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Meet Director's Path to Tranquility

No Problem

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“Laugh at your problems; everybody else does.”
Things are looking up. The worker list is still filling in. The lap counter card nightmare is subsiding - our order has been shipped - by ground transport from California. We have a decorated swimmer from the International Swimming Hall of Fame attending the meet in the 95-99 age group.

So what could go wrong?

We received 19 entries - in one day. I am still concerned about overcrowding. I received my first complaint from a swimmer on our team. The meet order. Yep, I already knew that. This will be the first year the order was criticized, and it was justified - I wrote earlier that some event distances were clumped together instead of spread through the meet. I would recommend to future Tropical Splash meet directors that we trash this order, and go back to using the orders of the previous three years, rotating them year to year. Those meet orders rocked.

In Meet #1, the pool manager turned off the heating system overnight to cool the pool water down, and started it up again in the morning. Unfortunately, the heating system dehumidified the air. Upon entering the pool that morning, moisture condensed on everything. Glasses steamed up. Paper timers cards felt like dumplings. Cameras fogged up, so there were no meet photos in the LMSC newsletter. And, my brand new laptop computer would not start up, presumably because there was condensation inside after being brought in from the car. First meet. Extreme panic.

I had thought of everything, and had brought along my old desktop computer and CRT monitor just in case. But it was in the cold car trunk outside. I went out to retrieve it, but the monitor would not come out of the trunk! Twisting and turning every way, it could not come out. Sweat poured through my tee shirt in the subfreezing temperature. After what seemed like a half hour of geometry lessons, it came out - and I severely cut my hand on some sharp metal under the trunk lid. As I was lugging the behemoth into the pool lobby with a trail of corpuscles behind me, someone came up to inform me that my laptop had started up while I was outside.

Next year, to cool the pool down, cold water was turned on to flood the pool early in the morning. After about the third event, an official came to me and said he was stopping the meet. The water level was about three inches over the top of the gutter, making the pool about 6-inches longer in each direction. He said it was dangerous for swimmers since the pool gutter was underwater. The cold water was never shut off. The pool manager quickly opened the drain.

Last year, the officials started the first race before the national anthem was played.

Two years ago, a confused checkin worker was mistakenly giving meet tee shirts (that other swimmers prepaid for) to anyone that walked through the door.

In the meet #2, the pool's backstroke flags were falling off the rope during the weeks leading up to the meet. Some lanes had only a bare rope overhead. We bought 2 cheap plastic backstroke lines for the meet.

A swimmer pointed out the starting blocks are not centered on the lanes. Obsessive? Swimming 9 years in that pool, I never noticed. After checking, we found that every starting block is installed about 6 inches left of center in every lane.

The equipment director promised 14 watches from his age group swim team for Meet #4. He heard I had secured 8 (we need 21 - 3 timers for 7 lanes) so he only provided 8. He 'assumed' we only needed two watches per lane - as that was the Northern Virginia Swim League requirement for age group meets. We borrowed some from meet participants, and made a quick run to nearby Walmart to make a purchase.

Last year the same meet equipment director provided the same watches. He waited until the day before to pick up the watches from his team rep. On meet day as timers were getting ready during warmups, we discovered no watches. He received a key to their storage room, but there were not enough watches, and some had bum batteries. Another trip to Walmart. He is in charge of equipment again this year.

During Meet #1, the women's toilet stalls all ran out of toilet paper. No one told me about this until the meet was over.

The next year, we got the staff to keep an eye on the women's toilet paper supply. So the men's room ran out - the staff never thought to check both during the meet.

In meet #4, the luau hospitality coordinator thought to create a nice atmosphere by burning scented candles in the room . . .with the food . . .and chlorine.

In meet #2 there was a snow/ice storm overnight before the meet. Another story, another post.

And who can forget the year the pool ran 88 degrees.

86 entries to date

Plan backups in case the big things go wrong, but don't sweat the little ones (and don't cut your hand.)

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Updated January 21st, 2010 at 04:38 PM by Rnovitske