Swimming mania

There’s this idea that some people have, often when referring to food or some guilty pleasure, that certain things are best enjoyed in moderation. Maybe it’s the caffeine one consumes every morning or the Kit Kats your child brought home on Halloween. Even the good Vince Vaughn flick should be taken in doses.

Other things, though, you’ve just got to dive in head first. Go all out. “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” marathons, late night Amazon shopping, and of course, the Wyoming State Swim Meet.

The Sheridan High School girls swim team finished third at the state meet last week. The Lady Broncs have made huge strides in the pool over the last few years, and they showcased that Friday in Gillette.

It was the second time I’ve covered the state swim meet — I also covered the SHS boys last winter.

So this is me telling you to catch a state swim meet at the next opportunity. Dive in, no pun intended.

This is also me notifying the big wigs to take note of the Wyoming State Swim Meet and implement those findings into whatever event they can. I don’t know if that’s the Wyoming High School Activities Association or whoever else, but it should be a widespread thing.

The state swim meet is a spectacle, and it’s amazing.

I’ve often wondered, ‘How can we make specific events in life better?’ Isn’t that something we should strive for daily?

The answer, folks, is simple. Make these events as closely resemble a World Wrestling Entertainment event as possible.

The state swim meet is Wrestlemania. Seriously.

I walked into the Campbell County Aquatic Center seconds before the opening event — the 200-yard medley relay — kicked off. The race was decided by three-hundredths (!) of a second, a Sheridan win over Gillette.

The aquatic center was a madhouse.

I’m more of a land-dweller, so I’m not sure how well these swimmers can hear underwater. But the crowd doesn’t care. There’s screaming and cheering. SHS head coach Brent Moore had the loudest whistle in the building.

However much or little that cheering translates to faster swims in the pool, I’m not sure. But I’m positive it heightens the intensity for the spectators and definitely the casual journalist.

And right before the madness begins, the place is utterly silent. I’m talking detention silent. Competitors hit the blocks, a muffled Charlie Brown teacher-esque voice tells the swimmers to “take their mark,” and then nothing but the buzz of the PA system fills the air. The swimmers dive off the blocks, splash, and then total anarchy ensues from the bleachers.

That’s just the beginning, too.

Say a swimmer breaks a state record — something that happened twice Friday. A row of red lights flashes from the press box. I’m talking 20 lights like you’d see at a Cancun night club when the waitresses come out to deliver free tequila shots.

It’s the land of custom T-shirts and cardboard cutouts. Peers paint their bodies while parents fight for the best angles to take pictures with their iPads.

My favorite part, and most WWE related, is when the swimmers are announced before each event. The seven qualifying swimmers march around the pool deck in front of screaming fans that put Beliebers to shame.

The music is cranked to 11, each song more hype than the last. Nothing gets me more juiced for a sporting event than AC/DC’s “TNT” or Eminem’s “Lose Yourself.”

Swimmers walk stone faced, chrome goggles shielding their eyes and giant hooded coats shadowing their faces. If they cut the lights and threw in some fog, I’d be convinced the Undertaker was coming to choke slam me straight to swimming purgatory.

It’s the way sporting events should be, especially the culminating event of the season. It’s a pure spectacle.

State swimming, you’ve got my attention. Other sporting events, the ball’s in your court.

Let the madness begin.

By |November 2nd, 2016|

About the Author:

Mike moved to Sheridan from Indianapolis, Indiana. Family and his passion for sports brought Mike to the Cowboy State, where he began working as the sports editor for the Sheridan Press in June of 2014.