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swim team coverage

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by skippy05, Nov 15, 2006.

  1. skippy05

    skippy05 Member

    I just returned to the world of prep sports coverage for a smallish newspaper after a couple years covering the pros for a decent-sized market sports-talk radio station and covering NASCAR (still doing the NASCAR stuff, though). Anyway, swim season is starting and I've never covered the sport before. Obviously, basketball is fairly easy to cover and there are usually some compelling stories, even if it's just game coverage. Wrestling is a little tougher, but there are still some stories there. Swimming looks like it could be a challenge...any thoughts? Advice? Etc?
  2. DyePack

    DyePack New Member

    A-F follows the girls swimming teams.
  3. sportschick

    sportschick Active Member


    And Skippy, be prepared. I've always found swim parents to be the worst. The kids are often fairly decent interviews. They tend to be fairly bright and well-spoken.
  4. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    Step 1: Ignore DyePack

    There are just as many compelling stories with swimming as with any other sport. Biggest thing is personal improvement in times and head-to-head competition between other swimmers at other schools. These kids have been swimming against each other in club for years, find out who the rivalries are between.

    Also, in my neck of the woods participation among boys is down while participation among girls has skyrocketed. There's a school with a storied boys swim tradition, but the kids would rather play football/soccer/basketball than swim. May be worth seeing if that's a trend in your area.

    I agree with SC that the parents are insane. Very high-strung.
  5. Cousin Jeffrey

    Cousin Jeffrey Active Member

    Make sure you get in the water for interviews. Also ask the tubby girls why they're not in two pieces and then pinch their midsections and go, "Oh that's why."
  6. skippy05

    skippy05 Member

    It's girl season right now. I do have a feature piece I'm working about a male swimmer with muscular dystrophy who is on the swim team. We have a pretty decent turnout for the guys, but you're right; the girls' team does tend to have more numbers. 'Course, with football, soccer, cross country, etc. being played at the same time, it's hard to find a guy who would rather swim than be involved in those sports...And believe me, after producing at a sports-talk radio station for almost four years and dealing with the idiot callers, high-strung parents are a blessing...
  7. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    You get a chance to take a well-deserved break during two events -- diving and the 1,600 freestyle, which takes as long as a root canal and is just as painful to deal with.
    Rest of the events can be pretty solid
  8. EStreetJoe

    EStreetJoe Well-Known Member

    If you're running a top times list, make sure you have a good times conversion program. In my coverage area, about 2/3 of the pools are in meters, the other 1/3 are yards. So to get them on equal ground, you need to convert yards times to meter times.

    Since in swimming the top 5 times score points in the individual events, maybe focus on one of those kids that always takes the fourth or fifth. The swimmer isn't a star, but someone who is always counted on to contribute those key points that can make a difference in the meet.
  9. KP

    KP Active Member

    Just dress warm, I hear those pools can be pretty cold. ;D
  10. Jim Halpert

    Jim Halpert Member

    the event is actually a 1650, for what it's worth.
  11. micropolitan guy

    micropolitan guy Well-Known Member

    Run for your friggin' life. Seriously.

    The only meets that really matter are districts and state. BUt they want every dual covered like the Super Bowl, and since they now award points to six places in a dual (in my state, anyway) instead of 5-3-1 like the old days the scores are about 215-199 and a kid who swims the 50 free in 1:30 (that's almost drowning) can stilll score a point.
  12. Bud_Bundy

    Bud_Bundy Well-Known Member

    I don't know what it's like there, but around here, the really good athletes swim for their high school teams almost on a secondary level. Their primary teams are their independent club teams. On one boys team that won the state championship a couple of years ago, the coach only asked her club-level swimmers to come to the HS practice once a week because, as she admitted, the swimmers are getting better coaching and have more pool time with their clubs.

    The dominant girls team in the area is coached by the same guy who runs the big swim club, so pretty much the club practice is the school practice for a couple of high schools.

    Around here, they have separate diving meets and really only compete as full swim/dive teams in the postseason. And, as Slappy said, you do get a break during the 1,600.

    Also, you have the insane hours that club swimmers keep. They're up at O-dark-thirty in the morning, work out for a couple of hours before school, then go back to practice after school. Some of them have told me they would like to play another sport, but there's no way they would have time during their competitive season.

    Also, we keep a running list of the top 10 times in each event throughout the prep season. If somebody who's usually swimming event A and event B turns up a great time in another event, it sticks out.
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