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Meet Director's Path to Tranquility


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"The success of any great moral enterprise does not depend upon numbers."
-William Lloyd Garrison

Most all post-meet tasks are now completed. There were 11 tee shirts that needed to be mailed out. I did not enjoy thinking about listening to the postal clerk's song, "Is there anything fragile, liquid, perishable, " 11 times. I bought the delivery confirmation for $0.80 each so I could be assured of delivery. Postal insurance on a $15 tee shirt was too expensive. I went to the post office in 2 trips because the Tyvek envelopes we purchased years ago for this purpose ran out after 6 shirts. These babies are expensive now - $26.00 for a box at Office Depot, about $0.50 each.

This year 9 swimmers ordered the printed results. Results were copied, addressed, and mailed out Tuesday. They did not contain the officials names.

The 189 swimmers signed up for the meet, along with 3 deck entries equalled 672 splashes =
about 3.5 events per person
146 swimmers attended the meet, the rest skipping out due to the snow on Saturday
35 swimmers claimed this as their first Masters meet
0 USMS records this year, although there have been a few in the past
0 Olympic medalists showed up (we had one once)
76 entries came in the last 3 days before the deadline
6 swimmers sent in photos for the online meet scrapbook
84 new meet records were set
10 coconut relay teams entered
19 relay teams entered the 2 relay events - 11 in the medley

The tee shirts were a hit again this year. 52 meet swimmers ordered meet tee shirts. 13 team members not in the meet bought tee shirts (actually 12 - the meet director gets a free tee shirt.) There were 6 to sell at the meet - all sold. The last one sold after I received an email requesting one the day after the meet. 71 shirts were printed but 72 were ordered - the tee shirt printers messed up one.

VMST sent the most swimmers to the meet - 20. Our team ALEX sent the second most, and RMST the third. GMUP sent the least - 0. I pick on them because none of their four signups attended (although swimmers 30-40 miles away made it), and they are the third closest team geographically to us.

Who actually attends our meet? Well, Alexandria Masters has quite a few swimmers who do not compete except at our event. We have some very good swimmers in that group, too. Hosting the meet provides an opportunity for these people to compete who would not normally do so. Earlier, I mentioned that we aimed to attract the swimmers that shy away from competing. This seems to be true with our team as well as others.

Since I embarrass myself at about half the meets here in the area, I am familiar with a lot of the names on those meet programs. True, a good many do show their face at our meet, but it is safe to say that many characters at our meet are never seen in other Potomac Valley competition. One team in particular - ARMS - is almost non-existent in other meets, although 13 of their swimmers attended our Tropical Splash.

But, I believe that there is another dynamic at work, too. Not only do we attract the swimmers that like to have fun at meets, but this is translated to teams, too. I conclude that for two reasons.

First, we actually do attract some elite level swimmers to the meet. And they return each year. They tend to be on the teams that have big turnouts. Second, there are some teams that we rarely see in our meet program, even though they are local and have good turnouts at other local meets. I believe their teams' culture and personality are more competitive; where performance and competition are taken more seriously. These are the teams where members would not attend our meet to have fun, but to seriously swim and compete. Starting blocks, breaking records, and automatic timing are what these teams get excited about.

Other teams much further away have an unbelievable turnout at the Tropical Splash (and their elite swimmers show up) because I believe their team culture is more attuned to swimming and competition as fun. Coconut relays, leis, and sociable hospitality rooms are what attract these teams to competition.

So, the teams where serious performance is the team culture tend to stay away, while the swimmers and teams with a fun, gregarious team culture tend to show up. This makes the meet even more enjoyable - a meet filled with only swimmers of this personality!

One thing is for certain - our meet grows in popularity each year (and I fear may be too popular for its own good.)

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Updated February 18th, 2010 at 02:02 PM by Rnovitske (I can't believe these stupid grammar mistakes!!!)



  1. jim thornton's Avatar
    Good job!

    A thumb from Pittsburgh in the decidedly upwards direction for your superb labors!
  2. Rnovitske's Avatar
    And a thank you to you.