Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Scenes from a Summer's Day, 9

Scenes from a Summer's Day, 9

A very first swim meet experience

The children were so nervous the night before their very first swim meet, not knowing what to expect from their day ahead. Knowing this was to be their first swim meet, their coaches were wise, only entering them in a few races. In fact, two of our son's were relay races with three other boys.

First though, try waking up two groggy teens on a Saturday morning sometime after 6:30am and see what happens. Actually in all fairness our two sleepy teens happily complied to rise and shine during these wee morning hours because they were going to be attending with us as swim meet volunteers for the duration of the day’s events.

They were two of ten timer volunteers for the day

Everything was new for us. Watching the children become more focused was interesting, especially when the grassy area surrounding the pool grew thick with other team members and their families who had traveled to participate in this same swim meet.

Warming up before the heats began

They've come a long way. Looking back to their very first day when they both attended their first swim team morning session, swimming laps “for fun” , my husband chuckled and thought he wouldn't be surprised if they would never choose to go back again.

Here we are now only a few weeks later and they can hardly wait for swim mornings, rise and shine very early alongside of me, though typically they are plum worn out when we arrive home later on, and sometimes a nap is a good thing if they require one.

If for only achieving extra endurance abilities, this swim meet stuff is mighty helpful. As the coaches introduce games and relays, everything has become very enjoyable to them, and they are so eager to perform the "butterfly stroke" and the "dolphin maneuvers". If only every swim team had so much fun, a little less rigid perhaps, certainly without any doubt more participants would be lining up to register for summer fun.

(Their race numbers were noted on their arms so they would remember to attend the marshaling sessions beforehand when each one was announced. Some children had numbers all the way up their arms.)

Pooped out, but she was so proud to do this.

The whole idea of joining a swim team was never something I wanted in the past. I felt the tremendous daily time commitment alone was too much for me, and usually the swim meets fell on entire weekends where families were expected to bring along their camper, tent or pay for lodging elsewhere. Not for me nor for our family.

Relay races were difficult because you
had to keep up for the sake of the team.
(Strong legs ahead for hockey season?)

So what’s different here?

Each morning as the alarm summons us to rise at 6:30am; our older daughter happens to require transportation to her horse barn summer duties. Three days a week, the young ones tag along and we head for the pool shortly afterwards so good timing on the early morning swims. Only three times each week compared to all five is doable. The relaxed atmosphere allows for absences and there are no rigid requirements to participate in swim meets should we choose not to.

There are no rigid swim suit requirements, no coaches shouting orders in ridiculous competitive ways, nothing of the sort. The children are all doing their best, and there is even one small four year old in their midst who swims well and participated alongside of them this past weekend for fun. Her proud parents and grandparents were there to cheer her on, however it was the rest of the team who screamed the most when her hand touched the wall at the end of her race. Not a dry eye in the parent area!

Overall, I have to admit, this past weekend the children were so thrilled to learn what a swim meet was all about, the rest of the family of course (except my hubby who couldn't handle being outdoors) were right by their side finding out all about it with them.

Surprisingly we were supposed to have a thunder storm interrupt the morning's events, but it never came until much later in the day. In fact, it soon became scorching hot for the duration of the meet, sunscreen desperately required.

We hear there are three more swim meets to come, so the rest of us will be there again, volunteering where needed. Bring it on!