Valentines Swimfest

In Utah we are so lucky to have a great group of US Masters Swimmers.  I know it sounds corny but they really are a family, that has never been anything but supportive, kind and most importantly FUN!

I’ve got great friends including my swim friends.  In December I wanted to do something to thank my swim friends for all their support, so I came up with the idea of a Christmas Swimfest.  This was just a fun get-together where we could swim, play games, get to know one another and have fun.  It was a great success.  So much so that I decided to do it again:

A Valentines Swimfest!

Team Photo after saltines relay!

It was without a doubt the best valentines I’ve ever had!  We had a good turn out and all the trimmings of a great Swimfest (yes, I’ve invented a whole new term- one life goal checked off my list!) including matching swim caps (King and Queen of Hearts caps got for .99 each- thank you swimoutlet.com), workout planned by Josh and then fun relays!

Esther, Me and Renee

I have always loved playing games and even more- orchestrating games. Naturally I love relays!  We did 4 different relays.  Each relay had 2 teams.

First, we did a t-shirt relay (red shirt for the holiday, of course!).  In this relay you have 2 over-sized t-shirts and after 25m’s you must give the t-shirt to the next swimmer.  It was harder than you’d think.  You have to tread water and take the shirt off and put the shirt on.  One group got out of the water.  That was a smart!

Goody and I before the t-shirt relay
Renee and Esther trading the t-shirt. It was hard!

Second, was a kickboard relay where each swimmer kicks 50 meters and passes his or her board to the next person and they must add it to their own, so with 4 on each team, the final swimmer has 4 kickboards.

kickboard relay
Team 1 before the kickboard relay. Esther, Kate, Goody and Josh

Third, we did a saltine relay.  For this relay each person swims a 50 meters, gets out of the pool, eats a saltine cracker and then whistles.  Once they’ve done this the next swimmer can go.  It was really hard! The chlorine makes your mouth dry and then the saltine cracker makes it worse.  It was fun!  I had to basically hoot my whistle.

Chris with the dreaded saltines!

Fourth, was a ‘race car’ relay.  The idea is you have to dive under water and run a matchbox car along the line at the bottom of the pool.  Once you are out of air you go to the top and the next member of your team (who has been following you) must take a turn until you complete a lap.  First team done wins.

After the relays we cleaned up and went to a diner that was close, Left Fork Grill.  It was a great find!  A terrific bargain and good food.  A place I would never have gone to without my friend Josh’s suggestion (he had never been there but saw that it was close).   How fun to have a greasy spoon type place close by.  Delicious! I broke a few rules and had buttermilk pancakes, eggs and sausage…yum!

At the Left Fork Grill. Yum (and open 24 hours a day. This could get me in trouble!)

I had such a good time!  It was exactly what I needed- just fun with friends.  Plus, we had 2 new swimmers come which is always great.  Welcoming others into our little swimming family is my way of paying it forward because I felt so welcome back in August at my first clinic.  I really feel the Swimfests is an inspired notion because it is an easy way to introduce people to swimming without the intensity of a meet or open water swim.  Not everyone is as gutsy as me (Can I say that without sounding cocky?) and coming to a party is low pressure.   One girl, Esther, came this time who has only had 3 lessons and she was awesome!

You know the saying ‘no man is an island’?  Well, if he is I will swim out to him!  I need friends.  I need support.  I don’t want you to think I have great success with all my parties.  I have had get-togethers where no one, zero people, came. As discouraging as that can be (and I shed a tear or two!) you just have to push through it and keep trying.

Companionship is worth the price.  Having a little fun is worth the price of a few failures. Believe me, this week, it was so worth the price. Don’t give up! If you don’t click with one group, try another, keep going.  Like anything in life, it takes effort and sacrifice to make friends (and no, the ‘ah ha’, ‘meant to be’ friend has only happened to me once- thanks Emily!) but if you are open and honest and work at it, somewhere you will find  kindred spirits- even if it just one great friend.   I promise!

I am now looking forward to the next Swimfest- they have St.  Patrick’s Day caps after all!  (It makes sucky holidays so much more fun!). We had a great idea to do an Easter Egg hunt in April! You’d have to think of a way to weigh down the eggs but how fun!  I love a project!

I had a great time making goodie bags for the swim.  Something fun to focus on after a hard couple of weeks.  I even made my own valentine, which was designed by my super talented friend Joan.  Go to her website!

How fun to design your own valentine! Happy Valentines Day Everyone!

It was just a great time and I have a big smile on my face today!  Thanks friends for the great swim!

Here are some more photos of the day:

Our new friend Esther!
A great picture of Renee taken by my friend Kate
Gords and Josh. They both led the clinic at my first open water swim. You might call them Swimming Ambassadors!

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