Monday, July 26, 2010

The traveling swim wife... assuming I make my flight

So, it is that time again. I leave for the USA Swimming Nationals in one week.

While Mark is tapering, I am coordinating my trip to California (where the Nationals will be held). Nationals is my time to shine as a nervous swim wife. I will sit in the stands, talk with the other swimming wives, parents, brothers and sisters, chit chat with sponsors and agents (all of this sounds much more glamourous than it actually is), and pretend like I am cool, calm and collected.

I have booked flights, hired a babysitter (really it is just my mother, Turtle) to stay home with the babe, and I am in the process of planning when, where and how I'll get to meet up with old friends living in the area.

I never really knew if Mark cared that I was at his meets until last summer. Last summer was probably the most nervous either of us (Mark or I) had ever been. There were a lot of things going on (i.e. a new coach, new training arrangement, I had just quit my job in anticipation of going back to school and we were pregnant... talk about pressure!). Last summer was also the summer of the suits.

Last July, as usual, I traveled to Indy to watch Mark race. Mark's races were great (more than great as he set the American record in the 100m breaststroke and 50m breaststroke). Typically I can hope that fast swims are a result of my positive energy and loud cheering, but last summer I feel directly responsible for Mark's swims. Okay, not really. But I do feel ownership in the fact that Mark was able to wear a dry suit during the meet.

My job last summer was to serve as the Official Suit Dryer for the Gangloff family and other Auburn folks that might have needed a dry suit, too. In between prelims and finals I sat in a chair for an hour+ with a tech suit in one hand and a hair dryer in the other. Those things take FOREVER to dry on their own and we just didn't have that kind of time. So, I not only dried Mark's suit, but I also dried a suit for one of his teammates.

This summer, I do not envision myself drying any suits (not that there would be that much to dry anymore), so I expect to take my normal position in the stands.

Since I didn't get to go to France this summer as planned and read a just-for-fun fiction novel (thanks for all of the recommendations!), I will take my book with me on the plane to Cali. I am also contemplating learning to knit. Can you tell that I use my nervous energy on projects?

Here is the round up:

Plane ticket... roughly $300

Event tickets... $45

Box of Austin Peanut Butter Crackers... $2.99

Book from the library... free

Getting to sit in the bleechers while your dear husband races for a spot on the Short Course World Championship team, the Long Course World Championship Team and the Pan Pacific Games team... PRICELESS.

If you are wondering about Mark's week-before-the-big-race routine it goes something like this...

Eat, Sleep, Swim, Massage, Rest, watch an entire season of Mad Men and repeat.

If you'd like to send him a good luck note or a few words of wisdom for this traveling swim wife as we head into this year's big meet, feel free to leave a comment or email us at


  1. Family members don't get tickets for free? :)

  2. Nope. I typically buy my own tickets to Nationals, Grand Prix events... and even the Olympics! Not getting free tickets isn't usually a big deal (though it would be nice), but come Olympic time it is usually a little bit of a panic. In 2008 each Olympian did receive 2 tickets for each day that he or she was competing... which is great, but creates a little bit of stress when an Olympian's mother, father, wife and mother-in-law all fly around the world to watch. Yikes! I'll focus an upcoming blog on the Olympic ticket scavenger hunt that occurs each Olympic year about a month out from the Opening Ceremonies... thanks for the question... it is certainly a hot topic!

  3. Weird comment but... if you're serious about the knitting thing, you might look into crocheting instead. Unless of course you have a knitting master nearby. I checked out the two last year and decided to save brain function and go with crocheting. Not that I've made anything great just yet... OK, randomness done.