Sometimes it pays to be crazy

I pride myself on being that “normal” swim mom but I may have to  table that for a moment.

We have a crazy swim dad. He registers his son in meets that our club is not attending, he watches practices and has his son attend multiple practices in the same day.  He has been asked many times to refrain from doing these things.  He smiles, nods his head in agreement and then does it anyways.  The kids think he is nuts, he has this angry stance he assumes for an hour and a half while watching practice – it is creepy.  He even instigated an argument with a parent from a competing club.  Yet his son continues to swim.

Meanwhile, we are still waiting to find out if Sophie can swim in the summer session with our club.  The summer session is designed for kids who want to participate in long course meets.  Sophie does.  It’s emphasis is kids who have made JO cuts.  Sophie has.  She is the slowest swimmer in the group by the smallest margin you can imagine – there are several kids in the group who are barely faster than her.  She makes the intervals, completes practice and doesn’t complain.  She is also the youngest – she just turned 9.   And let’s not forget her sister Sarah is also in the group.  We are obviously committed to the group and practice.

The session starts today.  Sophie swims Sunday in the Maryland State Champs meet.  She has been granted permission to swim this week in preparation for the meet.  But if there isn’t space for her, she won’t be able to swim JO’s.

Needless to say, I am not happy.  Swimming is a sport about individual goal setting.  Those of you who have followed my tales of swimming know that Sophie’s only goal last year was to make a 9-10 JO cut at the age of 8.  She fell short of her goal by a few weeks but nailed her 100 fly at the first long course meet.  She is proud of her accomplishment and can’t wait to swim at the meet.  I don’t have the heart to tell her that there may not be room in the practice group.  Instead of being crazy I have decided to be proactive.  I will make it happen, there are lots of options to explore.

In the end, I am disappointed that my daughter wasn’t welcomed to the group with open arms.  Swimming is about setting goals.  When a young 9 year old sets a goal and accomplishes it we owe it to them to see it through.  I guess that is my job.

I’m sure I will regret putting this out there – we are really happy with our club and this is the first time I have been disappointed in them.  I couldn’t sleep last night, this weighed heavy on my heart.  I need sleep tonight so I am putting my feelings out there.

Okay, I lied…

I said we were done with mini meets.

Our club just hosted their annual “Welcome to summer mini-meet”. It is a 9 and under meet and as such Sophie was eligible to swim. It’s a fun meet, the event is held at an outdoor pool and is short course meters – as are our summer meets. It is a great opportunity to see how much progress they have made before summer swimming starts and gives the kids an idea how they will do at time trials.

Last year it was a beautiful day. This year promised to be over cast and rainy. Last year I wore sunscreen. This year jeans and a hoodie. Storms were predicted and they had thought about moving the meet indoors. I talked to the coach about possibly scratching and she said it was fine. I mentioned this to Sophie and she was adamant that she wanted to swim.

The weather held out and it was a decent day. Grace and I timed and Sarah helped the coaches find kids. Sophie’s very good friend on the team also swam and they had a great time. They gave each other thumbs up before racing and congratulated each other on alternating victories against each other. Before the races they were decided who would be the faster swimmer.

At the end they swam a relay together against two other teams and crushed them!

I woke up the day of the meet completely dreading it. I left in a great mood. I forgot how adorable 6 year olds are swimming breast stroke. They literally smile all the way down the pool. It was nice to spend time with the family, we celebrated with dinner out. Above all else it was a nice gentle reminder that summer swimming is about having fun! Seeing Sophie and her friend having so much fun together really drove home the point that summer swimming is about friendships, camaraderie, and lots of nachos.

I look forward to seeing our summer friends again. I’ll revisit this feeling in a few weeks – it’s all about the fun…

It’s about time

Literally. And figuratively. Sophie really wanted to make a JO cut before her 9th birthday. She gave it her all and fell short on 50 and 100 fly – the two events she felt she had a shot at.

Our first a long course meet was two weeks after her 9th birthday. All three girls swam – it was our first meet with three kids in three age groups. With careful planning the weekend went very well. It was a long weekend but it wasn’t as bad as we had expected.

All three girls swam really well and were pleased with their times. It was Sarah and Sophie’s first LC meet so there were no expectations. It’s nice going in that way, expectations were easily met.

Grace swam some off events – she had already qualified for our next meet so nothing was on the line. She swam two events she was dreading – 100 breast and 200 fly – on Saturday. She completed the breast stroke without drowning which was all we had hoped for. She then swam a beautiful 200 fly. She beat her goal time but just fell short of the JO cut. Before the race she was certain she would die. She wanted to scratch and her coach and I ignored her. I think it is important for kids to try something outside their comfort zone. Grace did, not only did she survive the race, she enjoyed it. So much so that she is swimming it again in a few weeks, she has decided she wants that JO cut!

Sarah, having never swam LC just wanted to get a feel for the pool before setting any goals. She had a great weekend and is starting to see that she has the potential to do really well. Since the meet she has really been pushing herself in practice and I can’t wait to see what she does at the next meet.

I was worried Sophie would lose her mind when she saw the size of the pool. She didn’t. She swam really well on day 1. She missed the mark on her 50 fly, not swimming it quite a fast as she had hoped. Her final race day 2 was 100 fly. I was worried she would crash on the second 50. I was worried needlessly. She had an amazing swim.

After the race I got the famous wet Sophie hug. She was so happy, she is one of those kids who sheds tears of joy. I thought I knew why she was so happy. Sophie was just happy to have done well in her 100 fly. She didn’t realize that she had finally gotten that JO time she had wanted.

She wanted to do it before turning 9. Time wasn’t on her side in that regard – but in the end swimming is all about time. She made her first 9-10 qualifying cut as a 9 year old. But she did it the hard way. It’s not easy task swimming 100 fly LC at barely 9. But she sure made it look that way! And she was one happy kid leaving that pool!

I think the pool grew

Grace swam 400 free tonight. It is the first long course meet of the season, this particular pool has short and long course options.

As I am every year, I was shocked by how long the pool was. Grace is an old pro at Long Course, she is better at it than she is short course. I’m getting so old that when I was timing grace tonight she literally went out of my line of site before hitting the wall at the other end.

My first and only thought when I saw the pool? Holy Shit. Sophie is going to freak out. I’m not convinced she will survive warm ups let alone 200 free and 50 fly tomorrow. I think I was drunk when I thought my 9 year old swimming LC was a great idea.

Sarah will be fine. She would rather die trying than admit defeat. Sophie may need therapy Monday morning. Maybe she won’t notice how long it is. Maybe her eyes are 43 too.

Of COURSE it’s going to be LONG

Tomorrow night starts our first long course meet of the season. This will be Sophie’s first official meet as a 9-10. It will also be her first long course meet. Sarah too! She has always managed to have a broken body part during long course season. I’m sending her to school in bubble wrap tomorrow. I just put on my logistics coordinator hat and our weekend looks a little something like this:

Grace Friday night. Warm ups 345

Session 1 Grace – Kelly
Warm ups 6 am
Session 2 Sarah – Chris
Warm ups 1200
Kelly will bring Sophie and take Sarah home
Session 3 Sophie – Chris
Warm ups 450

Session 1 Grace – Chris
Warm ups 6 am
Session 2 Sarah – Kelly
Warm ups 1200
Chris will bring Sophie and take Sarah home
Session 3 Sophie – Kelly
Warm ups 450

We will be done around 730 PM all three nights. Thankfully Sunday is Cinco de Mayo and a margarita will be required when this is over.

Lots of new goals set – hopefully goals to be broken. It’s going to be a long and crazy ride from here on in. These crazy weekends are worth it. We signed on for this. We couldn’t wait for this. Good luck girls.

Do they not have the internet?

Last evening after practice two of the coaches came upstairs to talk to parents. Our pool is actually downstairs from the main lobby and the club has wisely (very wisely) adopted no parents on deck policy. The coaches also wisely (extremely wisely) duck out a back door some evenings. They all have full-time jobs and families and like to get home. They also make a point of coming upstairs and chatting with parents several times a week. Last night was one of those evenings.

They were surrounded by parents with questions about this weekends meet.

What time is warm-ups?
Which pool is hosting the meet?
Is there positive check-in?
Is 200 free first or last?

I was unfortunately sitting way too close and overheard all of this madness.

The most reliable source for all of this information is the meet announcement. Which is online. Everything you could ever want to know about the meet. You can pull it up on your phone. Your ipad. Heck you can even print it on paper on highlight information that matters to you. The club also emails everyone attending the meet ALL of this information the night before the meet starts – that would be tonight.

These are not parents that are new to the sport, most of their kids are in the advanced groups.

When everyone had their fill of stupid questions I asked the single most important question of all. Do you want your usual order from Starbucks.

Coaches aren’t complex creatures. Ask them the important questions. Ask your kids first though, they probably already know the answer. Grace had already gotten their coffee order. We are professionals at this. Watch and learn people…

What do you have to lose?

Almost two months has passed since we made a lifestyle change. We shifted our eating habits from those of convenience to habits that are more in line with the healthy lifestyle we are trying to lead.

We weren’t trying to “lose weight” as a family. All of us are very physically active. It’s a blessing. And a curse. When you are maintaining a healthy weight – all the while being very active it is easy to over look the occasional transgressions in diets. And by occasional I really mean daily

I admit it. I got lazy. Cooking dinner is nearly impossible when you are away from the house every evening.

I made the decision after watching Grace eat an entire pizza after a meet. That wasn’t even the trigger point for me. A friend made the comment “I wish I could eat whatever I wanted and be that thin”.

The truth is an entire pizza after a grueling meet won’t hurt a kid. At all. What will is the mindset that we can eat whatever we want and not gain weight. We need to stop thinking in terms of weight and think in terms of health. It changes the whole vibe when you consider that. Because we can’t eat whatever we want and still be healthy. Please don’t try and convince me the Snickers diet is healthy. We all know better.

Eight weeks later we are still making the right choices. My kids aren’t being neglected they actually *compliment* me on dinners and have all but stopped asking for junk. They are absolutely allowed to eat crap anytime it presents itself. No one in their right mind would turn down made from scratch brownies at a backyard barbecue. I wouldn’t want them to. Deprivation is a recipe for disaster.

In the end, we didn’t have anything to lose. And we did it anyways. I thought that a major overhaul of our families diet was going to be impossible. It wasn’t even close. It was actually quite easy. I am really happy we did it.