Seven bucks for sanity

Last weekend Sarah and Sophie swam at Junior Olympics at University of Maryland. We have been to this pool many times, it’s a great place for meets – plenty of seating for the swimmers and the spectators. It’s a beautiful faculty and considered a fast pool. That being said, my kids have had some terrible luck there. Over the years I have definitely learned to relax over these championship meets. The true honor is qualifying for the meet. Doing well is an added bonus. For the younger kids, making this meet is very important and certainly not something to be taken for granted.

Sarah had some good fortune and some back luck in qualifying for this meet. She achieved the 13-14 qualifying time for 100 breast while still 12. She also had the long course qualifying time for 200 breast. It’s nice to start a season off with two cuts, especially if you age up in November. Sarah had a great meet in October and came close to some more cuts. We were both fairly certain that at the holiday invitational she would get them. What she got instead was the flu. In January we went to a travel meet which was really fun but in no way conducive to best times. Sessions were insanely long, competition was weak and the pool was slow. Sarah was in good company, there weren’t too many best times. Fortunately, she still had the February qualifier. Thanks to a foot of snow, that meet didn’t happen. In the end, she was grateful she had two cuts! It was two more than many of her friends.

Sophie has a great birthday for this meet. She will turn 11 in a month. She had all the cuts but breast stroke. She was able to swim six (the maximum) events and had the luxury of choosing the events she had the best odds in. She will be 11 for her next meet so she needed to enjoy this one.

The meet started off fairly lackluster. Sophie added time in two of her better races and she missed her shot at finals. Sarah swam her seed in one of her two races. Things improved day two. Sophie swam her seed times and Sarah finally cracked the nut of 200 breast, dropping time and finding confidence for the first time in a race that has challenged her for a while.

Day three Sophie came prepared to swim. She dropped time in her 50 free. Her final race of the weekend was 100 fly, her favorite race. She was seeded 8th and had just dropped two seconds in February in the race. I knew if she swam her seed she should make finals. Instead she decided to drop two more seconds. She would swim in finals as the 6th seed. She was thrilled. I wasn’t confident she would drop anymore time but was very proud of her for making finals and swimming so well on the final day of the meet. We went for a nice dinner and took a little nap in the car. As usual, 100 fly was the last race of the night. Sophie once again brought her A game and dropped almost another second, earning a 5th place medal!

She was happy. And tired. She was sound asleep before we pulled out of the parking lot. And for the first time ever, I finished a long meet weekend feeling completely sane.

For $7 I was able to utilize the gym at the school. I worked out between races and using the timeline walked over to the window overlooking the pool to watch the girls swim. I can’t believe I never did this before. It was a amazing. I didn’t sit in the hot spectator area, didn’t have to make idle chit chat and I got to workout all weekend! (I timed one session which also aids in my sanity at these meets).

My take away from this weekend? #1. I’m really old compared to college students. #2 I’m pretty fit for an old lady. #3. I’m a proud mom.

Sarah is swimming spring champs next weekend. I’m confident she will have a great meet. Don’t look for me during warm ups. I’m going to lace up my running shoes. You might not want to sit next to me during the meet either!

And then just like that it is long course season.

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She’s gritty..

Grace swam this past weekend and had a few good swims and a few not so great swims. As this was the championship meet for short course she (we) were hoping for better results. She had what is best described as “technical issues”. In other word, sloppy walls.

She was disappointed but these disappointments don’t deter her. She will never end up on a therapists couch saying “my parents made me swim”. She gets 100% effort from us! She never misses a practice – we never skip a meet. She has been given all the tools to success. And then some. If she asked to quit we would let her. She loves to swim. Quitting for her is just not an option, it isn’t even a thought.

She’s not a fire in the belly fighter. It’s just not who she is. But when she is in a do or die situation she can find the drive to do.

This past weekend in 50 free she came in 16th. I took a quick glance at meet mobile, it wasn’t a best time for her and I knew that making finals would be close for her and so seeing her in 16th made me happy. Like I said quick glance. I wasn’t sure if results were being posted on deck so I sent her a text to let her know she made finals. She quickly replied that she had tied and there was a swim off.

As she was approaching the blocks my friend asked who she was racing, there were 4 girls together. I decided to look again at meet mobile to see if I knew who she was racing. And this is what I saw:

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I have seen a lot of swim offs in my day but never four kids swimming for the last spot in finals. I literally felt my heart sink. My friend said “can Grace do it?” Without a second thought I said yes. I was sitting with a lot of her former teammates parents and we were positioned right above her lane. She had a nice little cheering section (side note, it’s awesome that friends are friends regardless of who they swim for). I’m not sure Grace heard us before the race but she surely did after. Because they only had the times on the board she wasn’t sure how she fared, no names or places and it was a close race. But the smile on her face confirmed that she heard us after the race.

Without getting a best time in either race she had earned the right to back and swim finals. Third time does happen to be a charm. In finals she dropped time.

In the end the meet had highs and lows. As usual I find myself worrying about my child because, well, that’s what parents do..

The head of our site sent an article today with the following quotes highlighted in the body of the email:

“Grit is defined as passion and perseverance in pursuit of long-term goals.”

“Research shows grit is usually unrelated or inversely related to talent.”

“In a recent Ted Talk on grit, Angela Lee Duckworth, a University of Pennsylvania psychologist, says the most significant predictor of success in kids isn’t social intelligence, good looks, physical health or IQ. “It’s about having stamina, sticking with your future – day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years – and working really hard to make that future a reality.”

I urge you to read the entire article. It’s so meaningful.

Grit: The key ingredient to your kids’ success

I always think of my middle daughter as the gritty, scrappy fighter. But Grace has grit. Along with a lot of heart and soul. She won’t give up. Once again I’m reminded to breathe.

The younger two start Junior Olympics this weekend. Good luck to all this championship season. Remember to breathe. These swimmers, the have grit!!!