The feeling at the Belmont Plaza was that this was the last dance for tech suits and swimmers swam races like it was their "last day" on earth.
I walked into the Belmont Plaza this morning to an overwhelming roar! You not could talk over, nor hear anything but the roar for Alex Kostich's WR in the 800-SCM free. His time was eight-minutes, five-seconds and change. Think Beijing when the Chinese team took to the field.
"How many world records set this morning," I asked. "Just three so far," came the reply, "all 800-free swims."
I have not talk much about it but even SCAQers set several WRs.
The feeling at the Belmont Plaza was extraordinarily exuberant and severely focused. Even I took a simply relay at the end of the day like it was going to be last time I would ever be allowed to have fun in a tech suit.
It was the 200-free relay and I was third position for lift-off. I had just warmed down form the 100 IM, and when I got to the blocks in lane-four, I was both sad and determined to swim as hard as I could and try to enjoy and memorized each second as it happened for this could be my last meet.
My dive went well and the water seemed bluer than usual, Even the highlights on the bubbles seemed brighter. Intrinsically, it's like I could feel all four corners of the pool without looking.
As I chased the competitor down in lane-5, I refused to breathe. I was going to swim one-and-a-half laps with a strict breath-control quota of only one breath for the whole race. My next goal was to kick as hard I could to make them cramp by the time I got to the wall. When I saw the wall approaching I wanted to time my stroke so I landed right on the pad but I had to glide with my head down since I was half a stroke short.
Our relay swam a sub-two-minute race and we place second to our own team relay. I think they set a record. Who wasn't? I think our time was a 1:56.3 or a 1:45 in yards.
They tell me the New England Masters Championships are next week and that will crack the sky in regards to WRs. I bet the competitors swim their races the same way.
A message was sent today to the USMS that suits drove not just the enthusiasm for the meet but the both the participation and the economics of it as well. I kid you not. Jeff Moxie was on the scene observing and I suspect he got an ear-full of pro suit rhetoric, so much so, I am convinced that something is brewing,
Last year this Regional meet had 500 swimmers attend and believe me, Champagne glasses were clinking. This year they had 600-plus. Ultimately, the meet probably grossed roughly $27,000 thereby subsidizing the Long Beach Grunions swim club which was the club that put on the meet in a very healthy way.
I was later told that if the meet got any bigger, say 700-plus, the meet would have to become a four-day meet. That was "very noticed" by Jeff Moxie who was in the audience and he too could hear the roaring of the crowd. To keep this sort of momentum going I think something wonderful is going to happen in regards to SCY races and how thy relate to the FINA governing body's opinion of the tech suit. It has to happen. Masters swimming has never been this big and I am sure the USMS is never going to let it shrink and if suits are the reason for the success, I think tweaking of the suit rules is going to take place. :-P
A couple days ago I criticized you by your anger at FINA due to the suits. Now, I feel it is my obligation to congratulate you on a great post. I believe this is the sole reason the suits can be good for swimming: people like fast swimming, they boost participation, and they boost the sport's economy. I also hope the governing bodies take a different look at them.
You know, I didn't think that banning tech-suits would really hurt the sport... but now that the end is nigh, and in light of this post, I'm in your camp, Tony. Banning tech-suits is like a mouthful of socks for the sport, innovation, and athlete enthusiasm.
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