Grace and Sophie both qualified for a NAGs meet hosted by our club. It is an honor to make the meet, the top 3 swimmer in each event are invited to compete for each club. The meet is set up by age rather than age group. Grace’s birthday is after the meet (today to be exact) so she was excited to swim as a 13 year old. She swam 4 events (the max) along with 2 relays. Little girl qualified for 100 fly and was quite proud of herself.
Grace had “decided” that her goal was to make sectionals before her 14th birthday. In other words, last weekend. The swim gods were not in favor of this idea. She only had one best time for the weekend – in 50 free. The rest of her swimmers were pretty average, some even sloppy.
It would be easy to say her head wasn’t in the meet. That might have been the case. Or she was too much in her own head to succeed in the meet. I’m not sure we will ever know but she was fairly disappointed with her swims.
Talking to one of my favorite swim moms ever, we found ourselves asking the same question. How is it that after all of the hours, days, weeks and even years of hard practice do kids still come and swim like they are 9? In Grace’s case we certainly don’t blame her coaches. They have worked with her for 3 straight years on her sloppy turns. The coach before them still shakes her head in the summer when she sees Grace turn. She is a far better long course than short course swimmer – further proof that the technical aspect of her turns are doing her in.
There are days when Grace asks herself “should I take up field hockey”. There are meets where I ask myself “is there a field hockey taxi magnet”. This was one of those times.
Grace came out of the meet saying she was never swimming backstroke again. Freestyle has taken over as her lead stroke but backstroke has always been her “thing”. She has a fantastic fly when she works on it. Perhaps she is right, perhaps she should put backstroke on the back burner and start to work on her fly. She was pretty adamant that she was done with backstroke. I personally was just glad she wasn’t giving up swimming this week.
Practice last night was an endurance practice, all sets were freestyle. Imagine my surprise when Grace did an hour and a half of slow, precise backstroke. She has a travel meet this weekend and she is swimming 100 and 200 back. Perhaps the swim gods will take mercy on my poor child and grant her a sectionals cut. Nothing wrong with it 4 days after your 14th birthday.
Grace has been called “amazing Grace” in the past and she is nothing short of that. She is truly a graceful person and to know her is to love her. She has made me smile every day for the last 14 years and I love her to pieces. I want the world for her. And part of that is to learn from days like this. Days were nothing seems to work. If you can get up the next day and do it all again you will someday find success. I’m not buying that field hockey magnet just yet. The sectionals cut is just a matter of time. Literally.
Happy birthday Grace. Thank you for making me smile.
PS…Sophie also swam like she was 9. Of course she is. She had an awesome 100 fly. And got a t-shirt. That she wore for 48 straight hours.