At some point in every young swimmer’s career, you start to go to meets that are out of town. Usually, these meets are multiple days long, and with that, you’re gonna have to stay at a hotel. If there is one constant from the start of your swim career all the way to the end, it’s that you will be staying at a hotel for quite a few weekends each year. There are a few things that are quite unique to swimmers staying in a hotel…
Towels: You ever had to stay in a room with 4 swimmers, including yourself, during a 4-day championship meet? The kind of meet that is prelims/finals? Well, if you have, then you know that after the first session there are going to be no fewer than 4 towels hanging up on every available surface to dry for the next 4 days. Towels slung over the shower rod? Check. Towels thrown over the back of the desk chair? You betcha. A towel draped over the TV? Wouldn’t recommend it, but I’ve seen it. The unfortunate truth though… is that there is a good chance your towels will never quite get all the way dry this way. And, you’ll get smacked in the face with the sweet sweet smell of chlorine every time you walk into the room. Oh well, you’re used to it anyways by now.
Shaving: If you’re at the aforementioned championship meet, then there will definitely be the need to rid yourself of every bit of hair neck down for said meet. Guy or girl, there’s probably a pretty good chance it’s been a few months since you’ve shaved, and you’re gonna have to take care of it at the hotel. To make this experience a bit more entertaining, you and your closest friends may all don a suit and perch on the side of the tub to get this done. You’ll hear lots of “Hey! Pass me the shaving cream”, and maybe even a “can you shave my back?”. This may even be the first time you decide to try out shaving your arms because your friend swears it made them swim faster the last time they did it. Grab the big pack of razors at the store, you all will go through a few, and make it a shaving party. Just, uh, make sure to rinse out the tub afterwards.
Ice Baths: After you’ve got the tub all cleaned out from the shaving party, you realize that you’re a little bit sore from two days of prelims/finals, and you still have a few more ahead of you. You decide that now is a great time for an ice bath. A hotel ice bath is not the same as a training room ice bath. If you want an ice bath at a hotel, you’re going to have to be willing to put in the work. Grab the ice bucket, empty out the trash can (sounds gross, but you need as many containers as possible), and start making your trips to the ice machine. If you’re lucky, there will be one on your floor. It’s going to take quite a few trips to the ice machine to make sure you have enough ice for this to be an actual ice bath. And, remember, hotel ice melts fast, so you’re gonna have to be quick. Once you’ve managed to fill the tub up a reasonable amount with ice and fill it the rest of the way with cold water, it’s time to hop in. Wrap a towel around your neck like a scarf and set the timer. Somewhere between 5-10 minutes later, you’re done. You vow never to put yourself through that kind of pain again… but for some reason you find yourself doing it again at the very next meet.
Team Shenanigans: Staying with your team during a meet essentially means you get to have a slumber party with your best friends for a few days. When you aren’t napping, you’ll probably take this time to squish as many people in a room at once just so that you can all watch whatever show you find on TV. There’s a good chance it’s going to be something on HGTV. The people that don’t particularly care if the TV family loves it or lists it, will go down to the lobby, or another room, to play some games. Card games, board games, someone might have even brought an entire gaming system to hook up to the TV. Regardless, there’s a good chance you stay up just a little bit longer than you should have to finish the game. Maybe Catan wasn’t exactly the best choice to bring to a meet, but you gotta see it out to the end. Regardless of what sorts of shenanigans you get up to, staying at a hotel with your team can make a swim meet weekend even more fun. Just, uh, make sure you set an alarm and make it down to breakfast on time… nobody wants an angry coach knocking on your door 5 minutes before the bus is set to leave.