A reliable source told me “you can’t go to the pool without Visine and goggles.”
Well, I found it very uncomfortable to be squirting Visine into my eyes and peering through swim goggles while covering the Region V swim and dive championships this past weekend.
That advice, while well intentioned, was not too helpful.
What would have been helpful is to have been told to wear rain gear. Flip turns are a menace to stocking feet and non-swim wear in general.
And make that very lightweight rain gear as the temperatures poolside start to take on the mugginess of the Bahamas or Spring Break.
I learned a few other things, too, this weekend.
Like, you need earplugs! Swimmers tend to yell a lot, not while swimming, of course, but when supporting their teammates or egging on their competitors
I saw former Juneau swim coach John Wray poolside and, although in awe, I managed to ask him a question. First, however, I heard him say,
“Erika (McCormick, TMHS) you did great,” and “Cecilia, (Ramos, JDHS) well done.”
I learned Wray truly loves the sport.
“One of the strongest meets you have seen?” I asked. I know, pretty weak. Of all the things I could say. But he was kind to me.
“I would say so,” Wray said. “There are some very excellent swims, the kids are excited and doing very well.”
He scribbled lots of notes, and encouraged a lot of kids.
I learned that no matter how often I scribble down this reminder I still get it wrong: the individual medley is fly, back, breast and free and the medley relay is back, breast, fly and free. Not a big point to the viewer but for photography purposes it makes a world of difference.
I learned Auri Clarke is pretty cool! She not only kicked some Speedo (um, stern? Nautical term for aft or rear of buoyant water type vessels), but she was gracious to other swimmers and took the time to walk from the far corner of the pool along the side and back and to the finish to cheer on and congratulate teammate Chris Umbs. Can you say champion?
I learned I had I forgotten to mention Umbs’ name when listing the swim rosters (JDHS) and his teammate Tayln Ramos, a state qualifier the last two years. Ramos had impressive freestyle swims on Saturday.
I watched as the JDHS seniors pulled classmate Cody Schick into their photo shoot. Schick was rated in the Top 16 of at least four state swims events this year but did not finish the season for unspecified reasons. Schick was classy enough to be poolside and his mates were classy enough to acknowledge him.
Speaking of class… there was a lot of talk pre-swim about JD senior Nathan Messing’s challenge to TM freshman Kenny Fox in the 100 fly. It should be noted that when I wrote about it Messing meant it in a respectful, encouraging way and when you saw the two shake hands before the swim and laugh together after it you remember that they grew up on the same Glacier Swim Club. As all these Juneau water bugs did.
I learned that former sibling swimmers Jenna (University Arkansas Little Rock) and Nick Rutecki (University of Wyoming) had dad Tom helping at the meet; as were Cody Brunette’s (U of Virginia) folks Bruce and Cora, and Kyle O’Brien’s (Northwestern) mom Sandy; as were the Buschs and many others.
On that note — parents, if you have swim children at college or any children in sports at college please let me know where so I can acknowledge them.
And did you know that timers, scorekeepers, starters and meet preparers are not paid. This isn’t like a strike-marred professional sport. This is top-notch high school action! With volunteers!
I learned to appreciate those that swam Friday but did not make the Saturday finals.
I learned that black marker tattoos don’t wear off in one swim and what the little tykes in GSC write on their wrists as not to forget a swim still serves that purpose in high school.
I learned I don’t look good in Speedos; nor for that matter, any type of garb when I have accidentally slipped into the pool during action with my camera around my neck pulling me to the bottom.
I learned that there is another Perseverance Trail: it can be found by looking at JD senior Calder Otsea who won his first region event and a trip to state.
I learned the hospitality room (usually filled with goodies for coaches and volunteers) is much healthier at a swim meet than other events.
I noticed that swim athletes don’t “pop” their jerseys when winning an event — that could be because they don’t wear a lot of jersey but I like to think it is also because they are generally pretty good sports.
So those were some of the things I learned.
Now if someone can tell me when it is safe to take off my Visine-filled goggles I would greatly appreciate it.