The life of a swim mom is crazy. Having three girls that swim adds to the madness. This year we have added another layer (or two) to the insanity – Grace not only swims for a different club than Sarah and Sophie, but she also is swimming for her high school swim team. It’s been a season full of meets, at least one every weekend for the last several months. Sarah had a travel meet in Delaware and Grace had a meet in Baltimore. These are the first meets outside of PVS meets that I have attended besides zones. The high school meets are also completely different than what I am used to.
PVS (Potomac Valley Swim) is notorious for having fast swimmers and well run meets. It’s nice to have great meets, whether it is in your home pools or in your neighbors backyard. The furthest we travel for meets is 45 minutes to the University of Maryland. It’s been really easy for us up until now and we have always had great competition at our meets. The downside is we swim against the same kids, month after month, year after year. I could probably hand write the psych sheet for our meets. It’s that predictable.
Our high school is in a relatively new area – the school is only ten years old and our team is still relatively small, especially by Montgomery County standards. We only have about thirty kids and only a handful of year round swimmers. We moved up to Division III last year. It’s been really fun for Grace – she has gone undefeated and set an individual school record and has helped break the record on two relays. It’s been fun watching her swim in a less competitive environment. I haven’t seen her smile and laugh that much since she was 9! The meets are also short and sweet, what’s not to love? It’s also fun seeing kids experience swimming for the first time or swimming their first 100 or even 500 free. It’s more about the sense of accomplishment. Because our high schools don’t have pools, we end up having meets at pools throughout the county. Many of the pools don’t even have spectator seating. They certainly don’t have touch pads or heat sheets. Race results are written on a card with handwritten swimmers names. It’s pretty low budget. No one seems to mind.
I compare that to the USA-S meets we have attended outside our LSC. One was quite honestly the longest and slowest meet I have ever attended. The other was a mid season trials/finals meet – not a lot of best times but a great opportunity to race finals outside of a championship meet. What really surprised me was how much the parents from our team complained at one of the meets. It was a slow meet, the sessions were way too long, the seating was awful and there were no concessions. Oh and wait…we had to pay to get in. Five whole dollars. It was Sarah’s first travel meet and the group of us that travelled together had an absolute blast. Sarah made some incredible memories with her friends and despite not getting many best times, left the meet loving swimming even more than she did when the meet started. I had a great time road tripping with friends and having wine and pizza in the hotel lobby.
I guess what I noticed the most is that so much of these meets is about perspective. Swimming isn’t the most exciting sport to spectate – and it certainly isn’t the most pleasant place to sit for hours on end. But if you decide you are miserable you will be. Our children follow our lead, some of the kids had a great time at the travel meet. Others were miserable. If nothing else comes out of it, I really hope they gain some perspective as to how lucky we really are that by and large, the grass is never greener. More importantly, as parents we need to remember these meets aren’t about us.