Swimming World is producing the live webcast of the 2016 CeraVe Invitational on the campus of Rutgers University. Click here to watch the live stream, view video interviews and watch races on demand!
Commentary by Trina Sanyal, Swimming World Intern 2016 CeraVe Invitational
Although I am not a swimmer, the energy in the air at the 2016 BAC CeraVe invitational was so contagious that I found myself getting excited over a sport that I myself have never competed in. Within each swimmer and parent volunteer, is a pure dedication, and joy for swimming. That kind of enthusiasm transformed my understanding of what it means to be a swimmer, and more importantly, what it means to organize a swim meet, especially one like this invitational, which holds competitors from all over the country.
Although it is an undeniable fact that the swimmers here in this year’s CeraVe Invitational, are some of the best swimmers in the country (a few of the competitors even having Olympic Trials qualifying times in their respective events), the unwavering support and work of the parent volunteers and staff cannot be ignored.
From an outsider’s perspective, at first glance, a swim meet of this size is exactly what it looks like: A large group of swimmers, competing for the best times, in their events. However, a year has gone into planning this invitational, and the workings behind each individual part of this meet are what impressed me the most.
Leading up to the meet
Being that the CeraVe Invitational is a sanctioned competition, it must follow the guidelines of the New Jersey Swimmers Association, as well as the USA Swimming organization. The regulations must be closely followed and therefore, only those qualifying for this competition can attend.
Becky Hammond, a dedicated parent volunteer, plays a large role in organizing this meet in accordance to its specific standards. Although she is extremely humble about her job in coordinating the meet, it is clear that her and her team of other dedicated volunteers are the backbone of the CeraVe meet’s functionality.
Down to the time the meet starts, to the heat sheets containing information on each individual competitor, to the awards for each winning swimmer, Becky, along with her team, do it all. When asked why she and other volunteers dedicate so much of their time to swim meets, Becky replied that she enjoys “seeing [her] children compete, the challenges of coordinating, and the people she meets”.
Becky admits that although there have been frustrating moments in organizing a meet of such a large scale, the people she works with make all the trouble worth it. Through the whirlwind of wonderful chaos that surrounds her, Becky keeps a calm and encouraging smile on her face throughout. Her nature is reflective of the attitudes of all parent volunteers: kind, optimistic, and incredibly diligent.
Running the Meet
During the meet, Becky and her team ensure that all processes are running smoothly. As swimmers qualify to final rounds, the volunteers make sure that heat sheets are posted, CereVe as sponsors are represented, and no swimmer gets hurt. A major part of the regulations for this swim meet is the insurance that all swimmers are safe, and are at this meet for no longer than four hours at a time.
Becky also has to make sure that all the planning leading up to this meet operate smoothly as well. Things that seem trivial, like the availability of parking spaces, have to be executed with perfection.
Planning and running the CereVe meet, or any sanctioned meet at all is no small task, and it takes an extremely efficient group, like Becky and her team, for this event to be a success.