This past weekend we had a meet in Worcester at Holy Cross. This meet was a special one for us because it was our biggest group ever going, along with many personal bests and great meet experiences.
Our preparation for the meet was rather hasty due to my schedule with Union but I thought that given the lack of prep everyone dove quite well. Our weekend began Saturday afternoon at 1:30 pm. Before competitions, I always like to have a meet prep practice for us to go through all of our dives so we can feel good and ready for the upcoming meet. These have always been some of my favorite practices especially when I was diving. There is just a different energy in the air. You have a purpose in practice and everyone is on a mission to look good for the competition.
Saturday was no different and my favorite pre-meet club practice so far. The energy was good the kids were ripping dives left and right and they even finished a few minutes early. After practice, we all drove out to Worcester Massachusetts to our hotel. It was a nice drive and a straight shot there.
Most of the team made it in around 6:30 pm. We had a little time to chill before our dinner reservation at The Fix (a local legendary burger joint), which was about a block away. Team dinner was great! The kids had a table to themselves and I had the opportunity to sit and talk to the parents. This was awesome because when I'm coaching I don't get to really discuss things with them. I got lots of great feedback and I'm excited to hear about everyones' vision for the club.
The few ideas that came up that we are working on are:
-Short Sleeve shirts (so we don't die of heat stroke at meets)
-Launch the online store (so we have more access to team apparel)
-Get rid of the hot tub (kids are more productive)
After an awesome dinner back at the hotel, the parents and I had fun getting to know each other in the lobby and the kids all had a little too much fun in the hotel pool... They may or may not have gotten kicked out. All told it was a great Saturday.
Sunday started off with a bang around 9 am for our 16-18 competition. We had Eliana, Brian, and Erik compete and they all dove well amidst the stiff competition. El finished 14th on 1m and 13th on 3m, Brian and Erik finished 8th, and 5th respectively on the 1m. Caroline and Maddy were up next for the 14-15 group and they finished 11th and 13th respectively. Finally our youngins Julia, Maya, and Billy threw down some great dives for some personal bests and finished 7th, 4th, and 1st respectively. Billy made history becoming our first diver to win an event.
The meet overall was a success and a great learning experience for me and the kids. It was really coincidental but during this past week of practice, I have been letting the kids try to distract people that are on the diving board on purpose. My goal here is to help them build an immunity to the outside world and to teach them that it is possible to tune out the noise and focus on your dive. This skill seemed to come in handy this past weekend with over 100 divers diving on only 3 boards. Since we had so many divers, there was a separate judging panel for each board which can be really tough. Not only are people diving while you are diving but there are separate announcers for each board. This means you could be diving while scores are being read, people are splashing you, talking in the hot tub walking behind the board etc.. In addition to that noise since there were so many divers, there were no dive changes allowed before the meet everything had to be changed on the board. This may not sound like much but to be able to listen and focus on the correct announcer interpret the dive number, realize that it is incorrect, signal the official that you would like to make a change, confirm the change and then finally perform the dive can be quite a stressful task for a young diver. I was really proud of how all of our divers handled themselves on the boards and in the meet and I think that they gained a lot more in terms of confidence and experience from this meet then they actually realized. If you can keep a level head and thrive in such a chaotic environment I think that will only make it easier for them to succeed in similar situations in high school, college, and in their future careers.