Entries in swim meet (1)

Monday
Jul112011

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.

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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!