And on this day we rest

The summer swim schedule has finally taken its toll on the girls. Grace is swimming every morning at 5:30 am. Sarah and Sophie are in the pool from 2-4 in the afternoons and each evening we pop over to our summer team to practice, hang out with friends and help coach pre-team. It’s exhausting. Tension starts to run high and we all get cranky and tired. This morning no one swam. They are all still asleep.

We had our second “B” meet last night. Sophie was exhibition swimming (for time – no ribbons or placing) IM and backstroke. She was close to making A meets in backstroke so was hoping for a best time.

The evening started out rough. Thunder closed the pool for 30 minutes, torrential downpour tried to dampen our spirits. I can’t help but laugh when I see swimmers reactions to being caught in the rain. Kids who spend most of their time wet aren’t big fans of the rain. Especially Grace, her hair had been flat ironed and make up was impeccable. She gets an A for effort.

By the time the meet started we all made drowned rats look cute.

Sophie’s IM was great – a consistent time from the week before and being a 12 and under event, I thought her third place finish was impressive. Her backstroke left a little (maybe a lot) to be desired. She added 2 seconds (on a 25). Fortunately was able to talk the girls Into heading home after that. We were under our covers before the meet ended.

We joined this swim team 5 years ago with my very good friend. She has two girls close in age to my younger two. The youngest has gotten a taste of success – she has qualified for the A meets this summer. Her oldest, a 10 year old has watched all of her friends swim on Saturday. She has cheered them on and congratulated them. Last night she had her moment. She swam 25 back in one of the first heats and delivered a first place win. She smoked them all! I have never been more proud of a kid who was not one of my own. I never once gave thought to Sophie and her failed attempt to make that A meet. Nor did Sophie who after results were posted ran to her friend and hugged her! It looks like Sophie will have another friend swimming this Saturday.

At sports competitions we often find our pride for our children is wrapped up in their success in the sport. I’ll admit I do. Last night I was proud of my girls for their spirit and their loyal support of their friends. It’s hard to not get caught up in the competition of summer swim. There are moments when I don’t actually like it. Club swimming is easy for me, there is no competition amongst team mates. Summer swim can make you miserable if you let it. I’m not. It is about ring pops and nachos. And the kids.

I think I can exhale. Sophie tanked. And nothing bad happened. I might survive this sport.

Until Saturday.

Are you Grace’s mom?

I was walking into the gym today and was approached by someone asking if I was Grace”s mom. I’m a horrible mother – I immediately assume my children have done something wrong. Grace broke two team records last weekend. In 50 back and 50 free. The backstroke record had belonged to this ladies daughter. When she told me this I still wasn’t sure how to react. My immediate reaction was to apologize. She was offering her congratulations. The record was from 2005 – her daughter, now an adult, enjoyed her moment of glory and was ready to pass it along.

At the end of last season Grace broke a pool record at an away meet. She broke the record at Divisionals, the final meet of the season. The other team moved up to the highest division in our league. She joked that her name would never make the record board – that the record would be beat at the first home meet. She should have put some money on it, her prediction was spot on – her record fell. By .08.

The pool had not updated their record board or their heat sheets. The meet was covered on a news site that specializes in reporting on local swimming. The site is owned by a credible large media outlet. Because they did not have the correct information the record holder and time were credited to the previous record holder. Incidentally, after Divisionals, the same site ran a story on our meet, mentioned the falling record and included a photo of Grace breaking the record.

I sent a brief email to them including the meet results showing that Grace held the record. They amended the article and they apologized. I told them no need to apologize. But I also felt it was the right thing to do. It wasn’t 8 years ago. It was 10 months ago. It was still important to Grace.

Many of the families we club swim with are on this particular summer team. One “friend” of mine publicly criticized me for sending the email. Everyone else thought it was the right thing to do. I’m unapologetic. As well as I know my “friend” I know she would have made a much bigger deal of it than I did. Grace never did get her name on that record board. She wasn’t upset, she found humor in the accuracy of her prediction. She was also comforted by the fact that while her record was broken she broke two of her own that day.

We don’t have a pretty record board at our pool. It’s actually paper stapled on a cork board. The best Grace can hope for this season is that they print a new sheet with her name and record and tack it over top the old sheet. I suspect that won’t happen – my guess is her name will be added with a sharpie. I’ll give it a few weeks. If it doesn’t happen I do happen to have a sharpie in my bag.

In the end, yes – I am Grace’s mom. And Sarah’s mom. Sophie too. I don’t care if you judge me. I’m not an obnoxious swim mom. But my kids work hard. Grace deserved the credit. As does the young lady who broke Grace’s record. I hope she is as proud as Grace was that day. Grace is a pretty good little backstroker and to those that beat her I say job well done. And to all those kids who put out great records that Grace is trying to beat? I say thank you for unknowingly motivating her to try harder every day. That’s more than a mom could ever hope for.

Raised expectations.

Our summer swim league had its official start yesterday. We had an early morning wake up call for time trials. Grace actually viewed it as an opportunity to sleep in, she generally has a 6:30 AM practice on Saturday mornings so a 7:15 warm up time allowed her another 45 minutes of sleep.

Our summer swim league swims A and B meets. A meets are Saturday mornings. The 6 fastest freestylers and 3 fastest in the other strokes swim on Saturday. Everyone else swims on Wednesday evening. Each week you can swim a total of three strokes plus the IM. If you only qualify for two events at the A meet you can also swim the third plus the IM on Wednesday. With three kids being at the bottom of their age group I assumed that we would be swimming both meets. I had expectations that Grace would make the A meets. There are 3 girls that have swam together for years. Grace is the baby of the three and usually rides the #3 position with them when she is bottom of her age group. Every other year she has held on to the #1 spot.

Sarah and Sophie have always been wild cards. Last year, at top of their age group they made the A meets but were definitely fighting for their lives each week. I had no expectations for this year. I was confident both would make freestyle top 6 but I was otherwise pretty unsure. I signed up to volunteer at both A and B meets.

I knew all three girls had worked hard this year but I also knew their team mates had done the same. I preach to the girls that hard work pays off and that I don’t care where they place as long as they are constantly improving.

Going into time trials with no expectations is great. We left though with raised expectations. All three girls did amazing. Grace literally rose to the top, she placed first in back and free, second in IM and fly, with a shocking third in breaststroke. She swam her heart out. Sarah placed second in everything but fly, she was third. Little Sophie got first in fly and free! IM is a 12 and under event but she had a great swim!

Summer swim unfortunately IS somewhat about “place” and scoring for the team. That is the one part of it I don’t like. Sarah is very competitive and it sometimes brings out the smack talking side of her. She got her one shot at saying something stupid yesterday. I put the fear of an iPhone free summer in her if she did it again. I think she got the point.

I was really happy to see the girls swim so well! They have worked so hard this year and it is awesome to see it all come together. I’m glad they didn’t go in with high expectations. A few kids did and they left disappointed. We left completed excited to see what this summer will bring.