Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Swimming

Almost to the wall in backstroke:

Emma is on a swim team this year. It's been a very interesting experience, mostly good. She was really excited to join, listing swimming as her favorite sport. She's never been what you'd call a "real" swimmer, doing the strokes correctly and all that, but she can get around without drowning and isn't afraid of a diving board or anything. I warned her that practices would be maybe kind of boring, maybe kind of hard...not just doing cannonballs and handstands but swimming lots and lots of laps. "No problem," she assured me, "I love swimming." The first day of practice was a mighty shock to her system. The coaches were trying to get an idea of the kids' ability levels so pretty much the whole hour was spent going up and down the pool. Little Emma was not used to that much freestyle and backstroke all at once. After the first couple of laps without too much trouble, she started having to hang on to the lane divider a little as she made her way down, then holding on a lot, barely taking three strokes before needing a break. At one point, she came over to me in tears and said she was scared and it was hard. She took a little breather but got back on that horse (or in that pool, as it were) and finished it out. Things got much better as practices continued (which has been every day M-F by the way, that's a lot of swimming!). Some days are still a lot of work, but mostly now it's easy and they aren't nearly so strenuous. They work on diving and technique and yes, still swim a lot of laps. She's not scared any more. At the first meet she swam a 25 freestyle, 25 backstroke, and one leg of a 100 freestyle relay. She placed fourth, third and third, respectively. It was exciting to watch her swim her hardest and we were so proud of her for finishing each race without having to stop in the middle and hang onto the lane divider. Last night was her second meet. She told us she wasn't going to try to just finish this time, she wanted to win. Her lineup was almost identical: a 25 free, 25 back, 25 breast, and part of 100 free relay. I can't remember how she placed in each (they'll get their ribbons tomorrow), she was still near the back of the pack. But she looked awesome. She was confident and fast. I can't wait to see her times, I'm sure she's improved. (Update: two seconds faster in free and FIVE seconds faster in back!! Go Emma!)

Her event numbers sharpied on her leg:

After about the first week of practices I asked her if swimming was still her favorite sport. No, it had plummeted to the bottom of her list of sports she's tried (the list: softball, soccer, gymnastics, basketball, swimming). But after last night's meet, swimming made a comeback to a respectable 2nd favorite (softball's still #1). Swimming and softball are the only two competitive sports I ever played growing up, and swimming was the one I did when I was Emma's age. So I'm glad she likes it now, it's nostalgic for me to go to her meets and remember how much fun those were as a kid. I'm glad she's not scared anymore. I think it's been really good for her to try something hard and stick with it. And seriously, look how cute she is in a swim cap:

25 Free (we've gotta work on that dive):

video

3 comments:

Alice Wills Gold said...

ooo...i like your new blogtop.

And, SHE DOES LOOK SO CUTE IN THAT SWIMCAP!

My kids can barely swim. I am so impressed.

cally said...

So so cool. She does look dashing. I was always jealous of the swim team girls, because they were so muscular and tan.

I love the new header picture. Way cute.

JULIE said...

very cute! I need to get my swim team post up. I like the video.