We’re having a slow home ed day today (Monday) to recover from our brilliant, if exhausting, weekend at the girls’ first swimming gala. Everyone’s pooped and looking forward to not doing very much at home today, after being at our local Regional Pool from 8.30-5.00 on Saturday and Sunday.
The swimming championships were open to clubs in our region and included swimmers doing their first gala, who had no competition times. It was the culmination of a summer of hard work by the all four of the girls, though obviously (and much to her disgust!) Little Legs was way too young to join in!
Before the summer holidays, the girls and I decided that we were going to focus on their swimming as our major for the holidays. The holidays provided a break in all of their other activities, but swimming lessons at our local pool continue on throughout.
Big Girl had been swimming in our local swimming club since around April time and was (mostly) really enjoying it. Happy Dreamer was in Wave 6 (of 7) and a bit stuck in a rut. Little Bud was in Wave 4 and having similar problems. Mostly with her breaststroke legs.
I approached the swimming coordinator (who is just fabulous, as I have said on here before!) and asked whether the younger two would be able to come and do Academy swimming (twice a week, stroke improvement focussed, for kids in Waves 5,6 and 7). Usually they can’t go as they have Brownies and Kids Club on the same nights as Academy.
It was agreed that they would trial Academy for the duration of the holidays to see whether they liked it. Little Bud was also due to go for a week of intensive swimming lessons, where they go every morning for half an hour in smaller groups.
I won’t go into the ins and outs of the progression, but Happy Dreamer quickly moved through Academy after a few weeks and up into Club sessions. She rose to the challenge really well, and is beginning to see her stamina increasing. Little Bud has made huge improvements in her swimming technique and started to go along to the Saturday Club sessions, which are more informal and often include the Academy swimmers.
Big Girl had been challenged by her coaches before the summer to enter the gala. She loves swimming, but has a tendency to coast and they wanted to challenge her with a target. She agreed and has (mostly) worked hard at training and aiming towards the goals they had set her. She entered four races in the Open (10+) category. She has been nervous, but buoyed by the support of her teammates and has agreed that she enjoyed the weekend, once it was over!
Happy Dreamer asked her coach if she would be allowed to compete too. She was not quite as far on as some of the others, but her coaches agreed it would be good experience for her to have a go. She entered four races in the ‘9 and under’ category. Nothing really fazes her and she has taken it all in her stride.
Little Bud wasn’t really anywhere near being ready to compete, but she was so keen to have a go. Her coach suggested she do three races over the weekend, also to gain gala experience. She entered three races in the ‘8 and under’ category. She has loved every second (apart from all of the sitting around in between her three 25 metre races!!!), especially the poolside camaraderie with her teammates.
All three girls have worked really hard at training over the last six weeks or so. It has been a steep learning curve and we are so proud of them all. They achieved more than I had thought possible for a summer holiday ‘project’! They are loving their swimming and are now in the pool each week for around six hours a week.
They have learned how to dive off diving blocks, do a tumble turn, learnt which strokes require a two hand hit and which require one hand hits. They have learnt the progression of whistles, commands and hooters that indicate the start of a race and what they need to do in response to those.
This weekend they have seen first hand how powerful some of the older swimmers are. They watched as the older teenage boys seemed to glide over the water as they swam 50 metres freestyle in under 25 seconds! They watched the older girls swimming 100 metres of butterfly in just over a minute! They were in awe of the power they generate and the height they come out of the water.
They have great coaches and parent helpers and we are enjoying being part of something as a family. This weekend it has been wonderful to see many of the parents and other family members who came to watch and cheer on all of the swimmers from our little club.
All three girls swam to the best of their ability in the gala. They have their first gala under their belt. They know how it works and what is expected of them. They know that it doesn’t matter at this stage whether they make a time or get disqualified. They loved seeing their names up on the scoreboard! And they had a ball cheering their teammates on in their races.
We are so thankful to have found a wonderful little club with great coaches and support, who value the kids who swim for them and who want them to learn, swim hard and have fun.
It has been a big summer for us in so many ways. our older three have so enjoyed having something for them that Little Legs is not directly involved in. They have been training hard and laughing hard. I’ve been able to start helping poolside and am enjoying having something for me. A little bit of self care if you will 🙂