Be careful what you wish for…I couldn’t wait for Sophie to turn 9 so she would move out of mini’s and into age group swimming. The mini meets are typically held on the weekend before or after our age group meets so we were losing two weekends a month. While we bought ourselves a weekend the one we were losing turned into an even longer meet, we now have three not two sessions per meet. In other words, an all day AND night affair.
Having three children, I often joke that I have an “on the job training MBA in logistics”. Swim meet weekends tend to require a lot of forethought. Fortunately our first meet was only ten minutes from the house. We divided the three daily sessions up. I took the first and third on Saturday, Chris the middle. On Sunday we flip flopped that.
Sophie had the first session both days and had six amazing swims. She dropped more time than we had expected in every event! She has always been a bit of a one trick pony, fly is her thing – this weekend her free and back made noticeable improvements. She didn’t swim breaststroke but its a safe bet she still has room for improvement on that. She ended up with an amazing second place finish in 100 fly and came out the top 9 year old which will put her into our NAG’s meet! It’s a big deal. Because you get a bag tag and a t-shirt. I’m glad my 9 year old is excited simply by a bag tag and t-shirt.
Sarah, who has never made a qualifying meet but is desperate to do so, proved herself a worthy competitor. She too had six incredible swims and came really close to two JO cuts. By March I have no doubt she will. Sarah is slightly more simple than Sophie in her approach. She asked if I would get her a king size pack of Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups when she made those cuts. I was happy to agree.
Grace had the latest sessions. Sounds great in theory but she tends to swim better in the morning. Grace had her eye on a different prize. She wanted to make sectionals. She also had a different carrot…she wants a $400 competition suit. As much as I would like to see her make sectionals I much prefer the Reece’s Cup as a motivator. Her coaches had tried to forewarn her that the sectionals cut, well within her reach this year, was not in the cards this particular meet. The kids are deep into their training and in no way tapered or rested for the meet. Saturday she had three great races. She was disappointed in each of them. Even though she knows better, hearing that her sisters had dropped 10-20 seconds in a few of their individual races, she had a hard time accepting her 1-2 second drops. By the time she got home she had cheered up and was pleased. She didn’t get the sectional cut in 100 back.
I think she went into day 2 knowing that the 200 back wasn’t going to happen either. Oddly enough, her head and heart seemed to be in a much better place. Her session belonged to dad. I had put in my time. She asked me to come back and watch her 200 back. I wasn’t about to turn her down, it was the first time any of my kids had asked. I can’t say I would always do it but I sensed she wanted us both there. She swam the race well. She didn’t get the cut but shaved off time and looked great. Immediately after her race a dad that we have known for years stopped me to tell me everything she had done wrong. I wasn’t sure what to say. So I said “I have to go time her 400 IM” and walked off.
Grace had never swam 400 IM. Much like Sophie, she isn’t known for her breast stroke. He hasn’t swam a 100 in it in almost two years. But she had worked very hard in practice preparing for this race. Grace executed the race very well as far as I could tell – I like timing, great view. She seemed to pace it well and was able to turn it on for the final 100 in free. She got the JO cut in it the first time she swam it. She was pleased with her time, said it wasn’t that bad of a race and even said she thought she could do it better next time.
Despite the fact that I was right there on deck, I somehow managed to miss the curse of death. The raised hand. Grace got DQ’d in the race. I was shocked, as were her coaches. I’ll be the first to admit I don’t know enough about swimming to know if it was bogus or not. It also happened at the far end of the pool. She was DQ’d for alternating kick in fly. Her coaches were dumfounded, this is not something they had ever seen her do. They attempted to over turn the ruling. And you already know that it didn’t happen. It never does. I didn’t expect it to.
I also didn’t expect the meet referee to approach us after the meet. Her daughter swims with my girls both summer and winter. The meet referee has been stroke and turn for probably 75 of Grace’s IM’s over the years. She is familiar with how Grace swims and knows Grace quite well on a personal level. I honestly thought she was coming to cheer Grace up. Instead she told us that she had the option to overturn the ruling and despite not seeing the turn chose not to. She also told Grace “fix the flaw”. And then she turned around and went home. Grace was pretty hurt. She didn’t expect the ruling to be overturned because the ref was a personal friend of ours, she just expected some sympathy – a pat on the back for completing a hard race.
Sometimes you find out who your friends really are simply by how the react when your child does well or poorly. In her 200 back she had done well and been criticized. Her IM was obviously a loss given that her time didn’t stick, yet a friend couldn’t show
When they were little we would joke that a DQ earned them Dairy Queen. We may have to revisit that ritual. I visited a glass of wine when we got home.