Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The non-swimmers

Lest you think that swim season only included the older three...

We routinely had a bag at practices containing his trucks to share, water, and breakfast.
And yes, Wes really is that big nowadays.
Finding things to do during one of the meets...
The girl's just cute!

Love that the toys are so close to the pool at another of the meets.
Super love how my new camera caught the light.
Extra super love that this photo has nearly everyone, including Riah, who had to leave the meet early for work.

A time to brag

I am not one to brag.  I will share in things that are exciting to me; I will shout from the rooftops things that are worth celebrating, but I am really not one to brag.


Do you see these three children?

These three lovely children that were happy on their last day of school?  Yes.  Well, these three lovely happy children were NOT happy when their father and I announced that they would be joining a swim team this summer.  Their responses went something like this:

"But I'm not very good at swimming."
"I don't even know how to do all the different kinds of things that they do."
"I've never done that before."
"I don't know anyone on the team."
"I'm really not comfortable with this."
And my favorite..."Why are you forcing us to do something that we don't want to do?"

Our answers were varied, but boiled down to, "You'll get better; it's an important life skill; you'll learn to like it."

And so it started, much to their chagrin.

After the first week, I heard exactly zero complaints.  They made friends, and guess what?  They got better and they learned to like it!!!

I can't even begin to explain how proud I am of these three swimmers.  (See that?  They have a new label now.  One that they can wear proudly.)  Well, actually I can begin.  And I will.

Abby was a decent backyard-pool swimmer, but strokes & stuff?  What on earth is that?  By the end of the 8-week season (which was really shorter than that because the last meet was cancelled for weather, the one before was called right before the IM for lightning & the one before THAT was called because all of a sudden the wind was blowing things away.  Like trees.) she was shaving time off of her freestyle & breaststroke, and had just added backstroke.  What gets me is that Riah noticed that her dolphin kick is better than his is now.  And during butterfly drills sometimes she actually gets her arms & shoulders all the way out of the water!  Not too shabby, Abby!

Her first event, ever!

Of all three, I think that Alex worked the hardest.  They all worked hard, but this kid leaves it all out on the field--er, pool?  Whatever.  Sadly, it just wasn't producing the desired outcome.

Definite 'A' for effort.

His first meets involved a very splashy freestyle & a breaststroke that I just don't understand.  He was almost going backward.  I don't get it.  But in a moment of calm I asked him just the right questions: "Are you satisfied with what you're doing now?"  "Would you like to improve?"  "Do you want to find some youtube videos that might help?"  After 2 instructional videos, 1 Olympic video & a little coaching from zero-experience me, he went to bed.  His next meet he cut his breaststroke by 52 seconds.  Then another 6 seconds 2 days later!  Every meet after that was faster & faster.  AND after some coaching from Dad (who has LOADS of experience), his freestyle form is more smooth & efficient than many of his teammates.

I'm so glad that the braces didn't take away ALL of that crooked smile I love.

And then there's Lee.  Lee is one of the 30 (!!!) new swimmers who Coach is fairly certain that "If I had dropped them in the deep end on the first day of practice, you'd never see your child again."  Lee started in the younger group, who was learning the strokes in the kiddie pool.  His first meet he went the length of the pool using a combination of freestyle, doggie paddle and holding onto the side of the pool for dear life.  He was disqualified, but he did it!  He went all 40 meters!  The next day at practice he announced that he was ready to move to the middle class in the deeper pool.  I didn't think he could hack it, but left it to the kid & the coach--guess what?  He stayed.

Note the gasping for air & the assistant coach walking with him the whole way.

Two meets later he went the 25m distance without touching the side, but always needing to be in either lane 1 or 8 so he could reach the wall if needed.  The next time he was in lane 5!  Like the middle of the pool!  Another mom who we also know from soccer was nearly in tears as she watched him swim.  And 2 days later (meets were T/Th evenings) he placed 1st in his heat.  !!!  (Though he didn't place.)

This tan line has now moved south.  Way, way south.

Also at that meet, Lee was awarded the Sportsmanship Award.  Every meet has one award for each team.  He had no idea what he did to win it, so I asked Coach.  He told me that he & the other coaches have noticed that he listens, doesn't goof off, obeys, stays on task, is respectful, keeps his hands to himself, follows instructions, doesn't complain & is just a good kid overall.  (At this point I have to confess that I actually thought that maybe Coach was a little mixed up with the names & really meant Alex.  That might make me a bad mom.)  He's so proud of that medal!  And I'm so proud of him for doing the things out of our home that I'm wrangling teaching him here at home.  A couple of weeks later, Abby was also awarded the Sportsmanship Award.  I've chatted with the coach a couple of times & he's commented that he's really impressed with my 3 swimmers & that I have a really nice family. 

Uh-oh...this looks like it's turning to bragging about ME! 

And to top it all off, tonight at the end-of-season team potluck, Lee was awarded the Boys 8 & under Most Improved Award for the improvements he's made with no complaining or wanting to sit out.  That kid is so proud of his award & I'm so proud of him.  I'm proud of them all.  They've all done so well.  And my favorite part?

"Mom, I'm really glad that you & Dad put us on swim team.  I really like it."
"Mom, now that I'm on swim team I can go in the deep end with Alex & Ty.  I always had to stay in the shallow end before.  When we get to our cousins' house, the first thing I'm going to do is go off the diving board."
And this.  That beautiful happy face really says it all.

Hanging out with new friends makes any sport better.