I, an OMS member, made the journey to Gwangju, South Korea for the FINA World Masters Championships in August, 2019. This was my first time competing in a World Championship, and my first lesson was to arrive early. I definitely underestimated the effect of jet lag and of acclimating to the 91° heat with 90% humidity.
I swam in only my specialty events, the 50 meter, 100 meter, and 200 meter Breaststrokes. Although I wish I had swum faster, I medaled in two of the three events; taking 5th place in both the 100 and 200 Breaststroke events. In the 50 meter Breast stroke I took 7th place, missing a third medal by 1/100th of a second! The medals are beautiful and the award ceremony makes a person feel like an Olympian.
The ready-room was new to me, and adjusting warm up time with a 15-20 minute wait with your competitors was interesting. But it was also a time to make new friends. Fortunately for mono-lingual Americans, everyone pretty much spoke English.
I have to admit, it was pretty cool seeing my name on the big scoreboard with a US flag next to it. Overall, it was a great experience, even though I know I can swim faster.
I was a tourist for a few days in between races, and saw temples, bamboo forests, and the 1988 Olympic Pool. Next time, Oregon will need to get a group to attend. We would crush the relays! Think Fukuoka, Japan in 2021!
Thank you for the write up Rick. It’s really interesting to read about these events that most of us cannot go to.