Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tears, Cheers and The Love of Ribbons!

Proud mom was an understatement.

I remember watching my nephew swim in his first meet. I remember tears rolling down my cheeks because I was so proud of his effort. Cute little Ryder's effort in the big giant swimming pool. Last Thursday, I experienced that moment, not as an aunt, but as a mom and to say I was proud was an understatement.

I will be honest with you, I want to give my kids every opportunity to love the sport of swimming. I don't care if they move on to the big league's, I just want them to learn about themselves through this amazing sport. Learn about teamwork, racing, being humble winners and kind losers. I want them to fall in love with the joy of winning a ribbon…such an easy way to build confidence!!

We joined "swim team" because the kids wanted to. Or shall I say, Skye wanted to and therefore Spider wanted to…he wants to do everything his older sister does (sounds like me with my brother!). They don't necessarily love swim "practice". To them it is a half hour of not going down the slide. But, I tell them, if they don't do the "practice" part, they can't do the "meet" part. The meet part won out.

So, they put in 2 weeks worth of work and earned a spot in the 25 freestyle. The meet started at 5pm but we got there at 4:30 to warm-up with the team. The warm-up came and went and my two little ones were nervous and excited about hanging with the big kids. It was pretty funny for me also…I had no idea what I was supposed to do or how the meets worked in our area. I was told to take them down to the other end of the pool and they would assign them a lane at the last minute.

Skye clung to me a bit. She was all decked out in her "Silver Mountain Swim Team" swim cap and had saved her Speedo for this big race. Now she just needed a little more information to ease her mind. We waited for the second heat so I could show her exactly how it would go down. "See the starter over there? And you will start in the water and swim to the other end. Do you see daddy at the other end? You wait for the BEEP and then you go…freestyle to the other end!" She was scared, so I told her she didn't have to do it. But then she started to smirk…so I said, "Let's do it! Give me FIVE!" And that was it. She plopped in the water, never taking her eyes off the starter and away she went. Little Skye in the big pool going for it with all her might! Tears were flowing down my cheeks, Spider and I were cheering and when she reached the end in 53.83 seconds, she immediately asked her dad, "Can I do that again?!" (And later she did…the 25 backstroke and a last minute entry in the 25 fly! )

Spider was up next. He got in without wetting his hair and looked back at me with both hands on the wall. His big concern was the loudness of the BEEP, not the race. He didn't want the BEEP to be too loud. I simply told him to have fun. The BEEP sounded and he didn't move, so I said, "Go Spider." And away he went. He forgot was he was supposed to do at first, dog paddling with his head up. His legs were going a mile a minute and then in went his head. Bless his heart, is all I kept thinking. This 3 year old kiddo is trying so hard to keep up with his sister…giving it his all. Amazing. He touched the wall in 1minute and 19 seconds. Everyone was cheering. He got out of the water and was beaming! He was so excited about his green ribbon that they had handed him. He turned to me with the widest smile and said, "Did I win?" I said, "You sure did buddy!"

The whole way home, you could feel the pride in the car. Skye and Spider were proud of the themselves and Mommy and daddy were so proud of their effort. The next morning they each woke up asking if there was a swim meet that day. When I heard that, mommy gave a little smirk! I've got some racers on my hands!


  1. That story has ME crying! I love it--congrats to both for being so brave.

  2. My 6 yr old started swim team this summer and LOVED it. But it was summer swimming, pretty low key, daily practice, but not terribly challenging.

    On Memorial Day, she could barely swim 12 feet, but in a week she was swimming the 42 feet required for meets (6 and unders had a 42ft event). She then quickly got to 25M. Within a couple weeks she was swimming 25M Backstroke as well. As a former swimmer I was so proud of her, and best of all she was having so much fun.

    What I didn't expect was a really big competitive streak in her. She knew who on her team was faster, and always was aware of where she was in the pool compared to the others. Now, she rarely won, but she wanted that first place. I didn't know at 6 they would have that.

    Anyway, because she loved it so much, we put her in winter swimming this year. She's about a month in 3 practices a week for 1 hr each and her first invitational in 2 weeks.

    I've watched her in practice and she doesn't really try very hard and it seems to be more of a social event than an actual practice. This leads me into my actual question :). I want to encourage her, but I don't want to be the pushy parent that I remember when I was a kid. I want her to understand that if she wants to swim fast, she has to practice hard. She's only 6, do you think my expectations are too high? Any thought on how to teach the hard practice = results in a meet?
    Thanks Summer!