I made it a point to approach my big event with this perspective on the forefront of my mind and I believe it helped me to enjoy the experience and waste a lot less energy on stress. Through the years, I have participated, assisted, timed and coached at swim meets of all levels.
On Saturday April 18th 2015, I ran a swim meet on my own for the first time with the help of my swimmer’s families, My Momma and Dad, and a few of my amazing friends. I was concerned by my lack of experience in running swim meets, but the only way to gain experience is to do it. I spent lots of time planning and preparing and even made a Facebook event. To my surprise, a few of my friends responded with a yes to attend our first swim meet. I was overjoyed!
Putting on this event helped me to get organized. I wanted to choose a date that would not conflict with Spring Break or Easter. Sadly, a bunch of my younger girls had a prior commitment which was a girl scouts camp out. I was concerned that I would not get many participants. I chose a date and ran with it. Preparing for this swim meet gave every practice a focus. I had my 11 and under swimmers choose three 50s one 100 and a 100 IM. My 11 and overs got to choose 3x100s, 1x 50, and a 200 IM. It was exciting to get my swimmers all signed up for their events. I ended up having 23 swimmers!
I had a goal of running the swim meet as accurately as I could and reviewed the rules and whistle signals with everyone. I was nervous about making a heat sheet because of my very basic computer skills. Luckily, my dear friend Christopher was able to show me how to make a spreadsheet. I am embarrassed to say that I have lived 26 years and that was my first time every creating a spreadsheet. Now I am so excited about having a better understanding of how the program works.
Then there was the issue of awards. A lot of swimmers were asking for ribbons and medals. I wanted to make it special and memorable for our first swim meet so I asked our graphic artist to personalize certificates for us and I set out on a mission to order some cute rubber duckies for the swimmers. I was delighted and satisfied with my final choices which included: mermaid duckies, superhero duckies, lifeguard duckies, and beach duckies.
I spent the entire week tying up the loose ends and working out the details. It was a lot of work and preparation, but it was so worth-it. My Momma was so sweet and got cupcakes and brownies for our swim meet celebration. My friend Kodi made beautiful laminated signs, and Kathy was our event photographer. My swimmer’s parents were so supportive and eager to volunteer wherever we needed assistance. I was so thrilled that my boyfriend Christopher was planning on coming to our 1st swim meet. I at first jokingly asked him if he wanted to be the swim meet announcer and was so surprised when he said yes. That provided so much peace of mind for me, but was not sure he realized what he was getting himself into. Piece by piece I described to him what was involved even all the whistle blasts and he still agreed to do it. In addition he had other important matters on his plate and was visiting houses right before the swim meet. I expected him to be late and maybe even opt out (which would have made me sad), but he pulled through in his vibrant lime green shirt early and ready to rally! I wonder if he even realizes how much his presence meant to me. It truly meant the world to me!
I arrived the morning of the swim meet so nervous and excited. I got there early and was a ball of nerves trying to get set up. One of my swimmers was there 2 hours early (bless his heart) and he helped me set everything up for the meet. Another concern that I had was that the allotted time 12:30-3:30, would not be long enough and that we would be there overtime. My assistant and I got the balloons in place and the swimmers started to arrive promptly at noon. I got them all warmed up and loved the unity we shared throughout the event. Everything went smoothly and everyone did an amazing job with their swims. I loved how positive, upbeat, and inspiring the teammates were to each other. I feel so blessed to be a part of this team and community.
We finished our swims 45 minutes before we had planned. The awards were a hit and the kiddos loved the duckies. My first swim meet as a head coach was an experience that I will always remember and hold so dearly in my heart. Even my mom and dad made it. This whole experience pushed and challenged me to become a better version of myself and to bring out the best in others. I cannot wait until our next event!!! My first time was Scary, Sacred, Beautiful, and Unforgettable!