WuToWu #105: The MIT Invite, from the Cheap Seats

Hi J and E,

It looks like we’ve all been occupied with other responsibilities, but I’m hoping we’re able to get mostly back on track this month, as school winds down and we look forward to the break. This past weekend, I attended the MIT Invite, where Wellesley was competing against a couple of other schools in the Boston area. I know I’m starting to have an aqueous athletics theme from my last two posts, but I find them interesting environments, especially because it has been so long since I attended a swim meet.

The most obvious difference between the swim meets I’ve attended previously and the MIT invite is that the MIT invite occurs indoors. This weighs down the atmosphere with a faint humidity, even more noticeable when compared to the dry December weather outside. However, it also makes it possible for the cheers to reverberate from the high ceiling and bounce off the hard tile walls that surround the pool. Even though I was only able to attend the prelims and missed the finals, the occasional bursts of cheers raised the energy of the meet. I can only imagine how loud it got during the final heats.

Another quirk of the MIT pool is that the spectators are seated such that they look down the lanes, rather than being placed along the length of the pool. I realized that many of the swimming pools I visited have spectating areas which allow the audience to see the swimmers in profile. From my elevated seat, looking in the same direction as the swimmers as they stood on the blocks waiting for the “take your marks” whistle, I was reminded of my unremarkable career as a summer swim team competitor, staring down the 25 or 50 meters I would have to swim. Even though it allowed me to project a bit onto the swimmers, this orientation of the athletes with the spectators also had the effect of anonymizing the people in the swimming caps. It was difficult to catch a glimpse of their faces, or even their general appearance, because they spent much of the time facing away from my part of the stands, or out of view due to the angle of declination.

Therefore, I almost missed Jessica, when she got on the blocks to swim the 50 free event. However, my friend pointed her out in time, and we watched her complete her swim in less than 30 seconds. That was what we had come for. It was very cool to see her compete in a collegiate competition after missing most of her high school races. Maybe next time, I’ll be able to catch the finals as well.

Vaquero Blue.


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