And no, this time I don’t mean “Holidays”! No, this time it’s all about the Pre-Teen Pup, and her swimming. For the next six months she will be in the pool, thinking about the pool, talking about the pool, dreaming about the pool, and working her hardest to shave time off her her best race each and every time she gets in the pool and competes. It’ll be all backstroke this, and breaststroke that and freestyle splash n dash and omg the butterfly my poor shoulders, block starts, flip turns and streamline, streamline, streamline! It’ll be new suits, team suits, goggles that fall off in the middle of races, adjustments, cheers and even some tears. It’ll be fights with coach and adoration of coach and promises of ice cream for all DQs. (In our family, a DQ – disqualification, gets DQ – Dairy Queen!) It’ll be sauna like temperatures in the pool, videos and pictures, tired swimmers and exhausted mommies.
In short? It’ll be a blast!
I’ve been doing this Swimmer Support role since my sister was on the High School swim team. I was down on deck, counting down the endless laps for the 500 freestyle for her, delivering her inhaler, and wearing a shirt that declared me “J’s sister!” next to my mom who wore a shirt that said “J’s mom!” while she ran around in a shirt over her suit that said “I’m J!”
Her heart was broken when my older two showed zero interest in swimming other than for fun. Then came the Pup, who dove in last year with Auntie and all the cousins and hasn’t looked back – much to my sister’s delight. It just wasn’t quite right without my being in the stands, apparently!
Last year The Pup wanted to beat her cousin in just ONE THING – though he had a year’s previous experience and as a male tends to just be stronger and faster. In the end, though, she prevailed. She got an “Honor Time” certificate for her backstroke – which is a 4th place team finish. Her cousin got several good times and medals, but they were in his SECOND year, not his first like the Pups, so that satisfied that goal.
This year, her goals are all about times. She has an AMAZING breaststroke, which is something that just sort of clicked for her toward the end of last season, and her backstroke is still very strong. Freestyle is strong, her butterfly is coming along, and we’re all about beating last years times for personal best. She also has her eyes on the times of the High School Champ of my Sister’s generation – who FINALLY saw one of her records come down just this year! She knows she won’t be able to hit those until High School, but she’s DETERMINED to be ready to destroy the record board by then.
I believe she can do it.
But most importantly – SHE believes she can do it, and I’ll sit in the uncomfortable bleachers, sweating like a pig in the humid 12930182 heat for the next 6 months and all the years following, and cheer myself hoarse for hours on end to help her get there. After all, lookit that face – could YOU resist?