Sunday, June 30, 2024

Last day of swim team

Thursday was a busy day! 

I took all three kids to swim practice in the morning because Benjamin wanted to be there for Alexander's mini-meet. Alexander graduated from Future Barracudas a while ago, so hasn't been attending their practices, but he was invited to show up for the mini-meet. 

So, we went to Zoë's practice. And then we stayed for Alexander's practice. 

For the past few weeks Andrew has been taking those two earlier in the morning. And then they've been coming home. And then Rachel leaves to take Benjamin to his practice. And then quite often I would take the little kids (including Phoebe) back to the's been a lot of juggling.

But on this particular morning I just took all three kids with me. Zoë practiced, Alexander practiced, then Alexander had his mini-meet.

Here he is all wet and shivery (and cute and tiny) and waiting for his event to be announced:

About in the middle of the swim meet I got a text from Rachel.

"Do you know where Ben is?"

She'd been searching all over the house for him, but he was no where to be found. 

"He's at Alexander's mini-meet with me," I texted back (and included a picture of him for good measure).

We'd forgotten to tell her that I was planning on taking the three kids together in the morning and that she didn't need to drive Benjamin anywhere. (And that's what she gets for hanging out with her friends so much this summer—she's never home for planning sessions). She thought he was hiding on her or something (he's pulled such stunts in the past).

After Alexander's swim meet, I actually left Zoë and Benjamin at the pool (under the supervision of a mom friend), so I could take Alexander home and head to a doctor appointment. Andrew picked the kids up after Benjamin's practice (Zoë wanted to stay and play at the playground with her friends).

After the doctor I had a quick nap (because Phoebe is still not sleeping through the night and then I had to get up "early" to take the kids (we leave the house before 8:00—it's a real miracle we manage to get out the door)) and then I woke up and we started packing up for the swim meet.

The kids did great! 

Alexander dropped time on both front and back. Amazingly, he's one of the top 124 swimmers in the county for his age group in both front and backstroke. I don't quite understand how considering he's never "placed" in any of his events. I mean, he's never come in last place, but he's never seemed like one of the faster swimmers either. But he's on the list!

He swam much better than last week...when he had pneumonia but we didn't know it yet. Go figure!

He also swam a relay, poor little man. It was his first relay and we'd practiced a bit at the pool, but the very concept was just so confusing to him...even though he was the first swimmer. Like, literally just...go...swim your lap like normal and then get out of the pool and let your teammates finish up. Easy peasy!

Not so. 

He was set to be in the second heat of the event. When the swimmers were called up, I checked all the lanes I was judging and saw that all my swimmers were there. My empty lanes were empty, but my swimmers were all present in the lanes they should be. 

I stood with my back to lanes 7 and 8 (which were empty) so I could watch lanes 6 and 5 (which were full). 

"Swimmers take your mark," the official said and then "BEEP!" went the little...beeper.

I watched lanes 5 and 6 dive in...but also heard a *splash* behind me. 

I was also in the middle of handing over my walkie talkie and ear piece and clipboard to the judge who was taking over for me (because I was due to swim in the parent relay next). 

"Alexander!!" I shouted, waving my arms. "STOP! COME BACK!"

Fortunately he saw me and came back...and I guess maybe should have been disqualified...but I didn't have my walkie talkie anymore and was technically "off duty" and no one else called it. Plus we tend to give these little guys a smidge of leeway when it comes to certain rules (like jumping into the pool when it's not your turn).

"You're in heat two, buddy!" I told him. "Come sit down again and wait for them to call heat two."

"It's my fault," his little teammate said, hanging his head. "I told him to go."

"We listen to coaches and officials, right?" I said. "Speaking of coaches...where is yours?"

A few of the coaches were swimming in the parent relay, but I found one of the assistant coaches and tried to tap him in to help that little relay team out. Like, I literally tapped him on the shoulder and said, "Hey, Alexander is having a hard time with this relay. He needs some help knowing when to go..."

But, uh, that interaction went unheeded because apparently when they called heat 2, Alexander went up to stand on the diving block...but when they beeped the beeper he simply did not dive in. All the other little boys were off and away down their lanes and Alexander was just standing on the diving block...

"Because," he told me later. "They never switched the sign to heat 2, so I thought maybe we were still on heat 1."

Eventually his timers were like, "Kid! You gotta get moving!" and he jumped in the water.

His team, uh, lost. Go figure.

But it was fine. 

Let's see...

Zoë did great. She cut more time in all of her strokes. She was really pushing it in breaststroke, trying to cut three seconds, but she only cut off two (which means she missed being in the top 124 by less than one second). I think she did spectacularly! She went into the season not knowing how to do breaststroke at all and is really quite speedy now! She got fifth place overall in this meet.

See, and that's what's confusing...because she's placed twice now in breaststroke...but isn't in the top 124 in the county. And Alexander has never placed and yet he is in the top 124. Oh, well.

Benjamin did great as well! He cut time in a few things and was upset that his breaststroke was 1 second slower than his fastest time...but we can't swim our absolute best all the time. He did great!

It was a busy evening—the kids were in 13 events between the three of them. And, as I mentioned, I swam in the parent relay.

At the end of the evening we packed up our chairs and things and lugged them to the van and then came back to pick up trash while the biggest kids were just finishing up their relays. Benjamin found trash pick up to be rather exciting. He found this Imperial Moth floundering in a puddle. He rescued it and put it under a bush to dry off:

And then we came across this Eastern Hercules Beetle (which is currently scuttling around in a jar on his dresser, happily eating bits of mango and strawberry and burying itself in wood chips):

Since it was the last regular meet of the season (or perhaps simply because it's tradition at this pool), the official asked the parents to keep cleaning up while he pumped up the music and invited all the kids to jump back into the pool. 

My kids were either too cold (Zoë (and honestly, me, too! I sat around wet for the second half of the meet and it was chilly)) or too interested in bugs (Benjamin) to join in (and Alexander was too "at home, in bed" by this time in the evening), but the other kids looked like they were having a good time.

In the morning we woke up and...headed to the pool for Fun Friday. Here's Zoë diving in:

We're looking forward to having some more leisurely swim time the next couple of months, but this sure was a good experience for the kids. After the very first practice of the season, Benjamin told me—somewhat out of the blue—on the way home, "I think I'll be too busy for swim team next summer."

"You think you'll be...too summer...?" I repeated.

"Yeah. I just don't think I'll have time for swim team next year."

"But...why do you think that? Like, what will you be doing?"

"Anything else," he said. 

"So you...didn't like it?"

"It was fine," he said. "But, yeah. I didn't like it."

"Well, we'll just push through things this summer and see how we feel at the end of the season."

I mean, I had already paid for it so we were fairly committed. Sometimes it's good to follow through with your commitments even if you think you're not interested. It builds character.

Over the past six weeks, the kids have built character. And stamina. They improved their swim strokes. They made new friends. They faced fears and disappointment. They gained independence. They were dependable. They were responsible. They cheered on their friends. They shook hands with their competition. They listened to their coaches. They practiced hard. They improved. They triumphed. 

"Who's coming back next summer?" our wonderful team manager, Julie, asked before passing out doughnuts at Fun Friday. 

"MEEEEEEE!" the kids all cheered. 

"I can't hear yooooooou!" Julie yelled back. "Who's coming back next summer?"

"MEEEEEE!" the kids all cheered again.

"We are coming back next summer, right?" Benjamin asked me with puppy dog eyes, a complete 180° from his attitude from the beginning of the season. 

You know, I think we will. It's an intense few weeks (and we're all looking forward to sleeping in on Monday morning) but it's sure been good for these kids!

1 comment:

  1. I felt like swim team was so good for my children, for all those reasons you listed. It was intense, but such a good experience. I am glad that some of your children have been able to participate!