Closing Time

This is one of my favorite Semisonic songs. It also very adequately sums up how I feel about the end of another summer swim season.

The season was a whirlwind. Most families that swim in the summer go to one or two meets a week. With three girls swimming we go to all of them. Plus all of our club meets. It gets exhausting. Most of the time the girls swam really well. And they tanked a few. It’s like this every year. I’m getting pretty good at handling the pressure. They still cry from time to time but in general they handle the competition with class. In the past I would get caught up in each race. Almost as if it were the last race they would ever swim. Now I realize the moment they are done with a race it is behind them. The important races are their future races. And if I am being honest I really hope the important races are not in the near future. Who needs to peak at 13, 11 or 9.

The girls have a lot to look forward to. Grace will be traveling to zones in a few weeks. The 6:30 AM practices for her won’t end until then. I admire her dedication and am proud of her for making zones at the bottom of her age group. I hope she does well. In the coming weeks we will also squeeze I. What I like to call “forced family fun”. We took the girls bowling yesterday. Grace somehow was able to bounce a ball from her lane into the lane next to hers. I guess dry land training has been paying off.

Once zones is finished we will be taking a much needed vacation which will include a visit to the University of Florida campus. Grace has dreams of one day swimming there. Which works out nicely, I would like to move to Florida. Our road trip will take us to south Florida for a week with Grandma and Papa. We need salt water and sand. Chlorine and concrete are banned from this trip!

As a new season approaches I can’t help but be reminded that:

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end”

I can’t help but believe this coming year will have a lot of new beginnings.

I’ll own it

I was accused yesterday of being a proud mom.  I’m pretty sure it was intended as an insult.  It didn’t have the desired effect.  I took it as a compliment.  I am proud of my girls.  They certainly aren’t perfect.  They get that honestly – I am as far from perfect as you can get.  But I try.  Well, not really.

Going into last nights meet I was proud of Grace.  She has developed a great attitude about summer swimming.  She has learned to enjoy it and not get caught up in who she is beating.  As a result, she has had one hell of a summer.  As a result of that, she qualified to swim 100 back and free at a USA-S sanctioned meet – top 8 in each age and stroke were invited to race.

Grace had her eye on the prize.  She wants a knee skin.  Dad told her she needed a AAA cut before she turned 14 and he would shell out mega bucks for the suit.  Grace was concerned she wouldn’t do well, that all the other girls would be in knee skins.  And they were, she was right.  But Grace was wrong – she did just fine in her rinky dink Recordbreaker.  She thought she would get the cut in 100 back.  She didn’t. But she gave it a noble effort and did make the Zones cut that was hanging over her head.  But before she swam backstroke she shocked herself by getting that AAA cut in 100 free.  She ran upstairs after the race and was literally jumping for joy.

Tomorrow we start a long 4 day weekend of JO’s and a summer meet.  The mood has already been set for Grace – she is fired up and ready to go.

Am I proud of her?  Hell yeah.  You are going to have to try harder to insult me.  I’ll own it.  And that knee skin?  Grace will own it too.  Not in time for this weekend unfortunately.  She will just have to own that pool in the suit she has.  Watch out world when she gets it.  It might not matter her faster but she wants it.

Me?  I would rather have new shoes…

Some count

The summer swim schedule has finally taken its toll on our family. And by family I mean me. I’m exhausted. The girls? They are just getting started.

This week is what I like to call the “hell week” of summer swim. Last weekend we had our dual A meet on Saturday and the relay meet for the entire division on Sunday. This evening Grace will be swimming at coaches long course – the top 8 swimmers in each age group from divisions A-O will duke it out in a long course meet. Thursday through Sunday the girls will compete in Junior Olympics with a summer meet thrown in the mix on Saturday. Sunday evening we exhale.

Summer swimming is designed to be fun. That often gets lost in the translation. When swimmers are swimming against one another with the common goals of scoring points for the team it is all but impossible for things not to become competitive.

When relays were put together for the meet last Sunday Grace was overlooked in two events that she felt she had earned a spot. She was able to shrug it off – in chatting with the coach she went so far as to say “I need to focus on races that count”. What I didn’t realize is she had also done the math and realized those two relays couldn’t win. The three relays she was in we’re the only three to win. She will compete at the All-Star relay event in all three.

Speaking of counting, tonight is the only summer meet that is a USA-S sanctioned event. She is swimming 100 freestyle and backstroke – events she is also swimming at JO’s this weekend. She has some pretty lofty goals. Two good swims tonight would certainly set the tone for the weekend. She is well rested and ready – she has always swam well in this pool and at this meet. It’s time to bring the A game. Actually, she is looking for some AAA time!

Good luck Grace. You earned it. Now own it. Make it count.