Nearly 60 MAC members participated in a virtual competition during what would’ve been the Michigan LMSC’s state meet
With many pools across the country closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve lost something very important to us: our daily chlorine fix.
There’s something else we miss a lot: our connection to our lanemates who support us through hard sets, our coaches on deck who ask us how we’re doing each day, and our teammates we go out for coffee with after practice.
With social distancing and the lack of open pools and open water swimming availability in most parts of the country, how do we fill that gap? How do we connect and also have a little fun and competition at the same time?
My workout group, Milford Athletic Club, tried a fun “meet” last weekend, when we were scheduled to defend our title at the Michigan LMSC’s state meet. As the weekend the meet was scheduled for approached, we all felt that we should’ve been together.
We wanted to share our idea with other Masters programs across the country that might be feeling the same loss of their teammates and competition. Please feel free to take what we have and build on it. Invite your friends and family to connect, compete, and stay healthy.
Swimmers signed up online and earned points for activities such as connecting with each other and putting together funny videos. The competition took place during the same time our meet would’ve been, so even though we couldn’t be together, we could connect with each other and compete.
We wanted people to not only get out and be active but also share their activities, get their friends and family involved, and connect with other teammates as well. We created a Google Doc to put on our team website for people to sign up. All activities were assigned a score, and competitors could do them multiple times during the weekend. We did an email blast to the team to let them know about it.
When the entry closed, we divided the registrants into two equal groups of 28, separating by age and ability, knowing that some of our swimmers spend a lot of time running, biking, or at the gym.
Here was our point system:
- 5K run/walk: 15 points
- 30-minute walk: 5 points
- 45-minute dryland workout: 15 points
- Duathlon (5K run/walk, 12-mile bike, 5K run/walk): 45 points
- 15-mile bike: 15 points
- 45-minute miscellaneous cardio: 15 points
- Make a fun swim-related photo/video and post to the workout group’s Facebook page: 10 points
- Call (not text, email, or message) to see how a teammate is doing: 5 points
- Take a photo while doing an activity and post to the workout group’s Facebook page: 5 points
- Yoga/stretch for 15 minutes: 5 points
How It Went
We kicked off the event on Friday with a Facebook Live session with one of our coaches. People then started earning points, and once they finished their activity, they entered it onto the Google Doc, which automatically updated their point total and their team’s point total.
Throughout the weekend, the score between the Blue team and Green team went back and forth. We posted the team scores on Facebook regularly, just like they announce the score at our state meet. Someone suggested a Zoom cocktail hour on Saturday night (our meet social), so we set that up, sent an email blast, posted about it on Facebook, and enjoyed a cocktail while recapping the day with our teammates.
As Sunday’s 5 p.m. deadline approached, the teams were fewer than 200 points apart. People were either out scoring last-minute points or, if they had done their workout in the morning, were stalking the Google Doc to keep track of the score. At 5 p.m., we announced the winner: the blue team, which had scored 115 more points (3555) than the green team (3440). The close score made for a very exciting meet.
The event truly felt like a team atmosphere. Even though we weren’t together over the weekend, we participated in something with each other. We cheered each other on, we encouraged each other, we laughed out loud at each other, we talked a little smack, we brightened each other’s weekend. The biggest measure of success to all of us was the number of times people asked, “Can we do this again next weekend?” We’re already planning our next competition.
- Technique and Training