My favorite thing about swimming is that it is a sport that time means everything.
My least favorite thing about swimming is that it is a sport that time means everything.
I’m sure many of you are nodding your head in agreement right now. When that time clock is on your side swimming is the greatest sport ever. And when it isn’t? Quite frankly it is hell. With three kids swimming it is inevitable that one of them isn’t happy with the clock at any given time.
Sarah has spent the last few years in more of a love hate relationship with the sport in general. She always swam as a secondary sport, soccer being her main sport. She was forced into early retirement last year around this time due to some ongoing injuries. We were able to convince her to add a few days to her swimming schedule and bumped her into the next higher group. Sarah agreed to this – with one caveat – she would return to soccer.
Sarah has really enjoyed swimming this past year. She has made some great friends and has done extremely well, dropping time like crazy and making tremendous improvements to her stroke. That being said, she also has talked constantly about her return to the soccer fields. I have spent the last year feeling like a complete fraud, basically nodding my head in agreement that she would return to soccer as a super star. I knew better. Not only has she been out of the sport for a year, she also was injured and in a boot, cast or brace most of the year before. Competitive soccer isn’t a sport that a two year hiatus is good idea. I knew that if she returned she would return at the rec level. I also knew Sarah would not like that. Sarah is a fierce competitor.
Despite my white lies about soccer I never lied to her about swimming. I have told her every day for a year that if she continues to work hard she has as much potential as either of her sisters.
I envy the parents whose kids swim and are only motivated by their own times, regardless of how slow they may be. Having two sisters – one older, one younger – who are making Junior Olympics, Zones and other age group qualifier meets, Sarah is not stupid. She knows that she has never made a single cut. Not for lack of effort and has had MORE than her fair share of close calls. But we all know close doesn’t count.
I have spent many races praying to the swim gods for that child. Just one. One perfect race. I never ask for too much. The swim gods also never deliver. I guess they too believe hard work trumps all else.
Last Saturday Sarah swim 100 breast and came with in a second of our Holiday Invitation and the JO time. Again, close but not quite. On Sunday she was swimming 50 and 200 breast, two more races I thought she had a shot to make. Saturday night she had a horrible stomach ache and I knew several kids in her group were plagued with a stomach bug. I was worried when she went to bed early that Sunday wouldn’t be.
She woke Sunday feeling great. Chris took her to the meet, I was going to Sophie’s session. Prepared with the timeline, meet mobile and several friends and coaches on deck all cheering her on I knew she was in good hands. Come race time I said my final prayer to the swim gods.
Three texts hit my phone at once. I almost didn’t want to know. That is a total lie. I was dying.
Sarah did it. She made the JO cut in 50 breast. And not by a tiny bit. By a full second. Everything came together for her. The pride I felt was indescribable. There are just no words.
I’m grateful that she finally believes me – that if you work hard you will achieve success. Sarah has many more good swims in her and I believe that by March she will have a full compliment of qualifying times for JO’s. I absolutely believe that to be true.
On the other hand, I have been carrying around some concern. How am I going to respond when she wants to make a return to travel soccer?
On the way to swim yesterday she asked me “instead of going back to soccer I was thinking about joining the middle school track team, can I do that and still swim?”
While I am convinced the swim gods hate me perhaps the soccer gods love me.
Last weekend was indeed Sarah’s time.