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.