Feeding Frenzy is an annual meet held in Bangkok attended by the East Dragons swim team every year. I think this was my 5th year attending the meet, and every year I always say it’s probably the most fun of the year. For multiple reasons. One, the atmosphere of Feeding Frenzy is different from many other meets, while people want to do well they also aren’t completely stressing about the meet because it’s a relatively low pressure meet. Another thing is people DO swim fast, whether it’s the fact that it’s in another country or training schedule and timing of the meet, many people get PB’s and medals. Finally, because this meet is the whole of the Dragons swim team (age 9 and above) it gives an opportunity for the seniors to bond with the younger squads. Times where the junior and senior squad mix and mingle are limited throughout the year and this is quite a big part of the meet.
This year was no different from other years, the meet was fun as well as fast. While I didn’t go as fast as I was hoping, there was a lot of learning (in and out of the pool) that I showed growth in. One of the main places of growth was within my leadership skills. Every FF there are assigned senior team captains that help organise everyone, as there are too many kids for just the coaches. This year there were 10 senior captains, including myself, who were given the responsibility of 5 or 6 younger kids. In previous years, I’ve been captain so the matter itself wasn’t new, but being responsible of kids is always an important role that requires a lot of focus and leadership. I had 5 other kids ranging from grade 4 upwards. To be honest it really wasn’t as difficult as I had prepared myself, as long as I set the ground rules early on and made sure everyone understood them, we were able to have a really fun time. My group didn’t have any trouble getting to where we had to be on time, sticking together, and I think everyone really enjoyed each other. Relating this back to the learning outcomes this fits into collaboration, as we really worked together as a team to be organised and make the meet better for everyone. Despite my team being really good it still was stressful at times to take care of all of them, especially when I had friends and races of my own, so balancing the two responsibilities was definitely a challenge I had to deal with. What helped was that I made friends with a lot of the younger kids, I made an effort to try to learn all their names and interact with them. Because of our mixed training schedules it’s rare for our squads to meet and for them I’m pretty big and pretty fast (which I don’t really see myself but hey I don’t mind). I found joy in helping them understand that us bigger swimmers can also be friends. And hopefully, maybe, I’ll become an achievable role model for even just a few of them; giving them hope that maybe they can achieve what I have (and more) keeping them motivated through the relentless sport of swimming.
And of course, there was always the job of team photographer. But this time, as I was taking photos, a little girl, Nina, came up to me and asked if she could maybe take a few photos. It reminded me of when I was younger and I asked the very same question to a senior with a school camera, a couple years later and I’m in the same spot. Sure, it made the photos so much harder to edit when I got home, but of course I let the younger kids have turns with my camera (under supervision), and they’ll take over the torch when I inevitably leave. Nevertheless, I still needed to edit and upload all the photos to my Flickr when I got home. This process always takes some time but it took an especially long time as the settings the kids used were… weird… to say the least. Anyway, while they took my expensive Canon, it actually gave me time to elaborate on my plans to make a video, and graduate from the realm of photographer into the bigger world of videographer. Along with my passion for photography, I really enjoy editing and creating videos, I made a video for my trip to France over the summer, and also the mentor video. I really enjoy the idea of creating videos. But there are just so very few opportunities and it’s a lot of effort, so whenever one arises I really try to make it happen. While I didn’t really storyboard anything, and I just kinda point and shot, I really thought about the transitions and how it maybe could fit together in the end, taking things I’ve learned from past experiences, and I think it really shows in the final product. Unfortunately, because I shot in a UWC bathroom, the school couldn’t advertise for me. But because I had already spent a lot of time on it I just decided to let it stay unadvertised. But I’ll add the video below and here, as it was an important learning lesson for next time.
Overall, I thought the meet went really well. Swimming could of been better, but I didn’t really go for the swimming. I really focused on being there for the younger kids and elaborating on new skills and strengths; working on my photography, my videography, team spirit, and being a good team captain.
Learning outcomes and reflection questions topics included:
- Big picture (Goals, Action and Learning)
- LO 1 AWARENESS (Increased awareness of strengths and areas for growth)
- LO 2 CHALLENGE (Undertaken new challenges)/NEW SKILLS (Developing new skills)
- LO3 INITIATIVE (Planning and initiated activities)
- LO 4 COMMITMENT (Showing perseverance, resilience and commitment in activities)
- LO 5 COLLABORATION (Working together to achieve an outcome)
- LO 6 GLOBAL VALUE (Engaging with issues of global importance)
- LO 7 ETHICS (Considering the ethical implications of actions)