Entries in swim (3)



Bao was given an extraordinary opportunity to learn from an Olympian.

A local resident since he was a boy, he coincidentally attended Bao's elementary school and learned how to swim from the same swim school that Bao and DD go to.

For an hour, he paced up and down the lane as Bao swam lap after lap. He was encouraging and patient as he tweaked and corrected the most finite of details.

After the lesson, he encouraged Bao to take notes of all the pointers he had given.

And afterward, answered all the questions Bao had prepared.

My favorite one:  "Have you ever complained about swimming?"

He surprised us by taking out his Olympic medals:  the gold from Beijing and the silver from London.

The gold medal was embedded in the back with white jade!

Best of all, he allowed Bao to wear both medals! Wow!

This humble and amazingly down-to-earth Olympian not only gave Bao valuable swim tips, he told him to always set goals in life and never give up on his dreams, be it swimming or not. 

It was a once-in-a-lifetime hour, one that I hope Bao will treasure for the rest of his life.

And thank you, Coach Ray.




swim lesson

I'm a proud mama today. 

During his swim lesson, my three year-old – once fearful of dunking his head into the water – turned a corner.

He's figured out that dunking isn't so torturous.

That it can actually be kinda fun.

Just in time for our trip to Hawaii in a few days.

Go DD!



swim team

For the last two summers, we've held off signing Bao up for the league swim team because of its notoriously huge time commitment — hour-long practices four afternoons per week, all-day Saturday meets, and heavy volunteer obligations. It's too much for a 7 year-old and even more for his organized-sports-phobic parents. This summer, we finally decided to give it a try and the truth is, the commitment is huge. Five weeks into the season, we've already had 20 hours of practice, attended three swim meets, swam in 12 races, and fullfilled four hours of volunteer duties.

What's surprising though, is how much we enjoy being a part of the swim team. The practices aren't so bad, the meets are a blast, and our volunteer job (lane timer) is seriously fun. Most importantly and most surprising, is how much Bao has taken to it. Yes, our swimmer is having fun too. No complaints about the endless laps, the daily practices, the weekly meets, the many races, or - my biggest worry - the frigid pool water temperature. (His weekly lessons are held at a swim school with a pool that is heated to 90º; hence, my worry.)

I hope to look back on this post and remember how it feels to be a newbie swim family. It's fresh, exciting, competitive and fun. We're a little green, a little clueless and full of hope. I've noticed a certain cult-like frenzy swirling around the veteran families. They know the heat qualifying times by heart. They own pop-ups and folding chairs and set them up at 5am before each meet. They cheer the loudest. They are the most dedicated.

I don't know that I'll memorize the qualifying times or run out and buy a pop-up tent. What I do know is that I will cheer the loudest when my swimmer takes his mark, and I will dedicate myself until the day he says it's no longer fun.


Here's a behind-the-scenes look from Saturday's meet, NORTHSTARS v. WAVES:

THE READY BENCH. He waits here after checking in for his event, the breast stroke.

Waiting in the second seat behind the block for his heat to start.

What is he thinking as he waits? Is he anxious? relaxed? Does he feel any pressure?

One more heat and then he's up.

Waiting for the whistle to step up.

Swimmers, take your mark...

THE DIVE.  A difficult maneuver for this newbie to master.

And their off!

THE FINISH.  He placed 3rd in his heat, 5th in the event.

Ahhh, THE SHOWER.  Where all the swimmers race to after their event to warm themselves up.

THE HANG OUT. My friend, Jocelyn, brought a deck of cards so they had something to do in between events. Something wonderfully non-electronic.

Until we "meet" again!