the year) masters meet! I think you actually stick out a lot less at larger meets... kind of like blending into the crowd. That's where I got the courage to try my first 400 IM and 1000 free. Plus, larger meets are more likely to have teammates and forum friends in attendance, all of whom will cheer you on with much gusto. :-) And, at big meets, the other folks that you don't know are more likely to be lost in their own psyche up/out world.

You see people starting from in the water at meets of all levels. If you want to try going off the block, you can also hold a teammates hand as you get up on the block (usually the 'shakiest' part of the enterprise.) Good luck and I hope you go for it!

Carrie

SwimStud
October 29th, 2007, 10:10 PM
FMIF

Go for it. focus on having fun you'll enjoy it. Also I had meet anxiety for th first few meets. Imagine my "horror" when I went to NEM SCY last March--it is a huge meet. After the first dive where my goggles filled with water and I could barely swim the 200BR for lack of vision...all my nerves went away, because something "bad" had happened and you know what? I just got up and tried to do better on the next race. You'll do fine and a big meet cures "stagefright" quick. You will shrug off anything that goes according to "not the plan" but it makes a memory. Besides you kick ass on long OW swims so anyone swimming there would respect that.
Plus you'll have forum friends to help you though anything odd that might occur.

Go for it!

FindingMyInnerFish
October 29th, 2007, 10:34 PM
Soooo... thanks very much, everyone! With all this great encouragement, how can I say no!

And now that I see that there's a whole range of speeds and styles of starting, I might even practice a dive or three to see if I'm comfy with it, and if not, won't worry.

It'll be great to meet some "forumites" also! Anyone going for the Sat. events? I'm thinking I'll make a day trip of it (crazy schedule these days), and Sat. offers a couple freestyle events... and if I go really crazy, maybe I'll even try a breaststroke event... (Backstroke and fly... well, not this time... let's just say they're definitely not ready for prime time.) ;)

Barb, hope we can meet at Rutgers...or maybe at a future swim event... The Merryman meet in the summer at the Upper Main Line Y is a lot of fun.

Thanks again, everyone!

talne621
October 29th, 2007, 10:43 PM
I am going all 3 days. on saturday i am doing the 400 IM, 100 free, 50 back, and 200 free. I never did an IM in a race and I am trying all 3 over the course of that weekend. The 400 Im should be interesting. If I can finish the butterfly legally then I should be fine. See you there!!

swimshark
October 30th, 2007, 08:07 AM
Just a small hint about a mistake a lot of people make at meets. When you are behind the block wiating for your heat to start you will hear whistles from the officials. The first whistle is for people (the heat before) to clear the pool the 2nd whistle is for you to get on the block or up to the edge or in the water, which ever the case may be.

I've noticed around VA meets, a lot of people get up on the block on the 1st whistle and that's not correct.

Alison

ensignada
October 30th, 2007, 11:46 AM
Just a small hint about a mistake a lot of people make at meets. When you are behind the block wiating for your heat to start you will hear whistles from the officials. The first whistle is for people (the heat before) to clear the pool the 2nd whistle is for you to get on the block or up to the edge or in the water, which ever the case may be.

I've noticed around VA meets, a lot of people get up on the block on the 1st whistle and that's not correct.

Alison

In Oregon, where Alison hails from, those early climbers are arrested, dragged into the mountains, slathered with honey and left for the bears to snack on. Very serious about their whistles those Oregonians are... :D

(I am so guilty of this because I didn't have clue...as I stood on the block before my 50 this weekend, I saw the previous heat swimming under my feet to the ladder and thought "this could be dangerous if I fell in". Well, now I know....)

SwimStud
October 30th, 2007, 11:50 AM
Just a small hint about a mistake a lot of people make at meets. When you are behind the block wiating for your heat to start you will hear whistles from the officials. The first whistle is for people (the heat before) to clear the pool the 2nd whistle is for you to get on the block or up to the edge or in the water, which ever the case may be.

I've noticed around VA meets, a lot of people get up on the block on the 1st whistle and that's not correct.

Alison

Oh, I thought the first whistle was to step up and the second one was just a breathy reaction to the sight of my adonis like body glistening with pool water ...

pwolf66
October 30th, 2007, 12:51 PM
Oh, I thought the first whistle was to step up and the second one was just a breathy reaction to the sight of my adonis like body glistening with pool water ...

<blink> Um, riiiiiiiiiiiiiiight

:rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl:

Paul

Blackbeard's Peg
October 30th, 2007, 01:10 PM
Just a small hint about a mistake a lot of people make at meets. When you are behind the block wiating for your heat to start you will hear whistles from the officials. The first whistle is for people (the heat before) to clear the pool the 2nd whistle is for you to get on the block or up to the edge or in the water, which ever the case may be.

I've noticed around VA meets, a lot of people get up on the block on the 1st whistle and that's not correct.

I for one try to be one of the first up on the blocks so I have time to set feet and play around a bit with foot position. As for getting up on the first whistle, the last time I did that was when it was taking a while for that first whistle to occur. I wanted to get up and set my feet and all, so I did, and got yelled at :p Usually, I'll step up on the step at the first whistle, and then have a head start when the second one happens.

There are plenty of people who jump in the water for backstroke at the wrong whistle.

swimshark
October 30th, 2007, 04:12 PM
Oh, I thought the first whistle was to step up and the second one was just a breathy reaction to the sight of my adonis like body glistening with pool water ...

LOL! I'll give you a :applaud: for that one.


In Oregon, where Alison hails from, those early climbers are arrested, dragged into the mountains, slathered with honey and left for the bears to snack on. Very serious about their whistles those Oregonians are... :D


Transplanted Oregonians shoot with rubber bands those who do it wrong! hee-hee

Alison

aquaFeisty
October 30th, 2007, 04:26 PM
Transplanted Oregonians shoot with rubber bands those who do it wrong! hee-hee


Hmmm... and just recently in some other threads we were wondering how to generate more interest in meets... Ensignada's post was pretty good too... perhaps I will rethink 08 LCM nats? :)

sorry, FMIF, couldn't resist a temporary thread hijack! I will be psyched for you if you compete at Zones and can't wait to see how you do!

swimshark
October 30th, 2007, 04:31 PM
Hmmm... and just recently in some other threads we were wondering how to generate more interest in meets... Ensignada's post was pretty good too... perhaps I will rethink 08 LCM nats? :)



I'll bring my rubber band shooter to Nats!

Alison

rtodd
October 30th, 2007, 08:55 PM
Rutger's will be my first zones. Will be near, or at the bottom for my age group, but I don't care and no one else does either.

I would suggest getting there plenty early for your event and warming up correctly. This will calm your nerves. Nothing worse than getting stuck in traffic, bad directions or whatever, then a crummy warm up.

FindingMyInnerFish
October 31st, 2007, 10:36 AM
I'm going to have to go now so I can see SwimStud's adonis-like body that provokes second whistles. :D

Guess I'd better watch out for rubber band shooters and now I will assume that any official I see with a honey jar is not just offering energy boosts to swimmers but is actually from Oregon and "loaded for bear"! I will keep this in mind. ;)

But I have to readjust the breaking 2 mins. in a hundred free goal, since it's SCM, not SCY. Oh well, no worries about that. Takes the pressure off! :groovy:

swimshark
November 1st, 2007, 03:08 PM
Guess I'd better watch out for rubber band shooters and now I will assume that any official I see with a honey jar is not just offering energy boosts to swimmers but is actually from Oregon and "loaded for bear"! I will keep this in mind. ;)




LOL!! Enjoy the meet. don't worry about rubber bands coming from me. I'll be swimming at a meet in VA Beach.

Alison

FindingMyInnerFish
November 1st, 2007, 05:34 PM
LOL!! Enjoy the meet. don't worry about rubber bands coming from me. I'll be swimming at a meet in VA Beach.

Alison

Wishing you success, sans bears and/or rubber bands! Seriously, have a great meet!

I suppose I should have said I'd "bear this in mind," ha ha!

swimshark
November 2nd, 2007, 07:53 AM
Wishing you success, sans bears and/or rubber bands! Seriously, have a great meet!

I suppose I should have said I'd "bear this in mind," ha ha!

You have a great meet, too. Maybe one day we can meet at a meet :)

Alison