Things have been a little quiet around here recently… I spent Wednesday through Sunday at the United States Aquatic Sports Convention in Dallas, TX and never even turned on my computer. I was wrapped up in all kinds of meetings, workshops, conversations with swimmer folk, and the occasional excursion into the unbelievably hot and humid streets of Dallas. This was my second trip to Convention as a delegate for my local LMSC and I was stoked to see what I could learn/contribute/accomplish this time around now that I knew how everything worked.
I flew out super early Wednesday morning and very randomly ended up sitting right next to my mom on the plane to Phoenix (my first connection). We knew we were both flying that week but didn’t realize we were going the same day… on the same airline… in the same row… on the same side of the plane. What are the odds right? From Phoenix I was off to Dallas and mom made her way to Milwaukee. In Phoenix I saw a fair number of TYR, B70 and Speedo backpacks floating around which could only mean one thing… I found the swimmers. Once in Dallas I caught a ride with a friend and one of her friends to 1. acquire BBQ and 2. get to the convention hotel. A pound and half of brisket later we were at the Hyatt ready to go!
The first evening was largely being social and getting registered/credentialed. I hung out for part of the Wednesday night party hosted by our insurance provided and then retired to the USMS suite for most of the rest of the evening… and possibly part of the very early hours of the next day :) On the way back to my room to go to bed I ran into a friend and somehow ended up having a drink and chatting with David Marsh. A little unexpected but very cool.
The next few days were a total blur of meetings, workshops and voting with social activities squeezed in in between. The committee meetings can be a little hard to endure sometimes when you’re not a member, but the workshops that I went to were really good. I think I walked away with some actionable ideas from the 2 I attended.
Saturday night at Convention always consists of a banquet that includes all the sports represented there. Water Polo, Diving, Synchronized Swimming, USA Swimming, and Masters Swimming. Everyone hands out awards, USMS included, but we also do a skit for some light entertainment in the midst of all these serious awards presentations. This year I was pulled into the skit. I ended up being a planned distraction in the middle of the skit. Since I’m a large bald guy with a fairly ridiculous beard they figured I would be an excellent beer delivery man. My job was to burst into the room in a tank top and jeans (this is a very dressy affair) carrying a couple of kegs with me. While getting ready to do this I had an awkward moment with Olympic Diving legend Greg Louganis. Who can say that every day? Anyways I was busy essentially undressing in a short hallway next to a rollerbag suitcase with 2 mini kegs in it while hidden just past the door to the banquet hall… Greg looked at me kind of funny, smiled and said hi and then went on with his business. I guess that part of it made embarrassing myself in front of like 1200 people a little more worth it :)
During the banquet I made one other appearance, but this time it was in a video for USMS. I’m sort of in the middle and my disembodied voice is with you for a while…
While I was out in Dallas I saw lots of friends from all over the country. Some I was meeting in person for the first time after connecting online, some I was seeing again after swimming with them in various lakes and oceans this summers, some I was meeting for the first time ever, and some I was seeing for the first time in about 15 years! I recently reconnected with a friend I swam high school and age group with (and lived across the street from when we were really young and I didn’t swim yet) on Facebook and as luck would have it we’re both still involved in swimming. He’s coaching in Iowa and came as to Dallas for the USA Swimming festivities. It was super cool to catch up in person after such a long stretch of time! Hopefully I start seeing him in Masters events too… I tried to sell him on Masters Nationals in Mesa, AZ next year, no commitment yet but I’ve still got like 8 months to work on it :)
If you want the highlights on the convention check out the press release from USMS over here. Eventually all the meeting minutes should pop up on the USMS sites as well if you want to dig deeper into what went on and what got accomplished at convention. If you have an interest in getting involved and going to the USAS Convention ask around at your LMSC level. The convention is a good time and there’s a lot to be learned by going.