By Jason Marsteller
HONOLULU, Hawaii, June 6. OKAY, maybe I didn't demand a trade after all! But, I did wind up getting reassigned to a new group of five swimmers tonight in my van at the National Club Swimming Association's All-American meet. This time, it will be a set of athletes from the West team. Bob Gillett wanted to make sure that I was able to chronicle the goings on for both sides of the meet, so I found out that I am officially connected to the West for the next bit.
I do have to thank Hannah Davis, Martin Kata, Katy Hinkle, Tyler Smith and Kate Woolbright for being so patient and understanding throughout the first few days of driving. We took a group picture, that you can see in the list of pics to the right, to commemorate our short time together. Thanks guys! Good luck at the meet!
Here are some assorted ramblings from a sun-burnt reporter:
* After dropping off our East five for a particularly tough morning workout (I'm working on the coaching staff to get copies of the workouts for our devoted readers to take a look at. If I get a copy of any of them, I'll post it in one of these pieces.), my wife and I decided we needed to make a supply run. Ya know, beach towels, a cute hat for her, some more sunscreen for me. Just the usual requirements for a trip to Hawaii. Since Wal-Mart is usually everywhere, we decided to go there. We've usually had GREAT results when using Verizon's VZ Navigator through her cell phone.
I'm NOT sure Verizon is friendly with the map makers here in the Island State, though. First, when it says "You've arrived at your destination," and you are overlooking a cliff without a Wal-Mart – that is a bit funny. Second, when the first direction it gives leads you to another response stating, "Take the first legal U-turn," you might be in trouble. Third, the electronic pronunciation of the lyrically-named streets around Hawaii is pretty hilarious. Think about a computer trying to say Kamehameha Highway. That was a trip. We ran into a Safeway, so we were still able to get some of what we needed.
* After the morning workout, we piled into our vans and headed to North Shore. The original plan for the trip was to hit Waimea Bay, before heading to Sunset Beach to see the legendary "Pipeline" and Turtle Bay. However, a bit of a mutiny took place as the kids wanted to see "beach" more than "van" on this particular excursion. So, most of the groups stayed at Waimea Bay the whole time.
* At Waimea Bay, a lot of the swimmers went rock diving. I wouldn't call it cliff diving, because it wasn't incredibly high up. But, it was high enough to test the mettle of the swimmers taking the leap. It sounds like they all had a blast. There were also underwater caves around the place they dove where they were able to swim with sea turtles and see some spectacular schools of blue fish.
* While the kids were swimming or diving off the rocks, the coaching staff was having depth challenges on who could guess just how far down the bottom was at any given time. Some said 10 feet, while others argued it had to be 11 feet or more for a variety of interesting reasons. Not quite sure who wins out in that type of an argument, since there was no independent judge to say who won. Gotta love competitive types arguing about stuff where no one can win at the moment.
* One of the funniest parts of the day came at the end of the excursion, and on the way back to the afternoon workout. When everyone finally arrived at the pool, the drivers had some conversations about the drive. I don't think any driver did not hear the following line from at least one swimmer in their van: "Can't you just pretend you got lost so we can get a bit of rest before practice?" Luckily, once the swimmers arrived to the pool – they went to work like their All-American status would proclaim.
* I finally finished the swimmer introduction recordings for the soon-to-come Swimming World Radio pieces introducing the East and West teams. We'll be posting four separate packages for each of the direction-gender teams – East Women, West Women, East Men, West Men. That is the next piece of work as soon as I get done with this journal entry!
* Before the group went out for another Waikiki walkabout, Bob Gillett addressed everyone. He spoke about the history of the NCSA, the importance of this meet, and the opportunity each swimmer has to make a statement.
I'm off to finish the rest of my work before hitting the sack.
* Sidenote for this journal. Thanks for a great conversation, Abbie Fish. I promise I will never ever ever again use the following phrase, "Wow, with a name like that, you MUST be a good swimmer." You were so very kind not to pull out an eye roll. I still feel stupid for that one! Even though, I have heard about three or four other people say it this week so far! Let's hope you light it up this week so that I can use "A Fish Called Abbie" this time!
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