The sights. The sounds. The celebrations. I, like many other swim fans, have spent hours in front of my computer refreshing live results (or refreshing SwimSwam) to get the latest updates on every big meet around the country. But, there are some things you don’t get from seeing just the splits on a screen. Ask anyone, and they’ll say that the SEC championships are unlike any other meet. What makes it a must see event?
Coaches and athletes agree that the SEC championships are special. It’s the only Power 5 conference in the country that has a 5-day meet schedule, and only 1 of 2 that hosts men and women at the same event (Big 12 being the other). Both men and women have 10+ teams filling stands with parents, alums, and excited fans for all 9 sessions, cheering for every event that their school is competing in. This year, you had 2 defending team champions (Men – Florida, Women – Texas A&M) whose legacies were both in jeopardy, and you got to see the emotion and grit that went into the fight they put up to get back on top of the podium.
Being such a long event, you have to have the mental fortitude as an athlete to tough it out and be ready to put up a faster swim than you ever have; than you ever thought possible. As a coach, you have to be able to put emotion into each swim, to cheer your loudest, but know that you may have to pull your team out of a slump if the going ever gets tough. As a parent, you must be prepared for the ups and downs such a rollercoaster can bring, and support your athlete through goods and bads. And as a fan. Well, all you have to do then is get your ticket, get your seat, and enjoy the ride that is the SEC Swimming and Diving Championships.