Sunday, February 24, 2013

My First Swim Meet!

The only time I wear nail polish is when I race so last night I made them look good! 

The day started at 4:45 am and when I didn't receive the 5am email telling me that the race had been canceled I got out of bed, super excited. The plan: Steve to my house at 5:40, Gina, me and him meet Maury and Jess at Whittaker Woods at 5:50 and then jump in Leah's van at the Maine border at 6. I double checked my bag, made breakfast and we were off. The roads were slickery; slippery and slick, it's the new word for bad conditions. The drive to Freeport, ME was beautiful, the trees were completely covered in snow. It took us just under two hours to get there thanks to Leah's great driving. We arrived so early the YMCA wasn't open yet!

Getting our warm up in before the doors open

Me, Jess, Leah and Maury ready to swim!
Warm up started at 8:30 and the meet began at 9:30 so we had plenty of time. It was hard to judge when to warm up because I didn't know how much time until my first race. I didn't know how long each race would last and didn't know how many heats each race would consist of. I jumped in and shared the lane with Jess and Leah. Steve hopped in just to get some laps in, he wasn't registered..or so he thought! After warming up and chatting with Maury and the girls we began convincing Steve to register. After very little coaxing he agreed and registerd for the same events I was racing. 200 freestyle, 50 freestyle, 50 breaststroke and 100 freestyle. We practiced our diving starts and my goggles fell of a few times. The blocks here are higher than what we use at the Aquatic Center. We improvise with benches that we practiced on last week. My goggles got pulled off just about every practice dive but once I adjusted my head I felt confident.

Checking out the timing touch pads.

We are so happy to be here!

Steve and I after he registered, so confident

We checked our heats and lane assignments. Steve and I were in the same heat for all four races! I wasn't really nervous about how I'd do, I was more concerned about counting my laps. Swimming a 50 in our pool is two laps, in this pool it's just one, dive in, swim, flip turn and back. My first race was the 200 free, eight lengths or $2.00 each length being .25 cents.

At the start of each race it's your responsibility to be at the block and there is a series of whistles. Some for standing near your block, a few for getting on your block, then a voice command to take your mark and the horn to dive in. I didn't really know when to make my moves so I just watched the swimmer next to me.

There were just three of us in the first heat, and Steve wasn't comfortable diving in so he started in the water. I felt much more relaxed vs seeing six or seven swimmers on the blocks. Just before the horn blared I hoped for a good dive. Success! I was in and swimming with no goggle issues. After .50 cents I was out front then lost track of the money I spent. When I was coming in at what I thought was the last lap I tried looking at the clock on the wall at every breath. If I was close to 3:20 I should be finished at the next wall. I couldn't see it behind the flags. They hang above the pool for the backstroke swimmers as a guide to see how close they are to the wall. I was either going to be really embarrassed or no one would know. I guessed right and finished in 3:19 one second faster than what Maury had sent in. One race down three to go.
My next event was the 50 free. Steve and I were next to each other. We obeyed the commands, dove in and swam hard, just one flip turn and hammer back. Time: 37.43 three seconds faster than my seed time. 

The best part about the meet is being there with friends and talking about our races. Gina was taking pictures and recording times, Leah's dad helped with timing, Jess' husband and son were cheering us on and Maury had a constant grin as he introduced us to everyone he knew. He was so proud to have all of us racing!

The 50 breaststroke was my next race I couldn't wait for this one. It's super fun and I've excelled at this style over the last few weeks. I dove in and my goggles slipped up off my head, I grabbed them and slung them around my arm. I could still see the black line and the T marking the end. Every time I pulled, the chlorine rushed into my eyes. I didn't want this to ruin my race so I just kept my form. On the turn both hands must touch the wall, I executed that and just had to make it back. I finished in 46.36, four seconds faster than my seed time! My eyes were burning but I was first in my heat!!

Watching my friends race was amazing and seeing other techniques was pretty neat. As I was waiting for my next race one of the staff came to me telling me I was racing the 200 relay at the end of the meet. My eyes widened and I responded that I didn't sign up for that. He asked, your Meg Skidmore right? As he showed me the hand written relay races I realized he was right, I was leading the team of Steve, Jess, and Maury. I guess Maury signed us up for the relay. Cool.

Second to last event was the 100 free. On the blocks, ok get your chin down and look at your belly button I told myself. Dove in and goggles slipped down, should have pulled them off and let them hang around my neck but I didn't. Maury said they could twist and choke me. I wasn't turning my head as far to the side because they were going to slip off so every breath was half filled with water. I could barely see the line and had no idea where the T was. I didn't want to hit the wall so I flipped where I thought I should have and went to push off, nothing! I kept swimming and made do on the second lap but I did the same thing and missed the wall again loosing precious time. I finished in 1:34 not my best 100 time.  I was asked by the judge after the meet if I had actually touched the wall, I answered no. She should have disqualified me but it was so close she couldn't tell and didn't signal the officials at the time.

The only event left was the relay and we were all pretty pumped for it. We changed the order because Steve wasn't diving. He was first, then me, then Jess, then Maury. Leah was swimming with another group. It was so fun racing with my teammates and cheering everyone on. I dove in as soon as Steve touched the wall and my goggles stayed on! Jess swam hard and Maury finished it strong. We took 1st in 25+ Mixed!

I really couldn't ask for a better experience at my first swim meet except maybe for some super glue for my goggles. The support we had for each other was awesome. We grabbed lunch and compared times showing off our result cards.

I can't wait for the next meet!

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