Snap back to reality

After zones we headed out on our annual Florida road trip.  We all needed some down town and we didn’t take as many pit stops on the way down as we have in past years.  The girls were so tired that they slept all the way there.  It was a peaceful ride.   The girls really enjoyed the beach and even more so, took advantage of the break and got some much needed sleep.  I don’t think they were up before noon once.  We spent a lot of time at the beach, shopped, ate way too much and played some fun board games with the grandparents.  Notice I didn’t make mention of a pool?

There is no doubt in my mind that we would be very happy living at the beach.  I often dream about living in Florida or California during the drive home.  This year was no exception.  Moving is a really good option at this point.  It beats dealing with reality.

The truth is, Grace is making some big changes this year, she will be switching to a new team.

This is not a decision that was made lightly.  Or in haste.  Or at least in her mind.  She has been asking us to consider this since early spring.  We are perfectly happy with where she is.  It’s a reasonably priced program, great facility, convenient and the coaches are all great people.  We met with her coach late in the summer season and left satisfied that he is running a great program.  It’s hard to justify leaving.  I have always been an advocate for the club she swims for and I expect that when word gets out some will be scratching their heads.  Some may even say we are crazy.  I’m really nervous about meeting with the coach.  Moving to California would be so much easier.  Really.

I have talked about this a lot but Grace has been very isolated the last two years, swimming with boys or girls much older than she is.  There just aren’t a lot of girls her age at our site, the few that we do have all go to school together, and have since they were 5 – Grace is definitely an outsider.

Grace spent the last few weeks of summer in tears.  Begging and pleading with us to let her move.  I exchanged emails with the coaches of a group she was interested in joining for several weeks. I was always pleased with their responses and responsiveness.  I chatted with parents who have kids in the group at meets and they were all so pleased with the group dynamic and coaching.  Grace finally wore us down and we allowed her to try a practice before zones.  And it was a game changer for her.  Fairly certain this was a done deal, I asked that she really get to know some of the girls in the group.  She did.  She loved them.  It would seem that making a decision of this magnitude would be a relief once finally made.  That was not the case.  Because we had a vacation planned and I had to tell her current coach -as well as her two previous coaches – face to face.  Vacation just stalled the inevitable.

I’m still not really sure how I am going to find the words to explain this decision.  We are leaving a group and club we can find no fault with.  It just isn’t the right fit for Grace.  Sarah and Sophie aren’t leaving and in all likelihood, they won’t.  There isn’t anything they could have done differently or better.  She just needs something different.

Grace is taking a step back, moving into less time in the water and can only stay in this group until next summer.  She is on the older end of the group.  They will focus more on her technique.  She will focus more on her own technique.  We will be watching her like a hawk.  She has to get this right.  Her coach is a female which she found really appealing and there are lots of girls her age in the group, one in particular is a very good friend of hers.  I am confident she will fit in, make friends and above all be HAPPY.

In the end, I am paying more and driving more.  It’s a small price to pay for her happiness.  We believe in her and need her to find the will within herself to find her place.

I’m petrified to tell her coach.  I wish I didn’t like him. I wish he ran a bad program.  I wish the kids and parents in the group were all awful people.  It would be so much easier.  But none of this is the case. We meet on Saturday it will truly be a relief once we have had the meeting.  I toss and turn at night trying to find the words.  I have never been in this situation and this is not going to be easy for us.  But I am convinced it is the right decision.

I’m going to do a better job of sharing my thoughts and emotions in the coming year.  As well as sharing the progress of the girls.  It is going to be interesting – kids on competing teams, pools 30 minutes apart, meets in different locations.  We are also shifting our mindset to that of quality swimming rather than getting caught up in the girls times.  I hope you will share my blog with a friend or two, I love the comments and connecting with parents and coaches who “get it”.

Good luck to all as a new season starts.

5 thoughts on “Snap back to reality

  1. I wish you calm thoughts tomorrow as you go through your meeting. Understanding on both sides of the conversation that for now this is the right choice and that there has been a lot of thought that has gone into it. Swimming is a tough sport if you don’t have a group that you can identify with. I think a testament to your trust and belief in the current program is that two of your kids will be staying there. Sports are not a cookie cutter fit and at times you have to pick the best place for each kid. I wish you all the best in this transition.

    On a random question note- do kids in your zone that make zones only swim the events they make it in or do they get bonus swims?

    • Thanks! The meeting went really well. It was very painful and I felt sad when it was all said and done. But also really happy.

      If an LSC does not have 2 swimmers in an event, they can give a bonus swim to a swimmer, regardless of their time. They cannot register with a NT. Our LSC takes 250 swimmers so our kids don’t see bonus swims but the smaller LSC’s or some that travel a greater distance do have swimmers who utilize the bonus swims. It makes sense, otherwise I don’t know that some of these LSC’s would even come.

      PVS won the meet which was great, and a lot of NAG records were taken down. There are some really fast kids out there!!!!

      • Glad to hear that the meeting went well, or as well as it could 🙂

        Thanks for the info on your zones, it is interesting to see how each zone does it. In the Western Zone each LSC gets 400 swims total, 160 of which can be non time conforming. A swimmer could in theory (ok not theory, it happens) go and have 6 swims without making a qualifying time. Like yours the purpose is to get smaller LSC’s to attend, like AK. While there are some fast swims in our zone (I think 1 maybe 2 NAG’s this year) there are also some really slow swims for this level of meet. Overall I would say that our Spring sectional meet is the faster of the two. No bonus swims there and in some instances faster cuts than zones.

  2. I should also say that for some LSC’s in our zone the zones meet is an afterthought. There is the NorthAmerican Cup and Far Westerns that are the weekend before or during. Some kids will swim FarWesterns over zones and the LSC’s that attend NorthAmerica Cup will send the first tier to that and the second tier to zones.

  3. I hear what you are saying about isolation. Some kids in swimming need to be part of a group. I have seen it plenty. Kids that aren’t part of a group at practice will not want to go to practice. Of course there are exceptions, but all kids aren’t wired the same. I see it mainly with boys at our site since there aren’t a ton of boys at our practice site.

    I feel very lucky that my daughter has what I call a crew. The range is 3 grades and my daughter is in the middle grade. Some of the crew goes to the same schools. Many will come together in HS. They have lost a few of the crew over the years for different reasons. And we have added some too. We as parents try to get the crew together outside the pool as much as possible. That way they can have fun together. It can be as simple as eating lunch or dinner after a meet. Or it can be bigger gatherings. It does help that most of the parents like each other.

    The crew is my daughter’s second family. Let’s face it if you are a serious swimmer it is hard to make time for friends that don’t swim. They do their own thing on their own schedule. The crew understands when you can’t sleep over on a Friday night because of Saturday morning practice.

    So if Grace didn’t have a swim family/crew on the current team I can see why a change might be needed. Just count yourself lucky the coach handled it like an adult. I have seen plenty of swim coaches not handle swimmers leaving well.

    I do think seeing new/different coaching styles can be good for a swimmer.

    Either way as long as Grace has ownership in her swimming she will be fine.

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