Inaugural Battle of the Tri Clubs Swim Meet – hosted by dctriclub
Catholic University of America
PTOTRICLUB participants: Matt, Erica, Phil, Jania, Scott, LeeAnn, Eugene, Kang (photographer)
The battle began well before dawn. The first hurdle was waking up on time at 6:30am on a Sunday morning. Except that there was an additional challenge on top of that–Daylight Savings Time meant this was actually one hour earlier. Knowing that people were meeting at my place to carpool, I forced myself up into action.
The second hurdle was getting to the pool, which unfortunately involved a maze of roads through DC. Now, I have this thing against GPS. Call it a typical man-pride issue or what have you, but I like to think I have better navigational skills than a computer. This has gotten me into arguments before with passengers who insist on using GPS. In any case, I googlemapped the directions to Catholic U, decided the default directions were dumb, and plotted my own route.
On that morning, I had Scott and LeeAnn with me in the car, and we began the journey via the Key Bridge. Having studied the map the night before, I successfully navigated through several turns onto North Capitol Street. At that point, with essentially one more right turn to go, I felt pretty confident that this was in the bag. Until North Capitol Street suddenly turned in Blair St. And we found ourselves in Takoma Park. Apparently, my navigational hubris led me to overshoot the turn. By now, it was nearly 8:00am. If I were on my own, I probably would have continued to cut and slash my way through this jungle of roads, using the sun as my navigational aid. But I had passengers with me, and a race start to make. Humbly, I turned to the GPS smartphones of my cohorts to lead the way.
Finally made it to the Battle of the Tri Clubs Swim Meet. The place was bustling. Swimmers of all shapes and sizes and ages were there, though it appeared to be mostly a 20s to 30s very fit-looking crowd. The heats were posted on the wall, along with the teams competing that day: DCtriclub, BikeRack Multisport, LAAVA, SwimSpray, to mention a few. Conspiciously missing were two major tri clubs in the area: FeXY and Team Z. In fact, I hadn’t even heard of any of these other teams other than DCtriclub. Seemed kind of odd. In any case, we were just glad to be there.
The meet started off with the 200 freestyle team relay. Matt, LeeAnn, Phil, and Scott debuted for PTOTRICLUB.
Jumping off the starting blocks was an adventure. They never let you do that at area pools, but at the meet, there were two warmup lanes just for practicing the block starts. I had tried to study some youtubes previously, but I doubt it really made a difference. The good thing was, it was clear not everyone there was an elite swimmer. Plenty of people belly flopped off the start and skipped flip turns. But, just as there were n00bs like me, there were also elite former All-American swimmers putting up ridiculously fast times.
Once the meet started, it ran like clockwork. We kept track of each of our heats ourselves, lined up on our turn, did the race, then cooled down in the diving well. Everyone was signed up for different events, but we all had plenty of time to chill together in between heats and cheer on our teammates. Honestly, I found it way more fun than going to an actual triathlon, because here, you constantly had the opportunity to regroup with your team in between heats, while still pushing yourself during your own race.
I did pretty badly in my races, coming in dead last in every heat. Usually at double the normal time. It can be lonely swimming that last lap or two, knowing everyone is done and watching. But the atmosphere was very friendly and forgiving, and everyone would cheer when slow swimmers like myself finished.
There was one last race at the end of the day–the Medley Relay. Our team was LeeAnn, Phil, Scott, and myself as the anchor. In this case, anchor meant dead weight. LeeAnn started us off with a great backstroke, followed by Phil and Scott with the breaststroke and butterfly.
Standing on the blocks, I saw Scott coming in. He was neck to neck with two or three other teams. The crowd was going nuts! I saw his hand come in for the wall touch and I sprung into action, leaping in and swimming as fast as I could, making sure to try to execute a decent flip turn at the other end. Unfortunately, it was not enough. By the time I reached the finish, I could see and hear other teams congratulating each other. I had let down my team with another last-place finish.
Despite that, we managed to put up some good numbers for team points, because basically everyone who raced would get some points to contribute to the team total. Overall results:
Georgetown – 31
Well, we didn’t place in the top three for team points. LeeAnn managed to get a 3rd place in her age group. PTOTRICLUB placed 6th among the 9 teams competing. Though, not bad at all for just 5 swimmers! If we had more swimmers, we could have easily racked up more points.
Afterwards, checked out a nice little Cuban brunch place right by the university, called Little Ricky’s. Pretty much anything will hit the spot after a swim meet, but this place really was good! Sangria and mimosas to pair with delicious empanadas, puerco fritas, and other delectable good eats.
Overall, I had a great time and would definitely do it again!