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First Swim Meet of 2013

27 Jun

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Saturday was our first meet of the summer. The Kiddie Pies were great.

Blueberry Pie executed his first successful flip turn in competition and bettered his time in the 50 yard freestyle by 3 seconds.

In fact, each of them bettered at least 2 of their times.

Cherry Pie and Pumpkin Pie swam their 100 yard medley without getting disqualified. This is a pretty tough thing to do. They swim 25 yards of each stroke: Butterfly, Backstroke, Breaststroke, and FreeStyle (crawl). There are turn and stroke judges watching and there are 100 ways to get disqualified, even if you don’t get confused and forget which stroke you are supposed to be doing. Blueberry Pie has to swim 200 yards for his medley and swam it successfully last week, but was disqualified Saturday because he paused to adjust his goggles at a turn. I consider wardrobe malfunctions to be my fault, so I’m wracked with guilt about it.

Butterfly is the hardest for all the kids. I was helping time the IM races. That dolphin kick that goes with the Butterfly is difficult. I saw lots of kids doing a frog kick or a flutter kick (which got them disqualified). Done right, the Butterfly is beautiful and also intimidating (those clips of Michael Phelps are like watching steam train hurtling towards you). The weird one, in my opinion is breast stroke. First off, it is tough to move forward for the swimmers. The race slowes down considerably on that leg every time. Plus it looks really silly. The whole pool suddenly looks like a huge whack-a-mole game, all the swimmers heads bobbing up and down. I looked it up , and the breast stroke does have a good reason to be used. It keeps your head above water for the most amount of time. So if you were swimming out to rescue someone, you would be able to keep them in sight the best by using the breast stroke. Also it is easier to breathe swimming this way.

Pumpkin Pie’s relay placed 2nd, she swims the first leg which is backstroke, and she came in 8th place in her 25m backstroke, earning points for the team. (8th place and up receive ribbons and earn points for the team.)

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I do love swim team and let me count the ways;

1. Practice every day from 9-11 keeps us on a schedule all summer, but it’s an easy schedule.

2. All 4 of my swimmers practice at the same time and go to the same meets at the same place on the same day. No driving to 3 different towns for 3 different ball games.

3. Swimming is good exercise that the kiddie pies will be able to do their entire lives.

4. It is not during the school year.

5. The atmosphere is so positive. It’s all about beating your own best time or winning your heat and less about beating everyone. Any child who betters their time gets a best time patch for the race.

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6. I can play at the park with the little kids or exercise during practice.

7. Swimming makes the kids hungry enough to eat the healthy food I cook.

8. Pumpkin Pie is actually good at it, and Tamalie Pie might turn out to be.

Tamalie Pie still looks like she might drown any second–she fights the water instead of swimming through it, but she is just beginning.

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Oh, what do you do in the summertime when all the world is green?

18 Jul

The Man of the House and I have been talking about having the kids be in a sport for some time, years really.   The conversation goes something like this:

Him:  “I really want the kids to be in sports.  What is coming up?  Could they be in soccer?”

Me: “I think soccer already started.  But next fall/spring/summer we’ll do it, I promise.  I just don’t have time to drive them all over the place to practice and games right now.”

But this summer I bit the bullet and agreed to give up my time and the Man of the House paid the bill for the kids to be on Swim Team.

The team warming up.

We’ve loved swim team.  Practice is every morning, but they all practice at the same time and since it is summer now, we don’t have to do anything else.  So having practice has kept us on a halfway decent schedule.  Plus, 3 of my 6 kids could save themselves if they fell out of a boat.  most likely.  better chance than before anyway.

I haven’t even minded being at the park for 2 hours every day.  Sometimes I even walk laps around the playground!

And the swim meets are super fun–like an 8 hour picnic with an exciting race every hour or so.  The weather has been really hot, so my only wish is that I could get in the pool every so often.

We’ve found some fun things:

Turns out, Gwenny is very competitive.  She was nervous her first meet, after all, she could barely swim when we had signed her up for the team and had only been practicing 2 weeks.

Her second meet, she knew what to do and swam like a whole different person.  She cut a whopping 20 seconds off her best time on the 25 yard freestyle.

Gwenny- freestyle is her favorite stroke.

She came out of the water full of excitement and told me, “next time, I’m winning my heat.”

Here is Gwenny waiting for her turn.

Guess what!?

At the next meet, she won her heat!

Gwenny winning her heat in the 25 yard backstroke!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Then she had times for both her freestyle and her backstroke that were just 2-3 seconds off from being “A times.”  Having an A time makes you one of the top 10 fastest swimmers in your age group and qualifies you for a completely separate championship at the end of the season.

There are 2 “divisions” for every race.  The swimmers with seed times (or entry times) that are A times are the “A Division” and the swimmers with B seed times are the “C Division”–don’t ask me why they don’t call it the B Division. 

They give medals for the top 3 in each division.

At our most recent meet last weekend, Gwendolyn’s seed times were B times, so she was in the C Division.  However, she bettered both her times by about 3 seconds scoring not only A times but coming in 3rd place for C division in freestyle and 2nd place for C division in backstroke.  So she got 2 medals and will be swimming in the A Championships. 

A 10-year-old boy from Joplin broke 2 tri-state records.  They announced his name and the record he broke over the loud speaker each time.  
Gwendolyn was like, “There are records and we can break them?”

I looked up the tri-state record for her age group for the 25 yard freestyle. (They print them on the heat sheets that we get to know when our kids race.)  She would have to cut 10 more seconds  off her time to beat the record which has stood since 1989.

She has record breaking in her sights now, so WATCH OUT!!

The yellow cap is Benji

Benji & Ana are not competitive.  They do usually get a personal best time each race they swim, but it is only 1 or 2 seconds better.   

Benji doing the butterfly as part of the dreaded “IM”  100 yard Medley where they have to swim 25 yards of each butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, & freestyle.

I think Benji might be more excited if he was winning or getting A times or even close to either.  But most of the swimmers in his age group have been swimming a lot longer than half a summer.  So he is last or almost last every time.  I think this disappoints him, but he also doesn’t have that fire of focus in his face like Gwenny does.

Benji doing the 50 yard backstroke.  He has been lapped here, which is why that other guy is going the opposite direction.  rats.

Ana hates race day and whines every time we go to a meet.  But I found what motivates her!

Ana doing the breast stroke in the IM Medley

At our meet last weekend, there was an ice cream stand next to the pool.  She was pestering me about getting ice cream and I was saying “No” of course.  Finally she said, “Mom, if I win my heat, which ice cream can I have?”

I said nothing, as I had already informed her that I was not buying ice cream.

“MOM, if I win my heat, which ice cream can I have?”

I thought, “She’ll never win her heat.”  so I said, “If you win your heat, you can choose any ice cream you want.”

I saw that look of focus and determination take over her face and I thought, “She might do it!”

Ana doing the 50 yard backstroke

She walked up to the starting blocks and for the first time ever, I could see that she was going to really try her best.  I decided to myself that if she bettered her time by something significant, like 10 seconds, that I would buy her ice cream anyway, regardless if she won her heat or not.

She got a best time ticket but we didn’t know how fast she had been.  I could tell she had swum her hardest.  I was so excited that when Benji came up for his race, which was right after Ana’s, I told him through the fence that if he bettered his time by 10 seconds that he could have ice cream too.

Benji looked pretty determined to get ice cream.  At the end of his race, he told me his timer told him he bettered his time by 9 seconds and was that good enough for ice cream? 

I bought ice cream for all three kids, and we rejoiced in sweet success.

When the times were posted, we found that Benji had cut 8.8 seconds off his freestyle and 2.77 seconds off his backstroke.

Ana  cut 6.5 seconds off her freestyle and 11.95 seconds off her backstroke!!!

She may not care about winning, but she cares about ice cream!

All in all, Saturday was a very satisfying day for all of us.