A common thread all these adventures have had for me is that they all involve connection with some wonderful people. Saturday in Salisbury was no exception. During our team practices there is little time to get to know the other swimmers, especially with the demanding workouts given by coaches Glenn and Emily. Saturday, not only, provided the perfect opportunity to get to know my teammates, but it also provided opportunity for our team to come together and support one another. As I was swimming my first event (which, by the way, was the very first heat, first event of the meet), both ends of lane 5 were filled with MY teammates (left goggle tearing up) yelling support for me. They also were there to tell me to stop swimming in that 200 yard breaststroke event; I had lost my length-count and started to swim an additional length after I had finished. Yeah, I know, I am very wet behind the gills.
I soon learned what it meant to cheer on a teammate. I loved being there. The event was well run and all the people were friendly. I felt a real cohesiveness to our team; of course, we were flanked in our team jackets. However, we may have been annoying during the Annual Meeting for the Maryland Masters. The meeting was held half way through the meet in order to have a captive audience. (By the way, if you ever want to hold a “short” meeting, make sure everyone at the meeting is wet and wearing next to nothing). The only business to attend was the election of the officers. Our very own Mark was up for election as Registrar. Every time his name was mentioned our team would start to cheer, like,… well,.. idiots. It was great. I think Mark may have been embarrassed.
These swimming-types don’t waste any time in starting an event. You need to know where to be and at what time to be on the blocks. They say, “Swimmers, step up, take your mark, go!” There is no 10 minute starting sequence like you have with sailing. Coach Emily made sure all of us were warmed up for each of our events and ready to take to the blocks on time.
Here are the events I swam:
200 yard Breaststroke 3:08
100 yard IM 1:24:40
50 yard Free 30.95
200 yard Relay Free 30.51
I felt strong and prepared for each of my events. The confidence I had came from the good coaching I/we’ve been getting from Glenn and Emily. It has made a tremendous difference for me. Though I cannot be compared to any of the top swimmers, I do aspire to be one. I am very happy with the progress I’ve achieved in the past year. The support of the team is a gift; so is the organizational effort many have put into making meets and teams happen.
I will spare everyone the gritty details of my thoughts during each of my events, like, “how am I going to swim this Individual Medley (IM) with my right goggle full of water?” or “How am I going to swim this 50 Freestyle with my left goggle full of water? Or “I have no idea how many lengths I have swum, much less which end of the pool this is?” or “I really wish I had swum another two feet before I did that flip-turn” or “did the lane-judge just see me make a one-handed touch on that breaststroke turn?” So, instead I will share some of the mayhem occurring in the back of the car on the way home.
But first, we must consider the car ride “to” the meet. My co-pilot and “navigator” was Patti, backed up by Bill and Lynda’s husband. Kristina, Deena, and Ona were organizing our next social event while Lynda and her husband were enjoying not having to drive, for once! As we were circling the Salisbury Zoo (we weren’t lost, we knew exactly where we were, duh!) Ona got on the phone to call Mark, our team captain, who was waiting anxiously for our timely arrival, “Yes, Mark, we’ve fixed the flat, and the zoo is beautiful in this late afternoon light, and we’ll be there eventually…”. Patti was saying, “Mike, I told you to turn at the Hardees, not the Burger King”. Another sighed, “Shouldn’t we have turned right back there?” If I wasn’t nervous enough about swimming, I was even more nervous that this Julius (my car’s name) load of teammates was in danger of never making it to the meet at all.
Cool heads prevailed and Julius got us to the Salisbury YMCA in time to wait for the warm-up session to begin. After the meet and the buffet dinner (great spread, by the way; those Dogfish can cook) someone found Jena’s wallet on the table where she’d been sitting. Jena had long ago left with her two boys (who were perfect young men during the meet). The wallet made its way to Julius where a discussion was in progress among the eight of us as to what to do. Meanwhile, I was trying to unravel our trail out of Salisbury in rain, “Isn’t that a sign for Route 50? Shouldn’t we have turned back there?” For all I know, they were passing the wallet around the two backseats like a hot potato.
Once again, Ona got on her phone. Somehow (I’m not sure of the facts here) we got hold of someone in our homeland with a SSPP School directory (where Jena’s boys attend), got her home phone, called her husband, some “splainin’ occurred, we got Jena’s cell phone number, and the call of relief was made just in time before Jena was about to slash the upholstery in her car in search of her wallet. She was parked outside the JC Penny at the Salisbury Mall. Just as I was about to turn onto the Route 50 on-ramp word came to the cockpit to change course for the Mall. Julius lurched across 3 lanes of traffic, nearly sending Lynda’s oversized luggage (it had wheels) through the side of Julius as we made our way to the rescue. Jena and her young boys were waiting at Pennys’ front door when the “team” rolled up in Julius. I think 16 hands came out the windows as a very thankful Jena graciously received her wallet.
Though there was talk about hitting some nasty bar in Cambridge (Bill seemed to know all about it) we made our way back to Talbot County in a relatively sober, yet giddy, mood; too much chlorine.
Congratulations to team TCY on a successful, well attended meet. Mark has us way ahead of any team at the meet on a per swimmer average basis. Thanks to Kristina’s bantering of the Dogfish, we may have come out on top. But, more importantly, thank you for making me feel like “one of the team”. Love swim ride and run…