Coach and swimmer comments
Letters from Yulee High School to the Northeast Florida Chapter of the FSPA:
"... When I was contacted by our local chapter of the FSPA about a scholarship opportunity I was thrilled. This would provide a way for my kids to be able to swim at a top-notch swim meet. Most of the kids I took had never been to a meet that was half as big as this meet. When they walked on the pool deck the looks on their faces made all of the preparation worth it! Total awe was what was written on their faces. They knew that they were in the presence of the top swimmers in the state of Florida. This kind of opportunity doesn’t happen every day and without your help financially it would not have happened for this great group of swimmers that I am lucky enough to coach. I don’t feel that thanks are enough – but thank you for supporting us in our endeavor." -Coach Wheat
The following letters are from a few of my team members – I have not edited them so they are their words and how they felt.
" The Orlando swim meet was the biggest swim meet I’ve ever been to, and it made me nervous. It was very exciting that our little team was able to make it all the way to Orlando. Of all the teams we must have had the largest percentage of our team make it, even if that is nearly 9 out of a team of about 17… We were not there to win, just to experience a bigger meet, and to help our ever improving times. I think everyone swam their best times. The pool was, honestly, very intimidating. Our warm-up was in the deeper end of the diving well, I think it was about 17 feet deep… It seemed like we were swimming on a thin layer of glass and if you mess up, the glass will break; releasing you down to the depths of the pool. Of course it wasn’t really that bad, I just don’t like swimming over especially deep pools since I was maybe 7 and thought there to be an alligator lurking in the deep end of a swimming pool. After warming up for probably 2 hours, we went to wait for the meet to begin. The water was so cold; at my first event, the 100 free, I was shocked as the freezing water hit my bursting nerves and sent me flying through the water. I was a couple seconds slower than my best time, but I’m glad I was able to swim in the event. My 50 free was what I was looking forward to the most anyway, and I dropped half of a second on that. The girls freestyle relay was also really fun; I think we dropped a second making that our best time. In all it was a pretty good meet for our team. I’m really glad that we were able to go; we may have been the smallest team there but we swam our best and hopefully showed the other teams how even if we are a little team we can still make it in a big meet. In conclusion, I’m glad that my swim team and I were able to go to and participate in a big swim meet. I am proud that we qualified and able to go thanks to our sponsors."
"Getting to participate in the invitational was a huge deal for me and for the entire team. Everyone’s goal this year was to get the qualifying times necessary to participate in the Orlando swim meet. Nine of us made it and for team as small as us making the cut was a huge feat.
We arrived in Coach’s hotel room for the team meeting and you could feel the air of nervousness. Everyone was thinking about the coming morning. We had made it down to Orlando in one piece and we were going to leave Orlando in one piece. Our coach guided us through the different rules and showed us how the morning would go. Coach Wheat helped us realize that we are, in fact, a team and that there is no such thing as an individual event. We were all in this together. Tomorrow was going to be a big day for everyone.
The hotel we were staying at had a complimentary breakfast so we all got up bright and early to eat together and have one final run-through of what warm-ups would entail. As I walked into the swimming pool area, I remember being overcome by a feeling of awe. There were swimmers getting ready to compete everywhere.
After warm-ups, we crawled back onto the bleachers to catch our breath and prepare for the upcoming races. We put in our IPods and took out our books in order to help calm ourselves and overcome the increasing anxiety we were all feeling. You would never have been able to tell how nervous we were by our “chill” demeanor.
Looking at the number of heats and swimmers, you would have believed the meet could have lasted two weeks but I, personally, had never see a meet run so smoothly. There was very little confusion and everyone knew what they needed to do, something that really helped to calm my own ever-increasing nerves. The relays went by fast and so did the individuals, as we cheered for our fellow teammates whenever their names flashed up onto the scoreboard. We joked, laughed, and just talked as the racing continued around us, happy to be at the meet together.
Before we knew it, the meet was over and everyone had finished swimming. No one made it to the finals but that did not matter to any of us. Slowly we all exited the pool deck amazed that the Yulee High School Swimming and Diving team had actually swum the Orlando Invitational.
We earned the times to qualify and I hope you realize that we also earned your sponsorship. Without your generosity and immense kindness, we would not have been able to partake in such a wonderful experience. This meet was unlike any meet I have ever been a part of before. Not only did our team grow tighter as a family but also, for the first time in a long time, we went to a meet and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The entire team left with a feeling of pride and accomplishment because now we could say that we had gotten to compete with the best. Thank you for this amazing opportunity."
Past Swim Meets