The more things change..

I know I’m supposed to follow this up with “the more they stay the same”.   But that’s not really true.  When I first started this blog I thought it would be fun to chronicle my mindless ramblings.  Swimming was fun.  Over time, swimming became complicated – like any sport it has a lot of reward.  And a lot of heart ache.  This became more of my personal diary, a way for me to talk about my feelings and how I – as a parent – learned to deal with the challenges of a sport and my own worry.  Once again, I find myself at a crossroad.  I have been writing a lot less frequently.  I no longer have the urge to write about the hard times that come with the sport.  For now, they seemed to have passed.

We just spent two weeks on the road and I had a lot of time to reflect.

It all started with a pilgrimage to Orlando with Sarah and Sophie.  They were competing in the NCSA Age Group Championship meet – racing kids from all over the country.  We were really excited to go, although I was nervous about how the kids would do, having just swam at Junior Olympics a little over a week before.

The meet was the most fun I have ever had at a swim meet.  My kids were delightful, had a great time with friends and swam really well.  I met some incredible new friends and had a great time relaxing with friends I have known for years.  A few of had left our oldest swimmers behind and it was a great opportunity to bond with our younger kids.

Sarah at 14 was able to do 50 fly and breast as bonus events at this meet.  She has really struggled with 200 fly and 200 breast, she is very close to the sectionals cut in both and has struggled with getting them.  It has been frustrating for her.  Watching her prepare for the 50’s from the spectator section I realized how much she enjoys the sprints.  Her body language is just sheer joy, adrenaline and excitement – and she is damn good at them.  She and her coach came away with a realization that she is a sprinter and needs to spend more time working on the 100’s and that with patience the 200’s will come.  It was something she needed to feel to accept – that adrenaline rush.  The feeling she had when she swam the 50’s was all she needed to convince her.  Sarah is ready to go back to the drawing board.

Sophie on the other hand is my little fly girl.  She has loved it since she was 8 and at the age of 11, 200 fly has become her favorite race.  She has always struggled with the 50 and even the 100 but the 200 is her happy place – happy race.  She also has always had a decent 500 free.  At JOs she crushed the 500 free, dropping 18 seconds from a month before and coming close to the AAAA cut.  She did get the AAAA in 200 fly.  I was nervous how she would do in Orlando having just done really well in both races. That was needless because she did amazing in both races, along with everything else she swam.  Sophie, unbeknownst to any of us until this meet, is a distance swimmer!  And loves it.  Her training will change in for the long course season and she will focus more on the distance events.

Both Sarah and Sophie rose to the challenge of swimming back to back championship meets. They successfully swam 4 days of prelims and finals, having consistently better swims in finals than the morning sessions.  They finished the meet as strong as they started despite living out of suitcases and in a hotel.  They slept well, ate right and napped when they needed to.  This was our fist real travel meet and it was great to see that they didn’t come unglued.  They also learned to celebrate what they are good at!

Even more importantly, they made new friends and cheered on their entire team – and each other.  Despite missing the 200 fly sectionals cut the day before, Sarah was proud of her little sister who did get it in finals the following day.  It was certainly the highlight of the meet for me, the time was permanently stuck in my head from the night before and my reaction when I looked at the clock was “holy shit my 11 year old just got a sectionals cut”.  Turns out her coach and sisters had the same reaction!

After the meets completion, I picked up Grace from the airport in Ft. Lauderdale.  Grace was fortunate and was able to go to Colorado Springs to the Olympic Training facility with her coach and teammates while we were in Orlando.  She had a wonderful time.  The food was amazing, the workouts hard, Colorado Springs beautiful and being on her own was great.  She is 16.  Need I say more?  I can’t.  That is all I know!  And I’m good with that.  She is 16.  She arrived in Ft. Lauderdale after a week there healthy, happy and smiling.  She also did her own laundry and arrived with a well packed suitcase full of clean clothes.

We spent another week hanging out as beach bums in DelRay, visiting my parents – going no where near a pool.  It was wonderful to have the down time – most days the girls (and I) slept until noon.

I had 18 hours in the car on the way home to contemplate life.  In years past, my thoughts would have been filled with concern.  Concern my kids were happy or they were in the right group, had the right coach, were on the right team…Life has changed.  I’m teaching a 16 year old how to drive.  Once she does, the drive to and from practice will be hers alone.  She will have the time to think and contemplate.  She’s such a happy kid, confident and secure in who she is.  I’m going to miss the car rides to and from practice.  Don’t tell her that.

Next spring break will likely be filled with college visits.  I’m terrified – I have no idea how to help a kid pick a college or even get in to one.  In the meantime, I’m enjoying every second of every moment.  Life is good.  Things changed.  Nothing stayed the same.



Hello. It’s me…

You aren’t in the car enough if that line doesn’t make you start belting out Adele tunes.  

I find myself sitting in the Starbucks parking – it’s 6 am and I haven’t gone in yet.  I still have a half a cup of coffee from home and the car is nice and warm.  Eventually I’ll need a refill and make my way in but for now I’m happy.  

Since I haven’t written anything in five months it might seems as if I’m not happy.  Or that things aren’t going well.  Which couldn’t be further from the truth.  I have always been the kind of person who needs to put their thoughts in writing.  For the last several months I haven’t really felt the need to think, out loud or on paper.  

Sophie has adjusted nicely to her transitions – into a new group and into middle school.  She is our token introvert but has a great circle of friends and is handling the increased load in school work and practice really well.  She has done well in swimming and had a great championship meet in December.  At 11 she took on some of the “big dogs” in 200 fly and had an amazing preliminary and final swim.  I’m already looking forward to what she will do with that race next year.  She also crushed her 500 free.   I think quiet little Sophie is going to become quite a distance swimmer.   She still hates 50 fly – she just can’t get going before the race is over.  Goals?

Sarah is enjoying her final year in middle school and is excited about high school.  She’s also in her final year in her group.  I guess it fair to say she’s also in a transition period, out instead of in.  She’s still on fire in the pool.  Having decided to take on fly and put breaststroke aside I expected her to do well in fly and was a little worried what would happen in breast.  Needless worrying.  Sarah had the meet of her life.   A month or two before she also proved herself worthy of accolades in distance free, she swam the 1000 and did really well.  Her ego got the best of her and she gave the mile a shot.   I’m not sure she will ever swim it again!  Her 200 fly deserves its own post.  Stay tuned.  

And then there is Grace.   Grace approached this season just like she approaches life.  Happy.  Having not dropped time in a while – some of her best times were two years old – I had no idea what to expect at her championship meets.  It wasn’t that I didn’t have faith in her.  I just had no idea what would happen.  She definitely surprised me when she got best times in EVERYTHING.  As a parent, it’s painful watching your kid plateau. You spend a lot of time watching, waiting, hoping and begging favors from the swim gods and nothing happens.  And then out of the blue everything falls into place for your kid.  The times she gets have become meaningless to me.  I’m in awe of her perseverance.  I would have quit a long time ago.  Grace may look just like me but she’s a far better person than I could ever hope to be.  

My kids are awesome and I love watching them swim.  None of them are going to the Olympics.  But they are champions in spirit.  I have grown a lot through this sport as a parent and a person.  But it’s because of my children. They have taught me well how to be a swim mom.  

It’s time for more coffee.  Cheers.  

It’s time to breathe…

The last week has been awesome. We are officially done for swimming for an entire month.  The last three months?  I don’t even know where they went.

I won’t bore you with all the details but the girls have been swimming really well the last few months.  Sophie had a hard time adjusting to the early wake up times this summer but made it to every practice but one.  This was a huge win for her and quite honestly was all I expected her to do.  She continues to love swimming and has a great attitude.  Sarah got bored being a “breaststroker” and decided to go after fly this summer.  She made huge improvements in her fly, making all stars in our summer league in it (and breaststroke) and dropped a lot of time in 100 and 200 fly long course.  Grace had a great summer despite not getting to swim much in our summer league.  She kept dropping time in her backstroke and made all stars as well.  At the final championship meet of her long course season she dropped time in 6 or 7 races, some really nice time drops.  After a year of not swimming close to her best times, and another 6 months swimming close to her best times, it was really exciting to see her swimming so well.  She was very happy.  There are no words for how I felt.  I can’t even try to put them together.

I didn’t mean to take such a long break from my writing.  This has never been about other people actually reading what I write, it has always been my therapy.  I can’t help but laugh, the last thing I wrote was “As we head into the chaos of summer I’m just going to remember to breathe.   When I forget the kids will remind me.”  I totally forgot to breathe.  It’s probably for the better.  I came out with a very clear head.  Next summer will be different, I don’t need to change, I need to change things.

As for the downtime we have spent it at the pool.   I’m looking forward to the start of a new season.  I went into last year worried about having kids at two different clubs.  I’ll approach this year with a sense of calm.  It worked.  Really well.


Everything is longer…

I like long course season.  My kids prefer it and usually do really well.  My only complaint about long course is that it isn’t first.   When my kids are happy, I am happy.  Long course season is obviously a season of change, the pool, well, its just really long.  That being said my kids have had some changes as well.

Grace has a new coach.  Her old (and by that I mean former) coach moved to Hawaii!  I couldn’t talk my husband into moving to Hawaii so we could keep Grace with her so it looks like we are stuck here in Maryland another year.  Wait, I mean get to live.  I don’t mind Maryland when it isn’t winter.  The coach who left was the whole reason Grace moved to this club and site so I was little worried about how she would react.  Fortunately, she loves the new coach.  I’m really pleased it is another female, Grace reacts well to a strong female and her coach is most certainly that.  With a new coach comes change, new practice sets, new equipment and a new set of eyes working with Grace.  Grace’s first meet wasn’t awesome but she was and continues to be happy.  When I grow up I want to be just like Grace.  She has more strength, conviction and perseverance than I could ever hope to.  She also has taught me a lot about having strength in knowing who you are – not just in the pool but socially and academically.

Sophie has a new coach too!  She moved up to the National Development Group (NDG’s).  I was eager for her to move to this group for a few reasons.  For selfish reasons it was a good move, I would only be managing two schedules instead of three.  While I wasn’t concerned about her success in the least in the other group I also knew it would serve her well to be pushed a little harder.  She has always been a very dedicated swimmer – always excited and ready to go to practice.  She was invited to join the group over spring break and she immediately accepted the invitation.  The day before practice started I had a panic attack  Sophie is also a creature of habit and I worried that this group might be too much, too soon.  I was wrong, she took to it immediately and really enjoys it.  So far her only complaint is she can’t quite figure out how the snorkel works.  Watching her use it the first time was hysterical.  She did really well in her first long course meet, posted all best times and managed to keep her cap and goggles on for every race.  That’s huge.

Sarah wasn’t quite as excited to share her group with Sophie.  This is the ONLY year Sarah will ever be in school without a sibling.  And it has been her only year of swimming without a sibling in her group.  She was with Sophie.  Then Grace.  Alone.  And now Sophie.  I get it, she doesn’t get a lot of space.  She grumbled a bit the week leading up to the first practice.  And then after the first practice she told Sophie she did great.  Things have gone really well since then, Sarah explains things to Sophie and they like to talk about practice on the ride home.  I applaud Sarah for making things easy on Sophie.  As the middle child she has learned to share well.  She may not always like it but she does it.  She also has made some amazing friends in the group, one in particular, and is starting to feel like she really belongs in the swim world.  Every now and then she has self doubt – moments where I think she wished she still played soccer.  It’s hard, I know she feels this way but I believe in her abilities in the water.  She too had a great meet.  She wasn’t quite so lucky, she dropped her goggles right after the dive on 200 fly and swam the entire race with her goggles around her neck.  She had to breathe every stroke and still managed to swim one hell of a strong race.  I’m proud of her for that.  Next time we will super glue them.

I have been getting a little smug.  Here it is May and I have managed three kids, three groups and two teams with success.  Never a missed practice or a missed meet despite having plenty of conflicts.  My smugness was short lived as I realized I totally dropped the ball on a meet and definitely have over booked the summer.  Grace has a meet the weekend of Memorial Day.  The weekend is reserved for forced family fun (aka camping).  Her first reaction was to skip the meet but she realized that it wasn’t the right reaction.  She was able to farm herself out for the weekend and is able to attend them meet.  This will be a first for me, not being at the meet and even worse, we won’t have phone service.  I’m not worried about her, I’m worried about me.  It’s slowly starting to sink in that in three years Grace will be heading off to college.  This will be good practice for me.  She is far more ready than I am.

As we head into the chaos of summer I’m just going to remember to breathe.   When I forget the kids will remind me.

 Well, it’s a strategy.  

To round out our short course season Sarah swam some of her off events at the spring finale meet. My kids always do well at the meets right after the championship meets, they have nothing to lose.  Pressure is off.

Sarah had never been able to break a minute in 100 free.  She does better at distance free events and she has struggled to wrap her arms around 100 free.  She went into the meet with this as her main goal.  She also decided to swim some big events – including 400 IM and 500 free – as well as events she had never swam, specifically 200 fly.

Her goal on 200 fly was fairly simple.  She just wanted to be faster than Sophie.  My kids really don’t compete too much against each other but with a two and a half year age difference Sarah was hoping to at least swim close to Sophie’s time.

Sarah started the race in what can best be described as a calm and slow pace. She was 4th in the heat and I’ll be honest, I didn’t know where she was going with the race.  Her coaches defiantly had the WTF look on their face.  Her first 100 was a 114 and I knew that for her to hit her goal she would need to do a 125 on the second 100.  Totally doable but her first 100 looked pretty uninspiring.  She did go into the second 100 in 3rd.  As the race continued Sarah’s pace never subsided.  As others were starting to slow she just kept going.  By the 150 she was in 2nd and shortly thereafter she moved into 1st.

In the end she split two 114 mids and went from a NT to a JO qualifier in one race.  It was certainly an odd race to watch and her coaches were equally mystified  by her strategy. It’s not often that you see a second 100 just as fast as the first.

Sarah still talks to me at meets and she came running upstairs grinning ear to ear.  She joked that she could have swam it faster and also recognize that she had spent all this time trying to figure out 200 breast (which she finally did two weeks before) and that 200 fly was way more fun.

Sarah often goes into races with a unique strategy. She is hyper focused on the outcome but I worry some times that she doesn’t focus enough on the working parts.  She wants to win. Period.  Her strategy, while unconventional, works.

She also crushed that 100 free.  I saw that one coming though.   That kid always has a strategy.

Seven bucks for sanity

Last weekend Sarah and Sophie swam at Junior Olympics at University of Maryland. We have been to this pool many times, it’s a great place for meets – plenty of seating for the swimmers and the spectators. It’s a beautiful faculty and considered a fast pool. That being said, my kids have had some terrible luck there. Over the years I have definitely learned to relax over these championship meets. The true honor is qualifying for the meet. Doing well is an added bonus. For the younger kids, making this meet is very important and certainly not something to be taken for granted.

Sarah had some good fortune and some back luck in qualifying for this meet. She achieved the 13-14 qualifying time for 100 breast while still 12. She also had the long course qualifying time for 200 breast. It’s nice to start a season off with two cuts, especially if you age up in November. Sarah had a great meet in October and came close to some more cuts. We were both fairly certain that at the holiday invitational she would get them. What she got instead was the flu. In January we went to a travel meet which was really fun but in no way conducive to best times. Sessions were insanely long, competition was weak and the pool was slow. Sarah was in good company, there weren’t too many best times. Fortunately, she still had the February qualifier. Thanks to a foot of snow, that meet didn’t happen. In the end, she was grateful she had two cuts! It was two more than many of her friends.

Sophie has a great birthday for this meet. She will turn 11 in a month. She had all the cuts but breast stroke. She was able to swim six (the maximum) events and had the luxury of choosing the events she had the best odds in. She will be 11 for her next meet so she needed to enjoy this one.

The meet started off fairly lackluster. Sophie added time in two of her better races and she missed her shot at finals. Sarah swam her seed in one of her two races. Things improved day two. Sophie swam her seed times and Sarah finally cracked the nut of 200 breast, dropping time and finding confidence for the first time in a race that has challenged her for a while.

Day three Sophie came prepared to swim. She dropped time in her 50 free. Her final race of the weekend was 100 fly, her favorite race. She was seeded 8th and had just dropped two seconds in February in the race. I knew if she swam her seed she should make finals. Instead she decided to drop two more seconds. She would swim in finals as the 6th seed. She was thrilled. I wasn’t confident she would drop anymore time but was very proud of her for making finals and swimming so well on the final day of the meet. We went for a nice dinner and took a little nap in the car. As usual, 100 fly was the last race of the night. Sophie once again brought her A game and dropped almost another second, earning a 5th place medal!

She was happy. And tired. She was sound asleep before we pulled out of the parking lot. And for the first time ever, I finished a long meet weekend feeling completely sane.

For $7 I was able to utilize the gym at the school. I worked out between races and using the timeline walked over to the window overlooking the pool to watch the girls swim. I can’t believe I never did this before. It was a amazing. I didn’t sit in the hot spectator area, didn’t have to make idle chit chat and I got to workout all weekend! (I timed one session which also aids in my sanity at these meets).

My take away from this weekend? #1. I’m really old compared to college students. #2 I’m pretty fit for an old lady. #3. I’m a proud mom.

Sarah is swimming spring champs next weekend. I’m confident she will have a great meet. Don’t look for me during warm ups. I’m going to lace up my running shoes. You might not want to sit next to me during the meet either!

And then just like that it is long course season.

She’s gritty..

Grace swam this past weekend and had a few good swims and a few not so great swims. As this was the championship meet for short course she (we) were hoping for better results. She had what is best described as “technical issues”. In other word, sloppy walls.

She was disappointed but these disappointments don’t deter her. She will never end up on a therapists couch saying “my parents made me swim”. She gets 100% effort from us! She never misses a practice – we never skip a meet. She has been given all the tools to success. And then some. If she asked to quit we would let her. She loves to swim. Quitting for her is just not an option, it isn’t even a thought.

She’s not a fire in the belly fighter. It’s just not who she is. But when she is in a do or die situation she can find the drive to do.

This past weekend in 50 free she came in 16th. I took a quick glance at meet mobile, it wasn’t a best time for her and I knew that making finals would be close for her and so seeing her in 16th made me happy. Like I said quick glance. I wasn’t sure if results were being posted on deck so I sent her a text to let her know she made finals. She quickly replied that she had tied and there was a swim off.

As she was approaching the blocks my friend asked who she was racing, there were 4 girls together. I decided to look again at meet mobile to see if I knew who she was racing. And this is what I saw:


I have seen a lot of swim offs in my day but never four kids swimming for the last spot in finals. I literally felt my heart sink. My friend said “can Grace do it?” Without a second thought I said yes. I was sitting with a lot of her former teammates parents and we were positioned right above her lane. She had a nice little cheering section (side note, it’s awesome that friends are friends regardless of who they swim for). I’m not sure Grace heard us before the race but she surely did after. Because they only had the times on the board she wasn’t sure how she fared, no names or places and it was a close race. But the smile on her face confirmed that she heard us after the race.

Without getting a best time in either race she had earned the right to back and swim finals. Third time does happen to be a charm. In finals she dropped time.

In the end the meet had highs and lows. As usual I find myself worrying about my child because, well, that’s what parents do..

The head of our site sent an article today with the following quotes highlighted in the body of the email:

“Grit is defined as passion and perseverance in pursuit of long-term goals.”

“Research shows grit is usually unrelated or inversely related to talent.”

“In a recent Ted Talk on grit, Angela Lee Duckworth, a University of Pennsylvania psychologist, says the most significant predictor of success in kids isn’t social intelligence, good looks, physical health or IQ. “It’s about having stamina, sticking with your future – day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years – and working really hard to make that future a reality.”

I urge you to read the entire article. It’s so meaningful.

Grit: The key ingredient to your kids’ success

I always think of my middle daughter as the gritty, scrappy fighter. But Grace has grit. Along with a lot of heart and soul. She won’t give up. Once again I’m reminded to breathe.

The younger two start Junior Olympics this weekend. Good luck to all this championship season. Remember to breathe. These swimmers, the have grit!!!

On the outside looking in….

metros 1metros 5This past weekend Montgomery County was home to the Washington Metropolitan Interscholastic Swimming and Diving Championships aka Metros.  It’s an amazing meet and one we have attended as spectators many times.  This year was extra special, in addition to cheering for friends and Olympic athletes, we got to go cheer for our favorite high school swimmer!  Grace.

Grace knew that making finals was a bit of a long shot but she was hopeful.  She swam two relays and two individual events (the max allowed) and did really well, improving her seed on both but not quite enough to make finals.

Sophie and all of her friends had made plans to go back for finals, this was something they have done several years in a row.   Each year Sophie makes a poster to hold up when Katie swims – much like the posters you would expect to see for summer swim.  Friday evening during the 500 free preliminaries after Katie bettered her own US record the girls held the sign up and yelled “we love you Katie”.  She smiled and waved at them – this is more exciting to them than back stage passes to One Direction would be.

Grace also wanted to go back for finals, as a swimmer she was allowed on deck.  Metros is such a fun meet for the kids, all of their swim friends are there.  It is so neat to see the worlds of summer swim, club swim and high school all collide in one pool.  Her disappointment over not making finals quickly subsided when she realized she could go to a swim meet with her hair done and not have to worry about warm ups, warm downs and those pesky races!  We walked through the door and didn’t see her again for many hours.

We got there quite early, knowing it would be complete madness.  It’s a huge meet, crazy fast swimmers and of course, was Katie’s last high school swim meet.  It was an absolutely amazing night, record after record fell – US records, meet records, PVS records – one right after the other.  Sophie and her friends were in heaven.

Not everyone was quite so lucky; they had to quit admitting people into the facility.  The pool has a large window that offers an unobstructed view of the pool.  It was lined with people watching – looking in from the outside.   It’s sort of ironic, that is how I have always felt about metros .  As a spectator I have always felt as though I was on the outside looking in.

At the end of the evening kids were being traded off for sleepovers, I bartered one for two at one point and ended up with a carful of kids spending the night.   Grace’s friend swam in the last event  which left us amongst the last to leave.  Katie, who was being interviewed by several media outlets, ducked out for a few minutes and signed a few autographs.  She signed Sophie’s poster and posed for a few photos.  Sophie then got a few seconds of fame as she was interviewed by a local news team !metros 3

It was truly a remarkable weekend.  I loved being a part of the meet.  I timed during the preliminary session and got the best view in the house to see my daughter swim.   Seeing Katie swim is indescribable.  It’s exciting to see the talent that comes out of DC metro in the pool.  And nothing will top the smile on Sophie’s face when I tucked her into bed that night.  All in all – pretty spectacular!  And for the next seven years, I’ll be on this inside looking in watching my girls compete at this extraordinary meet.

metros 6


You know how when you have a baby all these well meaning people tell you “enjoy every moment – they grow up quickly” and your only thought is “I just want to sleep more than three hours at a time”.  The exact moment that kids starts sleeping, you decide to have another one.  And quite possibly a third.  Do you remember the exact day you started getting a full night of sleep?  Of course not.  Because your kids are swimmers.  That 4 AM wake up call is only tolerable because no one has colic.  But the part about them growing up quickly?  It is no joke.

Having Grace in high school this year has been bittersweet.  It’s hard enough to accept that she is old enough to be in high school but I’m really struggling with the fact that in 4 years she will be off to college and creating her own path in life.  Instead of looking at life as a series of firsts, I’m seeing a series of lasts.  Planning spring break I can’t help but think we only have 4 more spring breaks with her.  Next year she will drive.  The quiet mornings on our long drive to the pool are coming to an end.  I have always hated early morning practices but I have learned that on the cold, dark mornings in January you form an unspoken bond with your child.  We share something completely indescribable to those who have never done it.  I wouldn’t trade it for the world and these are moments I will treasure.

This weekend she will be competing in METROS (Washington Metro Interscholastic Swimming and Diving Championship).  It’s the DC metros championship High School meet, a meet well known throughout the swim world for it’s speed and popularity.  We have gone to watch the meet for many years and one of the highlights of the meet has been watching Katie Ledecky swim.  She was extraordinary at her first high school meet and this will be her last year swimming METROS.  And Grace’s first.  It’s a safe bet that Grace won’t be giving Katie a run for her money. But she will be swimming her heart out anyways.

I’m extremely excited to go see Grace swim against some of the finest swimmers in the metro area.  I’m also struggling with the fact that she is growing up.  I’m trying to complain less about the early mornings and long evenings of driving and I’m trying to enjoy it more.  Soon enough all three kids will be gone and we won’t have quiet mornings.  We will just have quiet.  Enjoy the moment.



I’ll admit it…

I don’t know everything.  Nothing I write is really a fact, it’s more of a feeling.  I think sometimes that instead of reading a self help book I’m trying to write my own.  It’s very cathartic to put it out there – it also makes me feel better hearing from other people that they are going through the same things.

That being said, I’m also far from perfect.  I read all these great articles on how to be a great swim parent or parent of an athlete.  I try really hard.  But sometimes I blow it.

A few weeks ago Grace swam at a meet in Baltimore that also had finals.  It was an early wake up call and we generally don’t talk in the car.  On day 2 I broke the silence and asked Grace what she was swimming.  She very nonchalantly said “don’t know”.  This really bothered me.  Generally before a meet I try to keep the peace – for the sanity of us all.  But not that day.  We went through a nice little back and forth about why she should know and why she disagreed with me.  She finally pulled the “nobody knows what they are swimming at 6 am”.  I already knew that was false, her ten year old sister who was also swimming that weekend, had a white board with events and goal time.  I dropped her off at the pool in tears.  And if I’m being completely honest, I didn’t care.  They get by with a lot but I do ask for respect.

She swam and was far off her seed times.  We got back in the car, heading home and spent the next hour having some quality mother and daughter time.  Actually, we fought all the way home.  Grace is a typical first born.  She is sweet, kind and very agreeable.  She is skilled in keeping the peace and backing down from a fight.  I’m very cautious of her feelings because I know she doesn’t like confrontation.  But on this particular day I didn’t hold back.  We battled.  I won’t bore you with the finer points but the general conversation was that I don’t get a say (I pay for her swimming so I’m complete disagreement), that I don’t know a thing about swimming (I handed her the phone with a video of her race and told her I was more than willing to walk her through every sloppy one minute and six seconds of it) and that she wasn’t just using excuses (tired, sore, sick and it January – I have heard them all a million times).  She went into the meet seeded 12th for backstroke.  I asked her where she placed and she said she didn’t know.  I guessed that she was probably 35th.

In the end, I told her she was afraid to actually try.  She decided the best solution was to quit swimming.  I told her that was perfectly fine with me.

After driving for 45 minutes in pouring down rain with her sobbing and crying we decided to stop and have lunch, we were a few minutes from the house and needed to calm down before walking in the door.  We stopped at Chipotle.  While eating, Chris texted me.  I told him we would be home in a few minutes.  He asked why?  My first reaction to his question?  Crap.

Pulled up meet mobile and sure enough, everyone swam terrible.  Grace was swimming finals.  Chris agreed to take her back.  I felt a little guilty, after fighting all the way to and from the pool she was physically and mentally tired.

She proceeded to go back and swim her seed time.  The rest of the meet she swam like she cared.

I’m not sure having a knock down drag out with your kid is always the most effective way to get them to perform – it was a first for me.  But in this particular case, it was honest.  She needed to hear it.  Probably a lot sooner than she did.  As a parent, it s a fine line, when they do poorly in a race or a meet it is up to the coach to tell them.  But when their attitude is affecting their performance, I feel it is well within my right as a parent to tell them.  She asks a lot of me – my only expectation is that you give it all you’ve got.  No excuses.  And for the record, she didn’t quit swimming.