After talking with teammates and the coaches, you have decided to take part in a swim meet. The first thing to do is make sure that you are registered with USMS (United States Masters Swimming). When you are asked to choose your "Club", select Arizona Masters, then use the "Workout Group" dropdown menu to choose "SaddleBrooke Masters (AZSBM)". If you need help, ask your coach.
Next, go to our website/calendar and find a link to the meet you wish to enter. The entry forms are not too complicated, but if you need help just ask a coach. Enter the events you wish to swim. If you enter the maximum number of events, and then don't feel like swimming when the event arrives, you have the option to opt out by simply not appearing at the start of that event. If events you wish to swim are close together, enter a slow seed time for the first one and your best for the second. This will give you more time to recover between races as they are usually seeded slowest to fastest. When Psych Sheets (a list of those entered) come out, look them over and review your strategies for the meet. Again, your expert coaches are happy to share their wisdom and experience.
Goggles (2 pair), 2 suits, cap, sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, coat or shirt, footwear, chair, food (think carbs), liquids, plenty of towels, soap and/or shampoo, a winning attitude and the ability to enjoy yourself and have fun with friends. Remember that it might get cold when you're wet after the sun sets.
Check-in if necessary. Check the "Heat Sheet" at the pool as it might be different than the one that was sent out earlier or posted online.
Find your teammates and set up a spot with your chair out of the sun. Pay attention to the scoreboard as the meet might be moving faster than planned.
Give yourself plenty of time to warm up. Plan to do at least a few hundred yards of warm-up including three or four sprints to get the blood flowing.
When entering the warm-up pool, always enter feet first (no diving). Always swim circles even if you are the only on in the lane. Someone will eventually join you if not many.
Be ready a heat or two ahead of your event by staging behind the timers. Check with the timer to make sure that you are at the proper lane for your race, heat and lane. Relax and have fun!
So it's time for your race. You're behind the timer and the heat ahead has just finished. The Referee/starter will give four short blasts of the whistle. This tells you to move behind the blocks. Adjust the starting block to suit you. The next long whistle tells you to step onto the blocks. Get your feet in position. The starter will now say "Swimmers, Take Your Mark". Get in your starting position NOW. Don't move until you hear the "Starting Tone". At the sound of the tone, GO!
You will automatically be swimming faster than should during your first couple of laps because of adrenalin.
Settle in to your pace and swim the way you have been practicing.
When you are done, either hop out or if you need to use the ladder, wait until the referee gives you permission to move across lanes to the ladder.
Check your time to see how well you did.
After you have completed your race, make your way to the warm-up pool and do a "cool down". Take your time. You want to swim for a while in order to flush out as much lactic acid as possible. The contraction of your muscles at a relaxed pace will help to facilitate this. Swim easily until you feel pretty good.
If you wish, review the race with your coach and think about what you need to improve. If you get disqualified, don't get upset...just learn from the experience and become determined to eliminate mistakes next time.
Go get something to eat if you have enough time. DRINK water. Relax. Enjoy the feeling of getting a PR !!
Take a shower and breathe a sigh of relief. You made it!
Go check the meet results, both for yourself and your teammates. Give them well-deserved congratulations...and graciously take theirs.
Go out to dinner with your swim buddies and get ready for tomorrow.
Drink plenty of water. Get lots of sleep.
Look forward to taking what you've learned and applying it in future workouts! Every day is an opportunity to enjoy improving!