Wednesday, September 7, 2011

View From the Stands: A Swim Fan's Survival Guide to "Off Season"

The Minnesota Grand Prix is 64 days away

The other night I found myself watching swimming on You Tube.   At one point I said to myself, "this must have been what it was like during the Great Depression when people ate rutabagas they grew in their front yard and made clothes out of potato sacks."  I wondered if there were Hoovervilles for swim fans where we could all go, get a hot meal and re-watch Worlds or irrelevant NCAA races from 2003.    I really don't want to get heavily involved in another sport so I've been coping with enormous handfuls of chocolate chips and large blocks of cheese.  Desperate times require desperate measures.

This year we were especially spoiled because we had Worlds and then immediately Nationals.  We couldn't even keep up with all the blogs and tweets.  My tivo was loaded.  Every night it was like Santa came by and dumped a load of presents under my tree.  (If my children are reading this yes, Santa is real and this is not merely an analogy.)  It was a glorious few weeks but that just made the comedown even harder.  Not only did Santa stop coming but so did the Easter Bunny, Hanukah Harry and the tooth fairy.  

 For the past few weeks the swim fan has endured almost nothing but vacation tweets and silence from their favorite elite level swimmers.  But....listen....(ahhhhhhhh.....) there has been a recent rash of tweets from swimmers about being sore and tired.  Ricky Berens tweeted yesterday he had his first double of the Olympic season but it's still early.  Tyler Clary doesn't even know what time practice is, he showed up an hour early or something.  There's been a lot of activity at the NCAA level (like no one wants to be in the Big 12 anymore)  but, overall, it's been quiet.

This year I have taken some initiative.  I have decided that being a swim fan means supporting the sport at all levels.  A couple of weeks ago I took my daughters to our local high school's swim team "open house."  It was awesome and the kids really appreciated it.  You could tell they weren't used to a lot of attention.  I'm also taking the girls to some meets at Mizzou if there's anyone to swim against (ha ha) and to some sectional meets.   Going to see the high school swim team really showed me elite-level swimming is only a piece of swimming and there's much more out there to enjoy.  I had a great time at the high school, saw some good swimming and got a great recommendation for an think you're gonna get that at Ultra Swim?

So hold on swim fans we can do this.  Don't call Dr. Drew just yet.  Check out the swimming in your area;  the college, high school or even club.  Get around some chlorine, I guarantee your serotonin levels will rise.  In the meantime, how are you coping?  I'm getting tired of cheese.


  1. If ESPN Classic can show football games from before I was born, then yeah, I think the Classic Swim Channel should be an option.

  2. This might be the first time youtube was ever compared to a rutabaga, and it really works as a metaphor!

    I haven't been to a high school meet since I was on the team in 10th grade. Great suggestion!!

  3. MissB said:
    I have been in a total depressed mode since Nationals ended. I wish they showed WUG, and Pan AM games on TV. The lack of tweets, brutal. Thank god I still have worlds on my DVR. I can relieve the magic! :)

  4. As a swim Mom who has attended, timed, scored and refereed about a million meets during the past 10 years I'm sure I'll go through some kind of withdrawal when my son starts swimming collegiate... however, I'm hopeful to get over it and onto another phase of my life... like attending, timing scoring and refereeing my grandchildren's swim meets.