5 Thoughts of A Floridian at A New England Swim Meet

vivian-nyguen-uvm
Photo Courtesy: Vivian Nguyen

By Maddie Strasen, Swimming World College Intern.

This past weekend, New England swimmers gathered at Brown University for the New England Senior Championships. Growing up in Florida, my championship meet was always Florida Senior Championships or Florida Gold Coast Senior Championships, held in Orlando or Coral Springs (two pools I know like the back of my hand).

I was nervous about the new environment and new people that would come with my first New England meet. Although it was a very different experience from Florida swimming, I was thrilled to be able to swim in a new pool, see some fast races from swimmers I had never heard of before, and soak in the team oriented atmosphere.

Here are five thoughts I had as a Floridian at a New England swim meet…

1. Why have I never heard of these people before?

bluefish swim club champions new england

Photo Courtesy: Bluefish Swim Club

New England swimmers are underratedly fast. I found myself wondering why I had never heard of the names of these swimmers who were crushing the competition. I underestimated New England swimming and its capability to produce incredibly dedicated swimmers at such a young age. Even at a senior level meet, there were swimmers under the age of 13 who competed and even made finals.

2.  It’s weird that no one here knows who I am.

Caitlin-Daday-friends

Photo Courtesy: Caitlin Daday

When I was trying to hop in the warm down pool, I heard someone behind me yell, “Maddie, how did you do?” I was fully prepared to turn around and rant about how my 200 freestyle didn’t go as I planned, however, I saw the swimmer who had called my name walk up to one of his teammates and begin talking to her about her swim. How did I expect someone at this meet to know who I was and even address me by name? Lucky for me, not knowing anyone got me out of having to explain how my swims went to anyone who asked (simply because no one asked).

3. How does everyone know each other?

Photo Courtesy: Kalina DiMarco

Photo Courtesy: Kalina DiMarco

New England swimming might have some fast swimmers, but there is no debating that it is a very small environment. Everyone seems to know everyone. My teammates at Vermont discussed the competition before and during the meet, throwing names left and right, and said “hi” to at least 50 people over the course of the weekend.

4. I love these caps.

lin-esther-100-im-2-ncap-invitational-2016

Photo Courtesy: Maddie Kyler

It seems weird for me to think that, but this was a prominent thought in my head every single day of the meet. Every day I found a new swim cap color that I loved. My swim caps in Florida were all black, and from what I remember, almost everyone’s teams at home have the basic colors of black, gray, and red (with a few others thrown into the mix). Throughout the meet, I saw blue, red, pink, yellow, black, white, and orange caps, and I’m probably missing a few. The pool deck looked so colorful and fun.

5. Do we do that in Florida?

morning-long-course-outside-pool

Photo Courtesy: Annie Grevers

I can’t really tell if some of the funny things that happen in New England swimming also happen in Florida swimming. For example, my teammates seemingly knowing everyone on the pool deck might not be as weird as I think it is. Maybe I know more people in the Florida swimming world than I think I do, and they would think the same of me if they had gone to a Florida meet. Furthermore, the New England swimming vibe seemed extremely political and tense. Although there are politics throughout the swimming community, I find myself wondering if Florida swimming can be that way, too.

In the long run, although there are many differences between different groups of USA Swimming. The swimming world is small and close-knit – we can all find solace in sharing a sport that we all love across the country and even across the world.

All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.

3 comments

  1. avatar
    ObservantOne

    “Fast” a relative term compared to other LSC’s such as North Carolina or Indiana. New England swimming isn’t fast.

  2. avatar
    CTSwim

    New England might not have the depth of these other LSCs, but at least on the men’s side they have very solid talent at the top. The winner of the 100 free went 50.7 at 17 years old with another 18 & U swimming a 51.2 in prelims. The 200 had three guys, 2 of them 16 year olds, go 1:53.0 or faster. The 100 breast was won in a 1:02. It took a 2:04 to win the 200 IM. 50 free style was won in 23.1, again by a 17 year old. 2 16 year olds went 15:51 in the 1500, with the race being separated by .1. A 2:01 was the winning time in the 200 fly and it took a 54.0 to win the 100, with a 16 year old going 54.7. A 17 year old won the 200 breast in 2:17. Obviously these times are quite fast considering the ages and the fact that many kids didn’t do a full taper for this meet. Many of these times are nationally relevant and NE Swimming has multiple potential medalists at both Summer Jrs. and US Opens. While NE Swimming obviously doesn’t have the depth of some other LSCs, it is a very fast and competitive LSC on the top end. Calling a whole LSC slow is unfair and overlooks some incredible rising talent that may very well be representing the US one day.

  3. Frank Elenio

    I was at this meet too and it was really different than anything I’ve swam at! NE Swim is such a tight knit community indeed, perhaps even tighter than the NJ Swimming one that I grew up in! Nonetheless, it was such a fun meet and yes say what you want but the talent there was mind boggling…the high point winner was 14!!! Of the entire meet, 14!!!