When the current swimming pool at Shields Park was being built in the late 1980s, Dave Boggs knew he wanted to have a large meet at the new pool.
“We had a brand new facility, 50 meters, long course or what the laymen would call an Olympic-size pool,” Boggs said. “A couple years before we had this open and knew it was going to be built, we asked coaches what they would like to have, and they said a late-season, prelim-final meet.
“We used to go to one up in Anderson called The Dolphin Club meet. We just took that format and used it down here.”
Boggs recalled at that first meet in 1991 about 325 swimmers competed, and over the years the meet grew to over 700 swimmers.
“That was because by USA swimming rules, they could only go three races per day with prelim-final meet,” Boggs said.
“This year, for the first time we’re going timed finals because of COVID because we had to submit all our plans to Indiana Swimming six months ago. We had to make sure we were prepared for all this.
“We thought we would play it safe this year and just go timed finals. We took less swimmers and now they can swim five events per day.”
He said he prefers the old style meet of prelims and finals “just because kids always seem to swim faster in finals. They’ve made those little mental corrections that are fresh in their mind. They always swim faster at night.”
This weekend Seymour held the 30th Seymour Summer Splash with 500 swimmers competing. They were mainly from central and southern Indiana, and one team from Kentucky came up.
There were also individuals who were visiting, including Pat Calhoun’s daughter who came up from Tennessee to swim. He is a graduate of Seymour High School, a state champion and a member of the 2000 United States Olympic men’s swimming team.
Boggs said the largest group is probably the 10 and unders. He said there will be 55 Seymour swimmers in the meet.
“We have another meet Tuesday at Center Grove. They just opened their brand new facility so this will be the first meet at their facility.”
The Seymour meet was not held in 2020 because of COVID-19.
The meet began at 3 p.m. Friday with a one-mile swim, and concluded Sunday afternoon. Also on Friday were the 400 individual medley and 400 freestyle.
On Saturday and Sunday the meet began at 8 a.m. for the 13 and over swimmers, the 12 and unders swam in the afternoon.
This meet began a busy schedule for a lot of the top swimmers.
Boggs said, “This is the last meet to get cuts because next weekend we have the senior (15 and over) state meet.
“The following weekend is the age group state meet which is 14 and unders, and the following weekend is divisionals or zones.”
Boggs said with the change in format, “We have to submit our schedule a year in advance, and then we have to submit our meet announcements and all that around four months out.
“Back then we were still highly questionable about COVID.”
He said he was pleased to have the meet.
“We’re back competing again. Things are near back to normal as far as the sport of swimming goes. We’re happy we’re back.”
Boggs said this meet brings a lot of money into Seymour this weekend as far as the families staying at motels, eating at the restaurants, buying gas and shopping.
“Oktoberfest, by far, is the biggest thing that comes to Seymour. The basketball tournaments are pretty big, too. This is right up there with it,” Boggs said. “This is good for Seymour. They like coming here, they like the atmosphere of the meet. It’s a beautiful facility decked out in purple.
“I like seeing the kids come here. They enjoy swimming here. I like seeing what it does for the town. People tell me, ‘We know when the meet is because the restaurants are busy.’
“Stacy and Tonya at City hall have been great, along with Mayor Matt.”