My husband grew up participating in a neighborhood swim team. So when we moved into our current neighborhood, he was eager to sign our daughter up as soon as she was of the eligible age. Last year she and I both experienced our first swim meet ever. It was loud, crowded, exhausting but also lot of fun.
I was so clueless to swim competition lingo that I unknowingly agreed for my 6-year-old daughter to swim up with the 13 and 14 year old girls. Some relays just need a body in the pool for the team to complete a relay, and she was the extra body. Because she was not yet a strong swimmer, my husband was very worried but by the time he knew, the lineup was complete. We decided to keep her in the relay.
The relay began and our daughter, who was a good seven years younger than the other girls on both teams, was the anchor for our team. Not only was she the last one in the pool, but she had to stop every three feet and hold the ropes. It was her last race of the night, she had not built up her endurance and she was exhausted.
As a mom, I became anxious watching her swim her last lap very tired through the deep end of the pool struggling to make it the final few feet. I was also anxious that she would become aware that she was the last one the pool by a long shot. Although it was very clear to the older girls that they were not going to win the race, they began cheering very loudly for our daughter. The momentum spread and both teams started shouting her name and cheering her on to finish. When she finished the girls high-fived and congratulated our daughter. Our daughter was not only unaware that she came in last, but she was beaming from the feeling of being cheered on by her team.
After that moment, our daughter was hooked. Her endurance improved with every practice and by the end of the season she was able to swim the length of the pool without stopping. Along the way, my husband and I got to meet other neighbor parents that we had not had a chance to meet. Swim team also allowed our daughter to make some new friends in the neighborhood.
Honestly, swim team is a lot of work. We have daily morning practices and swim meets that we help set up, run and clean up each week. Why do we do swim team? It has made our kids become stronger swimmers, it has helped us build community within our neighborhood and it burns a lot of energy. Our kids are up before seven every day and are full of energy, so what better place for them to expend it than in the pool first thing in the morning?
Writer Bio: Summer Bolte
I spend most of my time and days with my three kids, husband and dog. My kids frequently play near me as I garden, cook, DIY and volunteer. My most unusual paying job has to be feeding fruit flies in a research lab, and my most fulfilling job was being an oncology nurse for seven years.