The Story of My First Swim Meet
With the new season in full swing, we have many new swimmers that competed in their first USA sanctioned meet. Many of them started in our swim school here at Sigma Swimming and have moved though the tiers and are entering new waters.
Here is the story of a swimmer that started out in our Sigma Swim School in 2013, who was afraid of the water, until she got inspired by Missy Franklin to become a swimmer. At that time, she was afraid of heights so going off the start block was very difficult for her. So an entire hour was spent learning how to dive. She lost that fear thanks to the coaches at Sigma Swimming. She worked hard and had her first swim meet, a learning experience as most first swim meets are. She had no idea what to expect, but our head coach at the time took to answer any questions she had and was there for the meet.
This was all new to her and her parents, like what is a check in or what she should bring. Spare swim cap, towels and spare googles. She brought juice and basically junk food like candy. Today it is water, fruits, and protein.
We had many questions, such as how long we will be there or how we would get to the aquatics center, where to get heat sheets, seed times. There were so many questions. Thanks to our site coordinator, many of the questions were answered. Here at Sigma Swimming, we have a great support system - Coaches and the swim families are always here to help.
Once we arrived at the aquatics center in Mansfield, she had to enter the pool deck with about 300 other swimmers. The experience and first meet was about to start. Nervous and unsure what would happen next, she went in and dealt with her fears. There were so many people on deck - swimmers, coaches, and officials. It looked very confusing. Just finding where the team was sitting turned out to be an adventure by itself, but she eventually found one of the coaches who directed her to the team.
She was able to meet some of the older swimmers who helped her with what she needed to know. She learned from them where to get her heats and lane assignments and learned how to write this on her arm. She learned how to pay attention to see what events were being swum. Once it was time for her event she went to go to the blocks and waited for her heat to be called.
Thanks to the coaches and older swimmers, everything worked out great. Her first event was the 50 back which was a disqualification and so was her second event the 50 breaststroke. In the 50 free she established a baseline time and she was happy with that. After the meet, she knew she had learned a lot by just watching the other swimmers swim and her coach was amazed by that. By the end of the day, she knew the mistakes she made and how to correct them so she would not make them again.
Going to a first USA sectioned swim meet can be a fearful but also exciting experience. Go for it, have fun, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. There is so much to learn, new people to meet, and you are there to have your first experience of a meet. So, if you get disqualified or miss a race, there is nothing to fret. Learn from it and you will do better next time!