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covering high school swimming

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Craig Sagers Tailor, Jan 20, 2010.

  1. Craig Sagers Tailor

    Craig Sagers Tailor Active Member

    I'm covering a high school swimming conference championship tomorrow. It's only the second time I've ever covered swimming. The team I've covering is expected to win the conference and they're only in their 3rd year having a swim team, so that's an interesting angle there. Any tips so it won't be just me rehashing names and finishing times? I obviously plan on talking to the coach and a couple of the kids who finish high.
  2. fishhack2009

    fishhack2009 Active Member

    I think you're on the right track with the angle of a newer team in position to win a conference title.

    Swimming can be hard to cover, partly because it's so technical and the scoring system is not easy to get across to readers.

    Are there any kids who might make an interesting story on their own?
  3. TheSportsPredictor

    TheSportsPredictor Well-Known Member

    Swim, swam, swum.
  4. WolvEagle

    WolvEagle Active Member

    When watching a race, look to the center lanes. That's where the fastest-seeded kids are placed. If a kid in an outside lane wins, that's pretty cool. I had that several years ago at a state meet when a ninth-grader won.

    Also, dress accordingly. If you live in a cold-weather state, dress in layers. Take off the outer layer and wear a nice, short-sleeved shirt during the meet. Wear shoes that could get wet, too.
  5. HandsomeHarley

    HandsomeHarley Well-Known Member

    And keep your eyes on the kids' faces.
  6. Dan Hickling

    Dan Hickling Member

    and wear ear plugs .... and if you have one, take your inhaler ;)
  7. rpmmutant

    rpmmutant Member

    I've never swum.
  8. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    Park yourself behind Lane 4, and go from there to figure out who to track down. These kids don't wear numbers, or names on jerseys, and if you don't know/recognize who you're looking at, you could get in trouble with ID's if you don't have a starting point.

    Learn the difference between someone touching out one-tenth of a second and one one-hundredth of a second before someone else, and be able to read/recognize it on the clock/in the results.

    Note any differences -- especially significant ones -- between results in prelims and finals, and ask/find out about the reasons for them.

    Learn/write down the order of the legs on the 200 medley relay -- back, breast, fly, free -- so that when you're writing about the race turning on the second leg, you know what stroke that that kid did.

    Learn/write down the order of the individual medley strokes -- fly, back, breast, free -- for the same reason.

    Find out what local swim club predominates among members of your school's teams, and find that coach to talk to, because it's unusual for a school to build up a really successful swim team almost right away. There is, surely, a specific club, or coach, who is behind it, and who may not necessarily be otherwise connected to the school. But he or she will be there, watching their kids.

    Note which directions/widths of the pool are being employed for races, as in whether increments of yards or meters are being used, and write accordingly. (Most non-international competition is in yards, but check/be sure anyway).

    Learn what shaved, and especially, tapered (ergo, shaved-and-tapered) means.

    (Yes, I've covered way too much swimming. :) I've actually learned to like, understand and appreciate it, though).
  9. 93Devil

    93Devil Well-Known Member

    Be sure to look the girls in the eyes.
  10. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    Don't blink
  11. HanSenSE

    HanSenSE Well-Known Member

    Is the conference supplying area papers with agate, or do you need to input it yourself? When covering track and field as well as swimming, don't leave it for last. I usually keep agate in a separate file from the event story and mark off each event in the program after it's input. Easier to find out you're missing an event while covering it rather than the next day in a pissy e-mail/call.
  12. danhawks

    danhawks Member

    I actually had a lot of fun covering some swim meets in syracuse a few years ago. Just ask lots of questions of the adults so you can get an idea of the format and scoring, get someone's ear so he/she can keep you up-to-date of lead changes and record-setting results, or results that qualify teams for the next level meets, like states. Also, just keep your ears open to what the kids are saying and then follow up. I seem to remember a team going nuts when the finished a relay in second or third, because it clinched their school a top 3 finish for the first time in forever. Sometimes winning isn't the only thing.
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