Sunday, October 9, 2011

Being a Swim Mom

When Ian was three, not quite four, hdeco iced he really, really wanted to learn to swim, and specifically to race. I was pregnant and just not up to the task myself, as that pregnancy was a miserable one. But I noticed a swim school going in a shopping center not far from a place I often frequented (a fabric store, lol) and kept my eye on it. I thought learning to swim was a good idea.

The day it opened, we were there. I signed him up for initial lessons, and he took right to it after the first few weeks. He rapidly moved up the levels from blowing bubbles to doing the butterfly and breaststroke, taking about two years to reach the stroke clinic level.

We had a little trouble with coaches; the first one acted like he wasn't worth her time because, honestly, he really struggled to accomplish much those first few weeks before finding his way. Another one -- a real-life Navy rescue diver -- was great with Ian, not so much with Colton, when he started at 3, and then he quit teaching. One was terrific, but he got fired for not calling out of work one day (allowing me the opportunity tom teach my boys about work ettiquite). Finally, we found Allen, a kid who went to college on a swim scholarship, and the boys swam with him for a little over a year, until he went back to school and stopped teaching during the day. We then had a couple new instructors before finding the one they are with now at the swim school.

Along the way, we made some super good friends. Ian has two boys in his group who are also home schooled, and the three of them moved up the ranks together. Colton swims with their sister now.

After we had been at it for a while, we decided to make the move to swim team. And then we moved to a better-ranked team just a month ago.

It is one thing to take the kids to practice. That is honestly not too, too bad. We hit the barn then drive to the pool, located in a big sports complex. I send Ian to the pool deck, where the instructors are in charge, and I have the other three with me. They take some special toys to play with; there are some other kids their ages to play with, and the biggest problem is keeping them all from running around in the stands! Sometimes I take them outside the sports complex to play. We eat our snacks, and then it's time to go. We race home to cook dinner while I car-pump.

I love talking to the other moms. I enjoy the friendship and advice they offer.

And then it's a whole other thing to attend a meet. Get up well before dawn to pump, load up, head to the barn, feed the horses, then head for the meet. It's exhausting. Time consuming. Expensive.

When your kid is the one next to swim, it is so exciting. When your kid is out there struggling, your heart just hurts for him. Every fiber of your being pulls for him. It's great to be part of the team spirit and cheer for all the kids you see every day in the pool with your kid.

So, today, was our first race. He struggled, his stroke was tight, he had trouble with air exchange, and he finished last. Way last. But the goals were accomplished: to get in the pool, in the correct lane, and finish the race. There is nowhere to go but up.


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