There has been a disruption in the proceedings. Something about a COVID-19 Pandemic that stopped the world for a while. In-person swimming meets have been put on hold. It is now September, 2021.
The good news is that POSSIBLY (!) we competitive swimmers will be congregating in Walnut Creek next month (October 2021) for our Short Course Meters Champs. My mind is getting back into the swimming meet mode. Our collective fingers are crossed.
Flipping through some of my archives, I ran across this piece I wrote a few years ago about the Santa Rosa 2018 Resolution Meet:
I woke up this morning still excited about the day I had yesterday. Santa Rosa Community College held its annual, small (120 swimmers) swimming meet. This venue has a reputation for being cold. It is an in-door pool, with a retractable roof. That sounds fine except that when the roof is closed and the pool area is nice and warm, no one can hear the PA system due to the reverberations. So the roof is uncovered as soon as the meet starts, and we have an outdoor pool. It's been cold here, 40 degrees in the mornings, making it a bit uncomfortable to be sitting around wet, almost naked, waiting to swim. Even the spectators dress warmly. Coach Sharlene mentioned the meet coming up and I had responded, "I don't do Santa Rosa. It's cold."
At home that evening, I thought about it. Santa Rosa has always been held as a low-pressure, fun meet. It's the first Pacific Masters competition of the year, geared to bring everyone together, to get their feet wet, so to speak. No team points are tallied and there's an unusual 100-yd Freestyle relay on the schedule. Each swimmer swims one lap. In past years, I've been a spectator and watched this relay. It goes fast and everyone is laughing and fooling around, yet trying to swim fast, for one lap.
Just for a lark, I turned on my computer to see if the 100-yard relay was scheduled for this year, and it was! Then I started perusing the list of events, causally tapping the events I might swim, if I were to attend this meet. First event, the 200 Free. I could do that, if I were going, I told myself. Oh look, the 50 Back. Of course, I would have to do that one also. Well, since I might be there, I may as well enter the 50 Free, and finish with my signature 200 Back. Yup. That's how I'd do this meet.
And I'd keep warm by bringing things I would need: 4 different swimsuits so that I would not be sitting around wet and shivering between events. Also added to my bag would be 2 tee-shirts, 2 sweat shirts, 2 extra pair of socks, 4 towels, my light pants and jacket outfit emblazoned with our Mud Sharks logo, topping it all off with my stadium coat, long, hooded, and warm. I would have hot chocolate for breakfast that morning and bring a thermos of hot tea, solving the temperature problem. Then the registration page prompted me to pay. If I were going to sign up, I would use this info. Tap tap. It then said, "Submit."
Oh Hell, I'm going to the meet, I said to myself as I pressed the button and officially registered. I then e-mailed Coach Sharlene, asking if a lady was allowed to change her mind.
At practice the following day, I was very surprised to hear that only one other swimmer, Greg, had signed up to go. The reason given was that it was cold. I smiled. Coach thanked me and said Greg was happy for the company.
Thankfully, yesterday was sunny and relatively warm. Sharlene arrived with her husband Eric, who had been bitten by their dog (!) and therefore was not going to swim in the meet. She showed us where to set up, near the large sunny windows and not in the breezy bleachers. The roof was only open a couple of feet and temperature was not a problem throughout the competition. The warm-up pool was outdoors, chilly going in and out and could have been a problem if it had been raining, but otherwise I did not need all the gear I lugged in.
My 200 Free was good, not great. I got tired and posted a time of 2:49. It's a new race for me and I need to work on pacing myself, but I was happy. My 50 Back felt strong, .40 seconds, one second slower than my best time, but still a good race for me. At this point in the proceedings, no results are posted yet.
I had taken most of December off from swimming (it has been cold!) and Sharlene complimented me with, "Who does that? Takes a month off and still swims almost her best. Who does that?"
Now it's time for the famous 4-man, 100-yard relay and there are only two of us. Eric went around the pool deck asking for volunteers to swim the relay with Greg and me. Usually a relay team must be made up of swimmers all from the same team. However, in this instance, the rules were lax. It is a non-sanctioned event and no team points were being accrued.
Laura Val was in attendance with her teammate Rich Burns, representing the Tamalpais Club. They are both world record holders and Laura is my idol. I swim my 200 Back in 3 minutes and she does it in 2. Yeah. And she's amazing to watch, makes it look effortless, and she's nice. We had greeted each other earlier in the day.
Rich and Laura were the only two from their team and they agreed to swim in the relay with us. I wish you could feel and understand my pride. I am swimming in a relay, such that it is, with Laura Val. This is a dream come true. If I died tomorrow, everything would be all right. (Just kidding here, well, almost...)
Laura led off, speeding her way down the lane. Then Greg, who started from the water at the other end because the depth of the pool is only 3 feet there and we can't take the chance of anyone diving in such shallow water. I went off the blocks with Greg's touch, and Rich brought it all home. I was the slow man, obviously, but it didn't matter. Our total time was 52 seconds. I swam my leg in 15 seconds, so you know how fast the others were! We had our picture taken when we were finished.
I was invigorated. My 50 Free was up next and I swam it in 32 seconds: very fast for me, as I had a seeded time of 33. I was smiling ear to ear. I got tired on my 200 Back and swam a 3:10 instead of my usual 3:07, but I was still happy, especially now that all my events were over!
Then the results were posted: 2nd place for my 200 Free, where I had been seeded 7th, but a lot of people did not show up, 1st place for both Backstroke events and 2nd place for my 50 Free, that I swam in 32 seconds!!
Greg entered 5 events, 50 Breast, 200 Breast, 100 IM, 50 Free, and 200 Back. He got 3 firsts and 2 seconds. He's a great swimmer and good company. Man, I love swimming.
Alas, there's no rest for the wicked. The next meet, counting for team points, is in two weeks at USF. I think I'll be there.