Observations from the Recent Western Zone Championships

Observations from the Recent Western Zone Championships

By Chase McFadden//Contributor  | Thursday, August 23, 2018

The 59 Local Swim Committees that comprise USA Swimming are distributed across four regional zones of the United States: Central, Eastern, Southern and Western. Each zone hosts a yearly 14 & Under Age Group Championship meet. The Western Zone Age Group Championships were contested August 8-11 in Roseville, CA. Over four days, 721 swimmers representing 16 LSCs descended on the Roseville Aquatics Complex -- home pool for California Capital Aquatics, a Level 4 Club in the USA Swimming Club Recognition Program. Fifty volunteer officials worked the deck, judging 4044 swim entries, while 200 additional volunteers planned and pulled-off a swim event that could only be judged as exceptional. Some notes from four memorable days in Roseville...

  • When meet announcer extraordinaire Mike “On the Mic” Jamison reminds you, “There are only two rules for the meet: Number one, have fun. And number two, stay hydrated,” he really means, “If you don’t strictly adhere to rule two, the likelihood of being able to follow rule one dips significantly.”
  • It’s hot.
  • As always, a timer’s chair is the best seat in the house. Shaded. With water provided.
  • It’s even better when your partner in time is an 11-year-old from Utah named Truman, who loves Rick Riordan books and Clash of Clans and is somehow engaged in a little bit of each between heats but rarely misses a beat over four hours of stop-watching.
  • BTW, his village is coming along nicely. And that dragon-thing he earned during the 400 IM is pretty rad.
  • Based on an independent survey of the 11-year-old and 44-year-old timing in Lane 9, New Mexico’s Stranger Things inspired team caps are also pretty rad.
  • So are Wyoming’s.
  • Speaking of stranger things, listening to and observing the swimmers behind the blocks and on the blocks is an entertaining study in adolescent quirkiness and goofballedness. (SEE: 10-year-old complimenting fellow competitor on her toe nails seconds before they race.)
  • Neither age nor skill appears to diminish the general level of quirkiness and goofballedness in swimmers. (SEE: Lilly King)
  • The cacophony created by the Montana contingent cheering on a teammate from behind the blocks is equal parts earsplitting and awesome.
  • Great swimmers come in all shapes and sizes.
  • So do officials. And timers.
  • When a small fire breaks out in a non-green green space adjacent to the pool complex during night two of finals, kids from areas of the state ravaged by flames get nervous and scared, understandably.
  • Fortunately, the fire was put out quickly.
  • First responders: Thank you, thank you, thank you.
  • And hang in there, California.
  • The professional event photographers capturing the action at the meet partake in a daily 35mm dryland workout that combines sprinting, kneeling, dodging, and squatting. It’s impressive.
  • The coaching staffs for Southern California Swimming and Pacific Swimming follow a similar daily regimen, but their workout also includes manic arm-waving and enthusiastic shouting. Their passion and positivity are on full display.
  • The competition between swimmers to swap collector pins, caps, shirts and other assorted gear may be more spirited than the action in the pool.
  • Based on an independent survey of the 44-year-old writing this article, Alaska’s “Not Too Cold to Bring Home Gold” T-shirts are tough to beat.
  • However, “Not Too Cold to Rush for Gold” would be a bit more apropos and should be strongly considered for next year.
  • You’re welcome, Alaska Swimming.
  • BTW, meet records at this Western Zone fell faster than the temperature in Barrow.
  • Mike “On the Mic” Jamison should drop the mic at the conclusion of Saturday evening’s 200 meter free relay. Signature move.
  • Regardless of where they’re from, swim people tend to be good people.




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