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Meet Director's Path to Tranquility

Genesis, part i

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“If a man take no thought about what is distant, he will find sorrow near at hand.”
Origins of the Tropical Splash
2003 Recollections

In 2003, our team ended the fall-winter season with a $2800 budget deficit. We survived going into the spring and summer seasons by virtue of a loan, and by paying obligations with income from the next season. We made progress at chipping away the deficit, but we needed a fundraiser and a swim meet was one possibility.

Over the summer, our county rec center pools were contacted to determine the rental cost for a meet. We chatted with officials and other meet directors during local meets. The USMS Rule Book was scrutinized, especially the sections about meet conduct and facilities.

In looking at other meet programs, it was determined that swimmers enter an average of 3 events in a local meet. Prices we got for pool rental, officials, program printing, awards, etc were assembled into a spreadsheet blender, and voila! We could wipe out our remaining deficit with a swim meet. Ga-ching!

It was believed that holding a meet brought a certain respect and prominence to our team, and might help with attracting more members. Well, some people thought that. I believed the 'vice-presidential selection theory' applied - a good meet would do no good, but a bad meet would be disastrous.

We did not want to compete with another meet in our LMSC, and decided to stay away from the months where established meets existed, leaving 7 months to choose from. We were considering one of three SCY pools, so the LCM season was out, leaving 5 months. We did not want to compete with Nationals or Zones, leaving 3 months. We did not want the meet at the start of our Fall season, leaving 2 months - January and February. February had 2-day SCY meets in next door Virginia and Maryland LMSC's, leaving January as the only option.

Years before, we sent swimmers to a January SCY meet at Wilson High School in Washington DC. The meet was in a decrepit pool, had limited volunteers, and had dwindling participants each year. (As an aside, my 100 breast at the meet had 3 timers - with a 2-second spread among them. I think it was the 8-year old timer that threw off the results.) This meet was discontinued a year earlier, and some of us thought we could revive that date on the meet calendar and take its place. There were no other meets in January to compete with.

Our club swims at three different Fairfax County rec centers. Upon evaluation, each facility had serious flaws for a local Masters swim meet. We settled on Lee District Rec Center, a 50-meter x 25-yard mama with ample lockers, parking, bleachers and deck space. It was always set up in the middle as a SCY course (no movable bulkheads). Its problems included the need for a floating platform for the starter, and a long walk around the deep end for officials working one side of the pool. The backstroke flags were 20-feet in the air, suspended from the rafters, and each was a slightly different distance from the wall.

With the date and pool set and financial due diligence complete, we proudly started the planning . . .
[2B continued]

  • A realistic budget with real costs determines if the meet is financially viable.
  • Before selecting a date, know what your meet's competition is (more on this later).

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Updated November 10th, 2009 at 07:05 AM by Rnovitske



  1. qbrain's Avatar
    Oh this will be an interesting story, and I don't think I will ever run a meet.