We covered roller coasters earlier in the season. This week, we're going to focus on the wet cousin of the roller coaster, the log flume, or log "ride" depending on which amusement park you are going to. While I think I've used the term "ride" more frequently in my life, I'm going to stick with "flume" for the blog mostly just because its a fun word and I don't get to use it very often normally.
|Tie Dye. Groovy.
Let's start with a quick overview on the flumes for those who aren't familiar. A log flume ride is based on the real-life flumes used by lumber companies as they used water to float the logs down the mountains to the sawmills. The rides are meant to simulate those flumes by floating passengers around, and then normally having some drop as a thrill at the end. The more advanced of the modern amusement parks out there have developed varying degrees of entertainment along the "float" part of the rides, while some of the older or budget parks just float the logs around through some trees or fields.
|The floating is fun, but the splash is what its all about.
Here in Virginia, both of our major theme parks, Kings Dominion and Busch Gardens, have pretty basic log flume rides. Passengers load up in their logs, and then float around through some trees, before a conveyor belt hauls the logs up and then shoots the logs "down the mountain" at the end, with a big splash at the bottom to get everyone wet. (And of course, take the standard theme park photo while the group is sliding down the falls.)
|Florida is that way...
The theme parks in Florida step it up a notch. The floating part of the ride has a lot more going on. For example, Splash Mountain at Disney World has a full animatronic and digital show of Disney's "Song of the South" movie with various scenes highlighting the adventures of Br'er Rabbit. Universal Studios' log flume ride comes in somewhere between the Disney experience and the more basic versions at KD and BG. The Dudley Do-Right Ripsaw Falls at Universal has a fun immersive show, but not quite the same level of choreography and activity of the characters as you float through the scenes.
I am definitely in the camp that believes the experience is enhanced by the supplemental entertainment along the floats at Disney and Universal. At their core, all the rides pretty much do the same thing: float, go up, splash down. The more immersive rides just provide a little more and that makes the whole experience a ittle better. Which brings us to swim.
|You can't win them all if you don't win the first... Check.
Quite the day for the 9-10 ladies.
The log flume rides can serve as a pretty good metaphor for the annual swim cycle. You load up and get on the log at the beginning. In our metaphor, this is September of the swim year when swimmers begin their off season training programs. Then, you float around on the log for what is a pretty long time compared to the actual "payoff" at the end. And that's how winter swim is: nine months of training, for two quick months of summer excitement. And the level of engagement you get from the ride depends on which park you go to and which ride you take. If you stay here in Virginia, you get the basic ride, still the same thrill at the end, but maybe not quite the same level of engagement. The rides in Virginia represent the Gator winter swim training program or perhaps something like the RECenter swim classes. Good rides, good programs, and they will have a fun finish. The Florida parks, on the other hand cost a bit more. You need to travel there and the tickets are definitely a bit higher priced, but the experience is most definitely more engaging while you are there and you'll probably get a bit more out of it. This is the club swimming experience: NCAP, Ft Belvoir, Machine, etc. All the rides end the same way with a fast drop and everybody getting wet... just like summer swim.. lots of fast drops (of time) and the wet thing.... pretty sure I don't even need to explain that part of the analogy.
Importantly, if you just go up the hill and then come down, without the float part, you are just on a slide... not a log flume ride. And I'm not trying to say slides are bad. They are fun. But sooner or later, we all want to upgrade from the slides and go on the rides. The excitement and payoff at the end is enhanced by the engagement we experience on the ride.
|Zoom Zoom Saloom. I'm looking forward to next season when
Jack finally gets to strut his stuff at the TOP of an age group.
One to watch.
One of the things about log flume rides, is they are best in the right situations. Usually, that means when the weather is not too cold. The wet part is fun and refreshing in that situation. But when its cold out, the ride doesn't generate the same level of endorphin releasing excitement. It is probably still fun, but you may ask yourself... why did we do that again? Which makes me think about the overall season against some pretty stiff competition this year. Why did we do that again? The weather was a bit chilly to be taking this log flume ride... maybe we should have gone with the old school roller coaster instead.
Hopefully I haven't scrambled your noodle too much with my analogy. On to the meet versus Crosspointe. One of my favorite Gator t-shirts from a few years back had the quote "Vini. Natavi. Vici." We came. We swam. We conquered. This year's shirt would probably be a bit more "Vini. Vidi. Natavi." We came. We saw. We swam. Still good... just no conquering. The 2021 dual meets have come to an end and we ended up without a victory for the first time in a long time. But we still had lots of fun and did lots of exciting things... no matter which log ride you're on, and no matter what the weather is, the drop at the end is still going to give some thrills. And thrills we found.
Thrill #1: Lincoln Jetton making a run at a perfect season and just getting edged out in the Freestyle race. I don't normally highlight races when our Gators don't finish on top, but this was a great season for Lincoln and he ended up winning the Breaststroke resulting in a regular season record of 9-1 to lead the Gators in individual races. He swam 10 individual races and won nine times (and still ended up in the points on the 10th one). That's quite a season. Nice going Lincoln.
|13-14 Boys finishing off a great season with one final
Medley Relay victory.
Thrill #2: 13-14 Boys bringing home their third "Clean Sweep" of the year in the Freestyle race to lead the Gators in that category. Congrats to Alex North, Gavin Fore, and George Schulte on earning all nine points in the race. The Race of the Week usually goes to one of the closest wins of the day, but on this particular day this Sweep generated the most thrill and excitement, so it gets the honor.
|Kate earning her share of those 33 points for the 9-10 girls.
Thrill #3: The 9-10 girls putting two swimmers "on the podium" in every single event on the day and winning the Age Group of the Week honor for the second week in a row! Margaret Driscoll and Kate Barber went 1-2 in Freestyle. Then, Margaret and Elizabeth Kellogg went 1-3 in Back. In Breaststroke, Helen Milito and Elizabeth finished 1-2. And finally, Kate and Helen finished 1-3 in Fly. The four of them then teamed up at the end to win the Medley Relay and haul in a combined 33 points to lead the team.
Thrill #4: Sam Bruce finding his form. We all know what Sam has done and can do, and he seems to be putting it all together when it counts... cutting time and taking home blue ribbons in both the Freestyle and Fly for the 11-12 boys. Sam also anchored the winning Medley Relay team to earn himself 15 points on the day and the Swimmer of the Week title.
|"Nice swim... but I'm peaking, you know. "
Divisional Championships are up next! This is the meet where every team in Division 2 sends its top two swimmers in every stroke to compete for the honor of "Division Champion" and try to earn a bid into the Individual All-Star meet coming up next week. And we're hosting at the Swamp. Home pool advantage.
Full meet results versus Crosspointe are here.
All the pictures are here.
|QFP. Quality Fly Photo.