this year, the girls signed up to do swim team. i've always been very apprehensive about swim team in the past because our experience with our neighborhood in south carolina was not the best. it was more intense than educational. i didn't feel like the head coach was interested in working with a kid with autism either. we ended up quitting after a week. plus, i had a newborn. i'd avoided swim team ever since. this year we encountered some people from church who encouraged us to try it again because it was such a fun and laid back experience for them. we signed up with several friends from church in a nearby neighborhood pool(instead of our own neighborhood) because we knew a few of the girls who would be coaching. immediately it was a positive experience. scarlett was on the actual swim team and athena blythe did the swim lessons portion. they met each morning at 830, monday through thursday for 45 minute sessions. i truly loved getting out of the house early each morning and getting our day started. i'll never claim to love being an morning person, but i love being a person who can get plenty of stuff done. that forces me out of bed each and every time.
scarlett and i were both SO STRESSED before her first meet. i didn't even want to do any meets! she insisted so i went with it. we were most stressed about arriving to the meet on time. neither of us were actually worried about the events, just the punctuality. having a refusing to nap 3 year old makes afternoon activities thrilling. will herschel fall asleep randomly? will he throw a tantrum when we need to be loading up? several times, the answer was yes. 3 years old are pretty difficult on me emotionally and physically.
pre-meet nervous smile:
scarlett warming up at her first meet:
scarlett especially loved the swim meet sharpie art. most kids washed theirs off immediately, scarlett's would last for days. i even bought two sets of 12 colored sharpies so that we could get really fancy.
i think the best thing scarlett learned at swim team was hard work because swimming is HARD WORK! not just the staying afloat aspect but the perfecting the technique aspect. we were lucky enough to have a great girl from our church work with scarlett three times a week on extra technique practice. worth every cent. i could see a vast improvement in ability and confidence. scarlett was never the fastest but the week she dropped 7 SECONDS on her time made me feel like i won a gold medal and i was just standing there yelling. all my yelling practice is finally working.
scarlett also had some really great friends on the team.
good friends make all the difference.
still working on the dive form. diving is so tricky. and probably overrated. i think i heard michael phelps say that once. "just flop in. extra points for a big splash." that's how he won all those gold medals.
athena blythe enjoyed swim team too, but i know she was a PAIN to work with. her coach, "ronnie" was very firm and athena blythe was finally able to be more compliant. lots of kids in a bunch of splashing water was a lot for her to push through.
coach ronnie is the one looking at athena blythe with the laser beam eyes. those laser beam eyes came in very handy on pulling athena blythe back into the group.
"oh hey, we're taking pictures? i've got some poses for you!"
i think if the beginning swim group would have started with a race, athena blythe would have been much more amenable to practicing. she kept announcing she won and wouldn't stop talking about racing kids when it was over.
herschel was dead to the world on the way to the final meet and he made us late and spent a good 45 minutes on my shoulder, sweating and drooling down my back. so, everything i was worried about happened. the best part was all the help i received from other swim moms. so many people willing to keep and eye out or my kids when i was distracted or running late or generally struggling with the reality of my life.
athena blythe did the entire lap unassisted at the last meet. then demanded a trophy.
the car mat brings kids together. other kids came along and played for a while and there was peace on earth for short periods of time.
a swim meet rainbow:
athena blythe needs constant activity. she's excellent at finding constant activity. she was able to easily insert herself in the rival team's concession stand. the people running the stand loved her and gave her jobs that she readily completed. she was the juicer on the snow cones and retrieved selected concession stand orders. they even tasked her with giving change to the customers after the adults counted it out. Athena blythe is the most industrious kid i know. i'm sad to admit it's too often to my chagrin because she takes matters into her own hands, supervision and cleanliness be darned, but it really is one of her best qualities. she will not be deterred once she's decided to create something to accomplish something.
swim team was a really great experiences for scarlett and athena blythe. i wish reagan would do it because even though swim technique eludes him and his arms and brain don't like to work in tandem, he's figured out a way to stay afloat reagan-style and he seems to enjoy the pressure of the water on his body. herschel is going to do it next year because he loved watching the kids swim so much and picked up a few things that he would practice at the pool in his puddle jumper. the cost was extremely reasonable. the meets were long but the pace was constant and the weather wasn't bad this summer. luckily we had mostly overcast meets. i loved that everyone cheered for everyone. that's how i want my whole life to feel. lets all cheer for each other.