Friday, August 7, 2015

Just Keep Swimming

I signed Parker up for swim team this summer. I thought ten hours of swimming each week was just what a growing teenager needed. I didn't think through the waking up early, for both of us, each week day. I assumed we wouldn't participate in the meets because Parker is not a competitive sort (see future post on competition), but I signed him up in our twin city where things are very supportive with less pressure and several of his friends were on the team there too.
Parker and his friends hanging out after swim team practice.
Parker ended up liking the exercise, loving the time with Connor and Zoey, being part of a team of great teens, and even attending some of the meets. In fact, it was soon after Parker started that Dema and Josie joined too. They didn't need the exercise with gymnastics three times a week for a total of 7 and 6 hours respectively, but they did need work on swimming technique and they enjoyed meeting new people, awesome teen coaches, and being part of a team. Parker's friends also have younger siblings in swim team so they had an hour each week day to hang around and chat. The their swim team is amazingly supportive of each other. All the kids and parents root for each other, they were very welcoming of new families, and encouraging of participation in the events without being focused on the outcome. Pretty much perfect for us.
Josie on the left, ready to start the backstroke.
Josie was crazy adamant about only wanting to swim backstroke at meets, but she would reluctantly fill in where they needed her in the relays.

Dema swimming backstroke.
 Surprisingly, Dema was the one who really loved swim team. He looked forward to practice and wanted to compete in every event he could. I think swim team will be a regular thing for Dema. I wish his school had a swim team.
Parker coming up for air during a meet.
Josie diving in off the side, during a meet, instead of the box. She is stubborn, this youngest of mine.
Rob and I were surprised that we enjoyed the meets ourselves, seeing parents from other teams in the area, rooting for their kids and ours. I was pleasantly shocked how fun the meets were and how quickly the mornings went by. Fueling the kids during meets was interesting. They don't want to eat too much before or during, but it takes a lot of energy. Parker's favorite snack during meets was organic red seedless grapes,  fresh blueberries, and dried fruit and nuts. I also brought energy bites (squares of mixed nuts, seeds, and dried fruit), which the kids liked. Dema went for his friend's pretzels, but I'm not sure that helped with his swimming. They were definitely ready for a big lunch after the meets.
Parker getting ready for the turn.
Josie's friends, Amara and Indigo, also joined the team and they had fun swimming together. The older kids from the team coach the younger kids and it is super sweet. I really appreciate how good all the teen coaches were with children. It made the experience even better.
Pajama day at swim practice.
They had "spirit week" or maybe two weeks, toward the end of the season and Josie was all about participating. I thought it was a little silly since the kids all ended up in their bathing suits, but it was fun for Josie. Since her friends are moving soon, it was nice for them to see each other every day at swim and sometimes after since it is hard to get them to to leave each other.
Were multiple suits day.
At the end of the season, they had pool party, and the kids had a great time!
Parker loves climbing walls and water so this is a favorite aspect of the pool where they swim.

Parker wants to keep the exercise going and is hoping to meet up with his friends at the indoor pool on a regular basis. Rob is hoping to swim laps with Parker and the other kids, if they want to join. It is great exercise. I have fond memories of going to the pool when I was kid. I took lessons, but I never got into swimming laps and my form is horrible so it was educational for me too.

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