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Meet Director's Path to Tranquility

Genesis, part ii

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“The superior man bends his attention to what is radical. That being established, all practical courses naturally grow up."
Origins of the Tropical Splash
2003 Recollections

Our Lee Rec Center did not have an automatic timing system, so manual stopwatch timing by volunteers was needed. We would run 8 lanes for competition, and leave the two lanes near the deep diving end for warmups. Lanes were standard width, water depth varied from about 9-feet to 4-feet.

Although they were not yet crumbling, the county facilities were built decades ago and were managed and maintained without swim competitions in mind. With nearby George Mason University, Montgomery Aquatic Center, and University of Maryland pools hosting meets, we did not see our aging facilities as a big draw. We needed to rely on something else to attract meet entries.

The super swimmers serious about their Top Ten times and national rankings were not going to flock to our minimum standards pool. So, the decision was made to pitch the meet to the new swimmer; the over-the-counter swimmer; the blue-collar swimmer. These are the everyday swimmers who slosh through their weekly workouts between kids' activities, work, spouses, and errands, but still keep on swimming. There were more of them than the elite swimmers, so there should be a bigger pool of possible entries. We were going after the swimmer who did not like to compete in meets.

Now, does this sound really stupid or what? Raise money by hosting a meet for people that did not go to meets.

Why didn't they like meets - we asked around our team. The answers came back as: Emphasis on competition; Not fun; Boring; Too much pressure. We decided to plan a meet where competition and pressure and boredom were eliminated, and a good time prevailed. We were going to plan a FUN meet! This is when our creativity (normally only released with illegal substance abuse) kicked in, and the Blue-Gray Meet was hatched.

We were going to make competition fun. Being at Lee Rec Center (of General Robert E. Lee fame), we decided to host a meet where swimmers from DC, Maryland, and points north would swim for a Blue team, and swimmers from Virginia and points south would be the Gray team. We would award tchotchkes to all team members from the winning team. The regular individual awards would be custom blue and gray war medals. We would give a special souvenir tee shirt to swimmers making this their first meet. We would have a fun 'cannonball' relay where swimmers would swim with the plastic colored 'cannonballs' found in a basket at the kids end of the pool.

The meet entry form was developed (click image) to submit with our sanction request form, complete with the proper wording of the release of liability found in the Rule Book. The pool manager was contacted to review times and procedures for the meet, and then the bomb . . .
[2b continued]

Arrange and firm up the pool, procedures, rules, and rental before doing or planning anything.

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Updated November 10th, 2009 at 07:04 AM by Rnovitske