9 Types of Competitors at Swim Meets

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

By Jennifer Yoo, Swimming World College Intern.

This is it. This is where it all pays off: the early morning practices, sets with long yardage, and hours upon hours of staring at a black line on the bottom of the pool. For every swimmer, the routine weekend swim meets are where they get to showcase their hard work and dedication. It’s a place for potentials to be realized and goals to be accomplished.

Meets are not just for improving times but also for social interactions. During competition, the ample down time serves as the perfect setting to people-watch. A wide range of characters emerge from each team at swim meets. Here are nine of the most common types of swimmers that you will come across at meets:

1. The Lone Wolf

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Photo Courtesy: Colin Cassady

This swimmer is not much of a talker. They always seem to be in the corner by themselves, listening to music. It’s hard to tell if they’re trying to hype themselves up or plotting for world domination, because their expression is constantly intense. No matter what is happening on deck, this swimmer always has at least one headphone in.

2. The Hype Man/Woman

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Photo Courtesy: Samantha Schoenecker

This swimmer is the exact opposite of the lone wolf, as they are always right in the middle of the action. Due to the grand gestures and loud cheers that they use to motivate their teammates, they’re easy to spot on pool deck. Even if their race is quickly approaching, you can always count on them to provide encouragement or count for a distance race. It’s a mystery how they have so much energy for everyone on top of their own races, but their role as the team’s cheerleader never goes unnoticed.

3. The Nervous Nellie/Nell

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Photo Courtesy: Grace Schwiederek

Similar to the hype man/woman, this swimmer is also easy to spot on the pool deck. As they walk into the meet, their backpack is on the verge of exploding with extra caps, goggles, towels, and bathing suits. It’s as if they are prepared for a swimming apocalypse. Even with all the extra padding that they bring, they show up behind the blocks way too early and simply sit or stand tensely with the look of terror written all over their face.

4. The Procrastinator

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Photo Courtesy: Pexels, Pixabay

Opposite the nervous nellie/nell is the procrastinator. These swimmers tend to show up minutes if not seconds before the meet or race starts. Even though their coach begs, they never warmup or cool down. They simply run up for their race, swim out of their mind, and then disappear until their next race. They either don’t care or just like to live life on the edge: a coach’s worst nightmare.

5. The Next Olympian

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Photo Courtesy: Pexels, Pixabay

You know or have heard of them. There is always a buzz surrounding this swimmer about how they’re seeded high and easily the fastest person at the meet. When you finally see or race them, you are completely star struck by their speed, technique, and ease in the water. They heftily sweep their races with incredible times that seem unattainable.

6. The Social Butterfly

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Photo Courtesy: Kate Smarjesse

If you ever want to know about the next Olympian or the latest team drama, they’re the ones to go to. Constantly surrounded by people, they can gossip for the entire meet about anything. They are less worried about what happens in the water and more about the people involved with the sport.

7. The Picnic Packer

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Photo Courtesy: Pexels, Anna Guerrero

Either their parents or they pack enough food to feed the entire team. They are stocked with granola bars, Gatorade, and other goodies that they are always willing to share with their teammates. Swimmers flock to them throughout the meet, but their supply never dwindles. Even at away meets, they have a new batch of snacks for every day of the meet.

8. The Electronic God

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Photo Courtesy: Pexels, Karol D

They have brought every electronic form of entertainment and its charger. The dangers of bringing electronics to a pool never seemed to have crossed their mind. Now that they are here, however, they take extra care of their toys and are extremely protective over them. They have set up camp next to the nearest outlet to play throughout the meet.

9. The Troublemaker

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Photo Courtesy: Taylor Brien

At every meet, there is one or a group of troublemakers. They either cannot get along with their teammates or cause some kind of disruption during the meet. As a result, their punishment is to stand next to their coach for a certain amount of time, depending on the severity of their crimes.

Share your experiences

Do you see yourself or your teammates on this list? Comment below and tag your teammates!

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

20 comments

  1. Kate Poxon

    Trudi Willetts seen a few of these in our time eh! 🤣🤣

    • Trudi Willetts

      Kate Poxon haven’t we just !

  2. Hannawell Storey

    Laura Amy Goodson I’m definitely number 3 😂😂😂

  3. Maya Kaplan

    Emily Ross I’m the hype man

    • Emily Ross

      Maya Kaplan I’m nervous nellie

  4. Kati Dawson

    Erin, which one are you?

  5. Dane Whittleston

    Oliver Whittleston which one are you?

  6. Sabrina Lumm Grader

    i love it. Jacki Nabor which one is Kai and which is Jadan

  7. Michael Auty

    Better not say 😀 lol love ya really olli

  8. Denise Richard Plant

    Magnolia Aquatic Club – look at the picture for type #9!

  9. Kristin Winfrey

    Number 3. I was usually by the blocks 15 minutes ahead of time. Literally no exaggeration there.

  10. avatar
    Spencer

    Love your writing!

    • avatar
      Jennifer Yoo

      Thank you!

  11. avatar

    I am definitely a mix between the “hype woman” and “social butterfly”! Although, when I was younger, I used to be the “picnic packer” but that was only when my mom packed my snacks LOL. Love this article!

    • avatar
      Jennifer Yoo

      Thank you! It is awesome to hear that you can relate to multiple types of competitors on this list!