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I've Got A Lovely Bunch Of Coconuts

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"It is a happy talent to know how to play."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

BORKED
fluff for your entertainment

Before the first Tropical Splash, I brought some coconuts to a workout to test them out for the fun relay we planned. Could a swimmer actually swim with a coconut or two or three? Do they float or sink? Do they get water logged? Do they break open? We had a lot of fun that night experimenting with the things only swimmers can dream up of what to do to/with coconuts in the water.

First, we discovered that coconuts sink, although slowly. We thought that might be more fun - if you loose a coconut while swimming the relay, you have to dive down to retrieve it. No, they have a mind of their own, and upon sinking, follow the water currents, drifting into someone else's lane. This could cause swimmer collision. True, our insurance policy covered fun relays (well, maybe not with coconuts), but it did not include collision damage. We drill a hole in them, drain out the milk, and plug the hole with plumbers putty. The resulting air inside allows them to float.

Next, we discovered that swimmers with Type A personalities were chucking the coconuts down the pool, and then swimming to them, without actually swimming with them. Concussions and lawsuits came to mind. The rules were quickly changed. We also came up with the rule that swimmers start in the water at the handoff. Passing the nuts to a relay member on deck and starting off the blocks with coconuts in tow sounded painful.

Here's how the 3-person 150-yd coconut relay works.

Swimmers sign up at the awards table with their relay name and any three swimmers in the meet - (another team or unattached). Masters swimmers are not as creative as I believed or hoped (just look at the USMS logo…) - most relay names are uninspiring. Some of the better ones over the years: "Big Kahunas", "Slow Parents and Fast Kid", "Waheenies", "The Doctors", "Koo Koo 4 Coconuts". Come on, we can do better!
  • Swimmer #1 starts from the blocks and swims 25 yards. At the end of the pool, he picks up a coconut and swims back with it, handing it off to swimmer #2, who is in the water waiting.
  • Swimmer #2 swims 25 yards with the coconut and picks up a second one, swimming back to the start with both coconuts. Swimmer #2 hands them off to swimmer #3 waiting in the water.
  • Swimmer #3 swims 25 yards with both coconuts. Then, he picks up one more coconut, and swims back to the finish with all 3 coconuts.

Last year there were 10 relay teams put together. One guy brought his own women's 'top' to wear in the coconut relay to have a place to store his coconuts while swimming. Women have a distinct advantage in this event, with more suit to stuff coconuts into, thereby freeing up the arms to use to swim. Men need to hold onto the coconuts, handicapping the arms and/or legs, and we do not stuff coconuts into our jammers. (Although some were getting wise and using a body suit.) With those suits banned by the time of our meet, the women would go back to having an advantage this year.

But, we decided to allow full body suits this year in the coconut relay. After spending that money, swimmers need to get some use out of them, even if it is just to swim with coconuts.

BOOK OF WISDON
Think 'insurance liability' before deciding on a fun relay. For example, I know that water polo (balls) is not covered in our swim workouts (and I doubt coconuts are, either.)

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Updated January 11th, 2010 at 12:40 PM by Rnovitske

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