Why Swim in Meets
When I was young I played a lot of sports. In high school I swam. In university it was intramural sports. It wasn't until my kids were in age group swimming that I realized what being in really good physical shape meant. It wasn't my shape. It is a long way from a recreational athlete to a nationally competitive one. So how do you know the shape you are in? How do you train without any testing? How much exercise do you need to get any physical benefit? How much exercise is too much? There is a large gap between enough and too much. Can you get good information on how hard it is safe for you to train?
If you work out it is important to know what your limits are. With racing you can discover your limits. I think meets are a good testing ground for measuring improvement or unfortunately decline, as you age. Hopefully you can slow the decline and have fun doing it. Just ask Jaring, raring to go at 105.
But more than that, meets provide a friendly social setting for coping with the stress that comes with competing. With enough meets the stress is reduced. Learning to deal with stress is better than trying to avoid it. You can't avoid stress everywhere in your life. Meets provide an environment for learning to deal with it. So enjoy the fun, meet new people, feel the rush of swimming a race, learn more about what you can do, swim a relay. Meets are a great experience. Meets will make you grow.