Last weekend was an exhilarating ride for the UCI Swim Club. As a dedicated member of the club, I have seen an insane drop in the amount of Swim Club members this winter quarter. The UCI Swim Club went from 20 members in fall quarter to just eight this winter quarter. Although there are only eight of us, we all carry the team and we never miss a single practice. How do we do this? Well, we have slowly become numb to the pain of our 6:30 a.m. practices every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. This pain has transformed into enjoyment, as I have begun to truly appreciate the benefits of exercising early in the morning. During these practices, we burn about an average of 1000 calories. Our swim sets are long and on quick intervals, but we encourage one another through it.
On Saturday, March 4, we finally got to put all of our grueling practices to show. We travelled to UCLA to compete against, UCSD, USC, U of O, and of course UCLA. The swimmers were extremely competitive and had extensive swim backgrounds. We were not sure how we would stack up against them. However, the UCI team did outstanding. We won quite a few events and many of us got personal best times.
Although racing in a swim meet can be scary, you only need to focus on a few things to be successful. The first thing to concentrate on is your swimsuit and goggles. This seems quite basic, but if you are self-conscious that swimsuit shows too much skin or you are worried about your goggles filling up with water, you will be concentrated on these concerns instead of the race. The next thing that is important to focus on is how you fuel yourself throughout the meet. Make sure to bring, healthy, light snacks that are full of protein. Some of the things I brought were fruit, a gluten free peanut butter sandwich, and a salad. It’s easy to get hungry after just one event, but you must pace yourself when it comes to eating. Sometimes events get skipped and you may have to swim sooner than you expected; swimming on a full stomach never makes for a good outcome.
Lastly, it’s important to focus on having fun. This sounds awfully cliché, but I mean it! Take this time to bond with your coaches, your teammates, and swimmers from other schools. This is the best place to make long lasting relationships because you are at an event where everybody is passionate about the same thing: swimming.