Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Summer swim meets, Tiger sharks, sea dragons, and willow wahoos

Today all 5 kids swam in the summer swim meet.  4 on one team-- the Tiger Sharks and Julianne on the Sea Dragons.  They all did well and had a great time.  Trent was able to be there and the whole family being together just reminded me of my summer meets as a kid.

The neighborhood team was at Willow Pool.  A group of citizens had taken out a 100 year lease on some undeveloped city land and built a private pool that was in the middle of the neighborhood.  We had a team of 100-200 kids depending on the year.   Janet Ryan was the first coach I had there.  We rode bikes to afterschool and morning practice.  I didn't go to the neighborhood elementary school that was right across the street from the pool, so the summer swim team was my first chance to meet the neighborhood kids.  By middle school, we all went to school together at Johnston, but once again by High school we were all split apart again to different schools.

Our meets were on Monday nights.  They started at 6:00 p.m. and often didn't conclude until 9:00.  We were always trying to get done in time to go to Godfather's pizza at Chimney Rock and Braeswood next to the Beldens Grocery Store.  As I got older, the meets got later and we were then always trying to get to Fuddruckers by 10:30.

The meets were always hot.  I don't know how all the parents managed.  Us kids at least got to swim every now and then, but the parents just got to sweat.

There were 7 lanes.  Each lane had 3 timers.  For every race the swimmer held a hand filled out card with their name and event on it.  As they got up to the starting blocks a runner would pick up the card and carry the heat to the other end and distribute them to the timers. They would write the 3 times on the card and that would get returned to the coaches and returned to you within a few days so you could see your times.  But time, did not equal place.  There were also place judges.  These parents had a colorful apron with matching color ribbons in the pockets of the apron.  Their job was to watch the finish and immediately distribute the ribbons to the swimmers upon exiting the pool.  Place judging was an exciting job to have . . .  sometimes.  7th place was usually pretty easy to reward and 1st place too.  But sometimes all those middle places got tricky.  If there was a dispute between judges, then they would look at the times.

They ran a pretty efficient meet.  No computers.  No electric scoreboard with swimmer's names.  All paper and pencils and fun.  There is something fun about getting a ribbon immediately when you are young.  So many coaches and friends through the years.  I remember when they got rid of place judges.  The times would be submitted and taken to a table who would then write on all the ribbons and you would pick them up.

And another thing-- only the first heat counted as team points -- so the coaches had to really get it right and make sure the fastest kids swam in the first heat.  That was not so easy to do.

My kids don't know how nice they have it.  Indoor pools, electric timers, their name on a scoreboard, the chance to take first place even from a lesser heat.

Here's some pics and videos from our meet today.


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