Swim Association Invitational League
Greenville, South Carolina
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Craig Report - Week Two
My Travels Through SAIL - 6/12/2008
Nice to be back on the road again!
First Stop, Thornblade @ Devenger
Believe it or not, this was my first trip to Devenger. Lived here all my life but I never went to the pool. They have done some major work on the pool, switched ends of the pool for all the starts. This meant new starting blocks ... with new starting blocks you GOT to get new lane lines. One thing after another! If you have ever been involved with purchasing lane lines and the like you know how many hot dogs, drinks and Chic-Fil-A's it takes! That stuff is expensive. Devenger has a very large area off the pool deck that is totally in the shade. Great place for teams to hang out.
Head Coach Kevin True had everything well in hand. Had a little problem with my old buddy, Coach for Thornblade. I have known this young man for many years. My Daughter swam with him for many years at TG. I have seen and worked with him at many USS meets. He was always there to volunteer his time. His Mom and Dad are some of the nicest folks I have met in swimming. Roger Digglmann, a young man that is sowing some oats just like the rest of us have. Roger is one of those SAIL babies, been in SAIL since he could walk.
Second Stop, Riverwalk @ Sugarcreek
Sugarcreek has an excellent traffic flow, they are lucky enough to have the roads to handle a flow of traffic in and out of the pool area. They park cars just like the rest of SAIL. All along the roads, just on one side only!
I walked on deck and the first person I saw was Bo Farr, head Coach of Riverwalk. Another SAIL Baby. Bo has been through SAIL, High School and US swimming. Now he's swimming in College. Amazing what SAIL makes ...
As I was talking with the other Riverwalk coaching staff I asked Bo where Paul Dean was. Paul is the head coach for Sugarcreek. He said he's sitting over there. I looked in that direction and all I saw was a guy in a wide brim hat. I asked again where Paul was, again, Bo pointed to the guy in the wide brim hat. I called out Paul? Paul stood up! I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Standing in front of me was Paul Dean! A man I have known for years, slim, in shape, looking like he was in his mid 30's!! This man has had the same body "shape" that I now have for years. Not anymore! Paul looked GOOD. He said he lost over 65 lbs walking everyday. He said he does about 30 minutes each day. Wow, looks like I may have to try this.
Paul, congratulations on the weight loss buddy. As Billy Crystal used to say "You look marvelous". Oh, the swim meet, it's at Sugarcreek, they don't have problems running swim meets there. It's automatic, they push a button in the club house and the pool sets itself up automatically.
Third Stop, Wade Hampton Gardens @ Canebreak
Ah Wade Hampton Gardens, good memories from that pool in my youth. Had a girlfriend there ... Well never mind about that. She dumped me anyway.
One of the coaches at WHG, Amanda Harmaon had her 18th birthday on Thursday at the Canebreak pool, nothing notable you say, well, she also had her 6th birthday at Canebreak pool at a swim meet. Same pool, 12 years apart!
Canebreak was my first experience in SAIL with a Divisional meet. The Gold Division meet was held here back in 1995. Joe Harrington was the Meet Director. The Starter for the meet? Dale Gilbert, the Weatherman on WYFF. Dale Gilbert had white hair way back then! But that was a long time ago, NOT!
Time just goes by so fast now!
My good friend Jim Hutcheson was the Ref for Canebreak at the meet. His whole family was there as usual less one daughter. Shelly, Hutch's daughter is a coach for Canebreak, his wife is a Stroke and Turn official, his son swims on the team. Hutch is going to be one of us old folks in our late 50's with kids still swimming or involved in SAIL. It's just so hard to leave.
One theme that I seem to see in all my trips this week was questions about S&T folk's ability to make a good call. We all have to remember one thing; we do this for the Kids! All officials are volunteers, all make mistakes, and some have more tenure than others. Some work on year round meets, some may work two or three a summer. They shouldn't have a personal agenda; they are standing out there in that Hot Hot sun helping EVERYONE's child swim in a swim meet. There are only a rare few at a meet that get paid, you know who they are? The Coaching Staff!
So if you're at a meet, make real sure you thank all the officials and the other parents that help pull off this amazing thing called a SAIL swim meet.
Well that's it for this week.
I will be back on the road for week three.
I will shoot out a schedule later in the week.