Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Further adventures of an STO - #ThankYouVolunteers

We are only a day away from the Scottish National & Open Swimming Championships, an event that will see over 650 athletes compete. Without the willingness and commitment from our fantastic army of volunteers, this event simply wouldn’t happen. One of our volunteers, Susan Liddle,  recently officiated at the British Masters Championships. She has been entertaining us with her blog and here is her final instalment. Thank you Susan and #ThankYouVolunteers.

Everything goes swimmingly so to speak.  As usual the records are tumbling right left and centre.  Scottish, British, Welsh, Irish, European and just to complete the set Worlds.

This part of Masters swimming keeps many of us on our toes as there are a wide range of age groups to check and ratify for results, records and medals, as the British European and World record breakers have special presentations at the beginning of each session to celebrate the achievement.

Front of House is also kept extremely busy as this is the first port of call for any questions and also where the event medal winners collect their medals and if wished have their photos taken with the British Masters backdrop.  Sometimes this can be 2 queues and up to 10 deep, again, due to the huge range of age groups.  Masters are a patient bunch though and always so appreciative.

So what might be one of the nightmares for any TO and there are a few I have to say.  However, I came across a new one on the Saturday.

When you travel you always tend to take more than one pair of trainers with you as it’s an occupational hazard that you get wet.  Mmm, ok, so what you say? Well, one of the officials turned up with trainers in a bag - great - 2 different trainers, sounds fine doesn’t it? No, not simply 2 different trainers, we would all cope with that, but 2 right foot trainers!!

Oh it gets better .. what was the allocation of duty for said official? STROKE on a 50 metre pool 😂

A little jiggling of the roster had to be done very quickly.  Oh and by the way it wasn't me!

I have been around Masters events for a fair few years now but normally I am in 'the box' or on the end of emails etc.  

Being on deck officiating was great and I would get the tap on the shoulder and a sit down for a chat from many of the swimmers competing.  There is a downside to officiating a Masters event though and that is they tend to create so much more splash and airborne water that can come at you almost is slow motion ...  you, hear the splash and see the spray coming your way and there is no way you can avoid it and lets face it you get soaked 💦🐳

Eddie Riach managed to catch me on camera having 'thinking time' - you gotta love 20 odd heats of 100 free ???? its fine standing at the mark for some but after 4 heats I would have rather have walked the course.

Quote of the day on Saturday came from Grace Issac who swam in the Olympics in the 50s - She was lead on her relay and the Mens relay team in her lane were taking an age to clear the pool.  Grace pipes up 'Come on boys make way for the knackered to swim!'  I was helpless I could not stop laughing.  Grace is 80 odds and swims (she refuses to call it training as that sounds too much like hard work) twice a week and does over 1500 metres each time - hats off Grace you are a hero.

Session 7 saw me rostered into 'the box' as Control Room Referee - now those who know me always laugh as I sit in an air conditioned room at Tollcross or Aberdeen with either my jacket or a jumper on when all around poolside are melting with the heat.  Normally I can last in the air con until the final session in a day but I tell you something Wales have air con that would freeze the hardiest of explorers.

Over the 3 days and 8 sessions I have done Judge/ timekeeper, turn judge, stroke judge, chief finish judge and control room referee - not a bad stint on deck I have to say.  

I was and is really nice to go back to my roots of where I started off in this sport.  I never imagined the first time I picked up a watch because I got bored sitting in the spectator gallery waiting to watch my children swim, how far, and, in what direction it would actually take me on what I can only describe as an adventure.

Wales it has been a pleasure, Masters you are awesome, Volunteers (this includes everyone!) you are a breed apart with dedication to give to others your time, knowledge and big beaming personalities - Sport whether Swimming or any other could not function without you HATS OFF!!!

Thanks to all.

Thanks to you Susan for sharing your adventures. Susan will be back in ‘the box’ at Aberdeen. #ThankYouVolunteers