This weekend during the annual Red & Blue Meet, shiny new red and blue caps went on to divide the Stingrays for spirited competition in the long course meters pool at Mountain View. Representing the Red Team were coaches: Ian, Larry, Mark W., Emma, and Francine. Representing the Blue Team were coaches: Pike, Michael, Tonya, Sammy, and Mark K. By the end of Saturday’s swims, the Red Team was slightly ahead in combined results with Red men leading the Blue, and Blue women leading the Red. Anything could happen on Sunday. By day’s end it was Red 4,595, Blue 4,269. Congratulations Red Team!

But the Red & Blue Meet wasn’t about high scores was it? In fact, coaches were admonished to leave their stop watches in behind and not focus on splits and best times.

True, every meet is about swimming fast, but this weekend we let the computer and touch pads do the splits and keep score. At this point in our training cycle the Red & Blue Meet is about the quality of form, technique, starts, turns, and race plans. In a long course pool we get to see a lot of swimming—technique and form, body line, hand speed. “What was the one thing you learned at this meet?” was the question repeatedly asked by one of our newest coaches to his swimmers. One of our head coaches reminded us of the focus: “How are we applying the things we are working on in practice?” The Red & Blue Meet is about our swimmer development philosophy. For some of our younger swimmers who may pop out during the summer league season and never swim a long course pool, this meet is good experience for them. Recently all our swimmers at all our sites have been working the back-to-breast stroke cross turn for the individual medley. You could see coaches keep count, mark their heat sheets (“There’s one, there’s another, that was legal...”) every time a swimmer went back-to-breast cross in the individual medley. In these moments we seemed to be only Stingrays, neither red nor blue.

No meet can happen without an army of volunteers and volunteer leaders. And here the Stingrays are an exceptional family of helpers. Here’s a quick, rough count of volunteers. For every session, it takes 32 timers, 2 runners, 8 in concessions, 6 for hospitality, 3 for Clerk of Course table, plus credentialed officials to run one day of this sanctioned meet. Wow and thank you! Particular thanks to those who recruit and lead our volunteer army: Caroline Horne our Head Volunteer Coordinator, with Elizabeth Wetterling and Sandy Portis. Thank you Michelle Whitesel, Hospitality Chair, for keeping our hospitality room yummy, neat, the coffee always hot (and strong), and handing out cold water with sweets on the deck!

The meet is over, shiny new red and blue swim caps are off; packed away until next year. Our cheers can ring together with one voice. We are Stingrays—one family and team of community and character. We are “training 4 life”; developing swimmers for life and lifelong fitness.

Heads up!

October 23 is the DEADLINE for the one-day Turkey Trot 10 & Under Meet, Nov. 4 at DYNAMO

October 30 is the DEADLINE for our RAYS IMX Meet, Nov. 10-11 at MVAC