Where do you buy a tractor tire ?

Ryan Lochte’s ears must be burning all the time because we seem to be talking about him every second at my house. I am sure we are alone in that!

I love the Olympics, the athletes are all so amazing. I don’t mind that my girls all look up to them and are all mesmerized by the Olympic athletes. Specifically one Ryan Lochte.

After watching Ryan’s segment Grace was impressed by his closet. The fact that he skateboards. And that he flips tires. Me? I like his abs. I am a little suspicious of a dude with more shoes than me.

New motto at our house “what would Ryan do?”. Going to buy a tractor tire tomorrow.


Medal and Ribbons and Trophies – oh my

I actually hate ribbons and trophies, especially when they are based solely on participation.  They become meaningless and tend to take up a lot of space.

This weekend my girls earned lots of ribbons, trophies and medals.  Some hard-fought victories and yes a few meaningless ones along the way.  There are a few I am quite proud of the girls for earning.

Grace won two medals in relays at Junior Olympics.  One second and one third place.  I am proud of her because her team enters three relays in the meets and she made the A relay for backstroke twice!

Grace also got a first place medal at Divisionals, breaking a pool record in 50 back.  Way to go Grace.

Our summer team decided to give participation trophies to all of the kids this year.  This was the first time since we joined the team four years ago.  They also gave specials awards.

Grace was the female high point winner for our team.  She learned the morning of our banquet that an award was not being given for high point.  She was disappointed.

We got to the banquet and there was a table full of trophies.  And then…a table full of big trophies.  All of the kids noticed the big ones.  It was going to be a big night.

The Junior Coaches on our team give out paper plate awards.  Sophie was presented with the Paper Plate Smiles award.  Remember, Sophie is the one who cried her entire first year of swim team!  Such a proud moment.

Later in the evening, the large trophies were handed out.  The trophies were handed out to amazing children.  A pair of friends who raised several thousand dollars for a boy on our team with leukemia.  An awesome little boy who cheers for every kid, on our team or not.

The last trophy was most improved.  I really wouldn’t expect any of my girls to receive this.  We are year round swimmers and as such, there is very little improvement in a 6 week time span.  Most club swimmers get tired and start getting slower at the end of the season.

I was wrong.  Grace was awarded the trophy for the most improved.  I was shocked.  She has always been a top swimmer on our team.

She was awarded the trophy for maturity both in and out of the water.  One week Grace offered to swim breast stroke instead of fly even though she would have gotten first in fly and ended up with second in breast.  Our top breaststroke swimmer was on vacation and without Grace we would have placed 4th at best.  She came ever day and coached preteam at 6 PM despite getting up every day at 5 AM for her own practices.  She came to every B meet and cheered on all the little kids, especially her favorite 5-year-old.  She swam with a level of confidence and maturity that she hadn’t in the past.  She was serious, dedicated and focused in the water and had fun outside the water.  In all honesty, she was a lot faster than she was last year.

I credit the coach for awarding this to her.  It comes a year after we left her club team.  She didn’t have to give the most improved swimmer to the kid who left her program and went on to swim at another.  But she did because she earned it.

Grace did earn it.  She didn’t improve this year because we changed teams.  She improved because she wanted it.  She wanted it so bad.  She worked hard and never gave up.  She is a remarkable young lady and I am proud to be her mom.

Sarah didn’t win an award but if there was one for the kid who ate the most nachos she was a sure bet.  She has her eye on that most improved trophy for next year.  This from a kid who wanted to quit swimming eight weeks ago.  Sarah can do anything she puts her mind to.

And Sophie – I just love her smile.

The week in review

Grace swam Junior Olympics trials and finals Thursday, Friday and Sunday.  She finaled in 200, 100 and 50 back.  She blew her 100 free race and didn’t make finals or the zone time in that.  She shed a few tears.  She also swam four relays, earning a 2nd and a 3rd place medal.  Saturday she swam divisionals, one first, three seconds and a third place (free style was her archrival and nemesis this weekend).  She broke a pool record – not ours – in 50 back.  Her surprize race, she dropped 1.5 seconds in 50 fly long course and about 5 seconds in 200 back long course.  Every other swim was solid.

She swam:

50 back – 4 times
100 back – 3 times
200 back – 2 times
50 free – 3 times
100 free – 3 times
50 fly – 2 times
100 IM – 1 time

I watched her race a total of 18 times.  I watched her warm up 7 times.  National Anthem 7 times.  National Anthem sung well – never.

Sarah and Sophie each swam meets this past week – Sophie swam free, fly and back at Divisionals.  Sarah swam free and fly at Superstars and breast at Divisionals.  Sarah was dying to get that breast stroke all-star time and fell short by a few tenths of a second.  She cried for 45 minutes straight.  This from a kid who doesn’t care about swimming.  I don’t buy that story anymore.  Sophie completely tanked her fly at Divisionals.  After hearing Sarah cry for 45 minutes I was petrified of her reaction.  She walked by and ever so matter of factly said “I swam terrible” with a smile on her face.  I swear she was skipping.

A few more statistics.  Ate at Chipotle 3 times, Pizza twice, drank a glass of wine every night and gained 5 pounds.  Number of days I have gone to the gym since Sunday?  All of them.  Amount of money left in my checking account?  None.  Zones – paid for.  New cap to replace forgotten one?  Yep.

I got lucky – no one asked for a tie dye t-shirt!

About to get a pool record

And the final reach.

Five Day Bender

Wednesday night most of our team was breathing a sigh of relief that swimming was over. This is what our schedule looks like:

Wednesdy – Superstar Meet (events not being swam at Divisionals) Summer Team

Thursday – Junior Olympics Long Course Trials and Finals Club Team

Friday – Junior Olympics Long Course Trials and Finals Club Team

Saturday – Divisionals Summer Team and End of Season Banquet

Sunday – Junior Olympics Long Course Trials and Finals Club Team

Today marks day five of the swimmeetathon. Success has come in unsuspecting places. It has been a wonderful week with many updates to follow. As for now, I need a lot of coffee.

It was bound to happen

Grace’s club team practices in the summer.  They have 8 different practices at three area pools.

As you know I hate carpooling.  All bets are off when practice is at 5:30 AM and I am more than happy to carpool if someone else will take them!

Yesterday I went to pick up my crew.  I was sitting in front of the pool – no kids.  Grace is notoriously slow.  I sent her a text.

“Grace I need to you to come out, hurry up”.  She replied…

“If you were at the right pool you would see that I am waiting for you out front”.

My bad.  I need more coffe.

The triple win

Saturday was our final meet of the season, this Saturday is divisional.

We have lost every single meet.  Despite all the losses, my kids have swam very well and have more than exceeded my expectations for the summer.  According to the virtual meet, this meet would be no exception – we were to lose.  Only difference, it was to be a close one.

Grace was expected to win all of her races.  And she did.  Barely.  She would like to tell you that she was giving the poor girl seeded #2 false hope that she could beat her by swimming slower than normal but the reality is Grace swam slow.  Excuse of the day, she had swimmers ear and was tired.  At the end of the day she brought home five blues so no one was pointing a finger at her if we lost.

Sarah and Sophie both swam as expected.  And ate nachos as expected.  Sarah had struggled to get her breast time in the past couple of weeks and was able to do that during the meet and was psyched. Still, it was a pretty uneventful meet.

Well, except my little fly girl.  Sophie had been swimming a very consistent time in her 25 fly but just knew she had more in her.  I watched her race from the side and could see it was close but she fought hard and brought home the blue.  It is hard to judge times in a 25 but I knew it was good when she ran faster than she swam, threw her soaking wet body around me and squeezed me tight.  I think she said I took a second off and then she disappeared to find dad.  It was the best hug ever.

Later they posted results and I was able to confirm that she had indeed taken a full second off.  I could not have been more proud.  Big sis Grace was quite proud too, as she pointed out that Sophie had hit her All-Star Time (a motivational time for our summer swim league).  Mother of the year, I hadn’t even noticed!  The hug won me over, what more did I need!  What a day.

We also won the meet!  By now you know that I don’t really care about stuff like that.  Although now I am wondering if that was a lie I was telling myself because it brought a tear to my eye seeing the joy on the kids faces!

On the way home Sarah told me “I don’t want to quit swimming”.  I am still smiling about that win as I pull out my check book.  I need to win the lottery…and soon.


Proud moment #52

Coaches Long Course proved to be an amazing night for Grace.

She had not qualified for this meet in the past, this was a first.  Most kids at 12 are a little nervous walking into a big meet like this.  Not Grace – she was one cool customer.

She was perfectly fine being dropped off at the front while I went and parked.  She walked around deck and mingled with past and present coaches.  Old friends and new.  Wished her competitors well and sized up the pool and competition.    She even gave her summer coach some sound advice on how they should negotiate warm ups!

I really expected her to do well in 100 back – she was so stinking close to that zone time.  Her first race though was 100 free with a fairly short break between the two.  I was a nervous wreck, Grace calm as can be.

She swam her 100 free and I looked to the electronic scoreboard and saw 108.  A best time by a second and a half.  And then a second glance.  106.93.  I read it wrong.  She took 3.5 seconds off.  The look on her face was something I will never forget.  She was absolutely shocked and thrilled with her time!

Not long after she swam 100 back.  And yes she nailed that zone time, beat it by a full second.  This night was one that won’t long be forgotten.

She wanted to stay and cheer on all of her friends.  We watched every race and cheered for everyone.

I am proud of Grace – not just for her awesome times but also because she wasn’t nervous, didn’t cave to pressure and was a true sportsman!  What an amazing person.  What a night.

Lucky 13?

Grace had several goals going into the beginning of this year.  Her primary goal was to qualify for zones.  All of the other goals were little stepping-stones on the path to Richmond in August.  She stepped on some.  She kicked the shit out of others.  Some she skipped right over.  This has been a great year for Grace, a year full of accomplishments and firsts.  To say we are proud would be an understatement.  Above all else, I am proud of her for never giving up and for believing in herself when others didn’t.

She has at this point qualified for every meet that she had hoped to, with three still to be swam.

Tonight she swims Coaches Long Course – This meet is the top 8 swimmers in each age group our summer swim league.  Yeah I know big whoop.  I don’t have an exact number but there are roughly 10,000 kids in this league, most of whom swim competitively year round.  It is a long course meet, they double their summer distance and it is a USA Swimming sanction meet – which means it counts!  Grace is swimming 100 back and 100 free. We need that 100 back zone time!  She would take the free time too if the swim gods are feeling generous.

She then has another shot at 6 events at Junior Olympics and then Zones.  And then…wait for it…VACATION!  We are going to Florida for almost two weeks in August and don’t plan to look at a pool.

And then it will be September.  Grace goes into Fall as a 12-year-old but comes out of it 13.  She turns 13 before the first major meet (Dolan) of the season.  Several of her friends turned 13 in the spring and I watch them race with a different look in their eye, almost a look of defeat.  These kids are amazing swimmers.  Amazing at 12 and amazing at 13.  The difference being, you win at 12 and not at 13.

It almost seems cruel to take a hormonal girl, going from pre-teen to teen, and to dump her from the top to the bottom.  Someone with boys had to have come up with this strategy.

While this has been a very fun year to watch Grace swim, my ultimate goal is to make sure that Grace’s year next year is even more fun.  She didn’t get to 12 without going through the tribulations of being 11 and she has to survive 13 to get to 14.  We can do this.  August will be a nice month.  Grace will compete in Zones and then as a family we will decompress and reevaluate goals for next year as we move into a new year.

Did I mention that my girls are all TOP of their age group and BOTTOM at the same time?  This is going to be a fun ride…

I should also mention that Sarah, who will turn 11 in November will be playing U12 Soccer in the fall.  We are going to have a lot to talk about.

Like mother, like daughter

I talk often about my trusty iPhone.  I could not be a swim mom without it.  I definitely am addicted to my deck pass app – if you don’t have it, why not?  I also love that I can shop, blog, Facebook, shop, shop, and email during meets.  And my favorite thing to do is find a great place to eat close to meet sites through yelp!.  I have been accused of loving my iPhone more that life.  Not more than shoes though.

My daughter might be a little addicted to hers too.  We once took her iPhone away for a few days as punishment and she screamed “what will I do at the meet this weekend?”  Seriously, I don’t know.  Sorry dear you are on your own for that one.

We have several photographers on our team who take amazing pictures.  I spend an hour after every meet pouring over the photos, reliving fun moments and saving all of the photos of my kids.  I couldn’t help but laugh a little at these two:

Yes, that would be my daughter.

Deck Pass – download it.  You will thank me later.

Week 4 Goal

We swim five consecutive Saturday meets and the sixth week is divisionals.  My girls all swim year round so we usually see their best times the first two weeks and then things don’t really change too much.

The first couple of weeks are really fun.  There is usually a slight nip in the air, pleasant breeze and the kids are all having a blast.  Week 4 rolls in and everyone (grown ups and kids alike) are done.  Tired, broke and lacking in enthusiasm.  To add insult to injury, it was nearly 100 degrees by 8 AM and the air was at a dead standstill.

I asked Sarah and Sophie to do their very best, in order for them to maintain their position on their team.  Grace was favored to win every race by 4 all the way to 12 seconds.  For the first time EVER in her swimming career I told her simply to win.  I almost feel guilty telling her that she didn’t need to kill herself trying for best times or pool records.  She has a relay carnival tomorrow, a long course meet Tuesday, a meet next Saturday and four days of meets the following weekend.

It’s hard as a competitor to almost do your best but there is a time and place for it.  Timers were woozy, swimmers were fainting and parents were nauseous.

She brought home a handful of blues and scored more points for the team than anyone else.  Tomorrow she has a shot to qualify for All-Star relays.  Tuesday a shot to qualify for zones.

Todays goal – don’t lose.  Sorry for that but it had to be said.