I know you’re probably all getting tired of hearing about swimming (and yet, here I am again)… but I figured I’d update you on Ryan’s progress with the Waves. We’ve had 3 meets now (the last one was last night), we have one more before we go on vacation (we’ll miss one while we’re in Maine), and then we’ll have the big Champs meet at JMU on July 26th. So far Ryan’s swum every stroke for time and though she was a bit panicky about breaststroke and butterfly, she did well. I still maintain that backstroke is going to be her stroke and she remains solid in freestyle (the crawl). So far she’s placed in every event she has entered and her bulletin board is filling up with pretty ribbons. She hasn’t been upset at not finishing first (the first meet set a precedent which would have been hard to maintain, given that this is her first year), which I’ve been really happy about (she sees an A- on her report card as a failure… it could have been an A+, you know!). I’ve stressed to her that even more important than winning her event is improving her own time… beating herself per se. Last night she improved her freestyle time, so we were really happy about that. I’ve always loved that she’s a waterbaby but I’m so excited about how much she really seems to love the whole competitive aspect of the sport. I’d like to see it take her through high school (and, fingers crossed, college as well!). She’ll continue swimming with the VAST league this winter, as she’s seen how impressive the older VAST swimmers are in the summer league… you can really tell who’s in the water year-round and who isn’t.
As for me, I can’t remember enjoying a project so much. Working with my little sinkers has been a real joy. Their parents are so appreciative of the time (and energy) I spend and they thank me often. That makes it worth it, really, but the kids are truly the best part. Last night I watched one of my favorite little guys (Abraham) in his first meet… given that he’d never crossed the pool without floaties until last Friday, his 25-meter freestyle (i.e. doggie paddle) was some feat! He was SO proud of himself and I felt like he was my own kid as I stood at the end of the pool and cheered him on and took pictures (look left). I’ve spoken to the head coach (who won’t be returning next year) about taking on a more active coaching role next summer. She’s all for it, so I’ll be looking into taking a class this winter which will cover teaching the technical aspects of the strokes. It’s been 100 years since I swam competitively and though I can manage teaching the little ones, I feel I need more work to instruct the older, more proficient kids. It’s definitely something I think I’ll enjoy on a larger scale, so we see how it all develops… you know I’ll keep you posted ;).