Tomorrow night is the 34th Coaches' Invitational Long Course meet. The eight fastest MCSL swimmers in each event--taking into account scratches and event limits--will be in the pool, including many of our Olympic Trials athletes who are just back from Omaha. Coaches' Invitational Long Course is an MCSL meet, but it's also sanctioned by USA Swimming, so we'll have USA Swimming certified officials on deck.
But how did this meet get started? Frankly, the answer is a little murky--at least to me. The MCSL history says the first Long Course Invitational Meet was held on August 17, 1964, at Twinbrook pool with 34 scheduled events. But if we counted from 1964, this would be the 44th meet--so what's up with that?
It wasn't until 1974 that the long course meet was sanctioned as an official MCSL event. Long time coach and early long course manager Dave Greene reports that back then the meet was completely managed by MCSL coaches--hence the Coaches' Invitational Long Course title. Charlie DeSando was one of the first meet managers; then Dave and Mark Eldridge took over. Dave writes:
"We met at Woodley Gardens Club House and, with a lot of food, drinks, etc., and many coaches, seeded the meet by hand. This was about a three hour process. The coaches ordered and labeled all of the rosette ribbons and ordered and designed the t-shirt. Shirts were first donated by Sonny Sollott Swimwear and then Aardvark. Most of the shirts in the 80s were designed by a swim parent (Carol Slothower - QO). The shirts were a big hit and motivation to qualify for the meet.
"The meet was first held in the old RMSC outdoor pool (7 lanes). It was officiated, timed, announced, and completely run by coaches. We went to PVS officials when we realized that the times were becoming very fast and swimmers were qualifying for Juniors, Seniors, and Olympic Trials. The meet needed to be sanctioned, and there needed to be USS officials starting, refereeing, and stroke and turning.
"All of the greatest MCSL Alumni have swum in this meet: Clay Britt, Mike Barrowman, Dan Veitch, Pamela Minthorn, Kelly Davies, Scott Meredith, and even NFL star Dhani Jones."