Commack High School Boys Varsity Swimming

Commack High School Boys Varsity Swimming

Photographed the Commack boys swimmers at an individual competition meet at Deer Park High School on Thursday.

Individual competition swim meets are challenging to photograph in that the swimmers wear their own suits and caps so identification becomes more difficult. It’s especially important to get the list with the swimmers’ events, heats and lanes from the officials as soon as you can so you can plan where to position yourself for each heat.

Individual competition swimmers tend to swim in fewer events than team swimmers. For this reason it’s a good idea to get some shots during warmups before the meet. This especially comes in handy if their only event is a 50-meter freestyle, which is extremely difficult to get photos of because of the amount of spray produced and the fact that they rarely take a breath. Also during the warmups you can get some candids of swimmers talking with each other and hanging out in the bleachers.

As far as camera settings, I would recommend taking your camera off zone AF and going to single point AF. Your biggest problem is going to be your AF trying to focus on water spray instead of the swimmer and, in my experience, zone AF makes that worse. On the positive side, you can use a lower shutter speed if the light is not that great since swimmers can’t move as fast as runners. At Deer Park the light wasn’t too bad but I was still up at ISO 10,000 to get 1/640 sec, @ f/2.8. You definitely want to go with a fully manual exposure setting because the reflections off the water will fool your camera’s exposure meter into underexposing.

For freestyle, position yourself along the long edge of the pool and slightly behind the swimmer because they’ll tilt their head back to breath. Same thing for backstroke. For butterfly and breast strokes get to the short end of the pool facing them as they come toward you and get as low as possible. Oh, and stay out of the way of the officials moving along the side of the pool.

Any questions? Email or leave a comment.

That’s it for this post. Next up - boys basketball. Have fun.

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