Tonight, Helen swam in her first swim meet. At her practice this morning, Helen was told she could either swim one length of the pool doing freestyle, or she could do one length of the pool using a kickboard. She knew she was "in" when she proudly swam a length of the pool at practice. She gave me the thumbs up sign and shouted "the meet is at Donaldson Run tonight - and I'm going!"
According to Helen, her arms get very tired when she swims freestyle, so she opted for the kickboard race. She was very excited, and a little bit nervous as well.
We arrived at the meet and the mini-tigers (Helen's group of swimmers) were told they could do a warm-up lap. This is when I discovered that it's very difficult to tell which kid is yours when they're swimming. In diving, your child's name is announced and they are the only doing anything in the pool. In swimming, there's a whole pile of kids swimming, and their faces are in the water. Gah!
I filmed another child's warm-up lap, only to discover that she wasn't my child when she got out of the pool, so I quickly scanned the pool and found Helen. Phew.
The mini-tigers were in a huddle, getting ready to do their signature "roar" when I overheard someone say there would be no kickboard race - only a freestyle race. My heart sunk. I wasn't sure how Helen would react. She was so pumped for the kickboard race, but also so pumped to be participating in her first meet.
Lucky for me, Helen rocks transitions, and she took the news in stride. She followed her group of swimmers to the designated area, got her swim card filled out, and prepared to swim her 25 meters of freestyle.
She was in the second heat. Predictably, she was last. I wasn't sure if she would notice, but afterwards, I'm pretty sure she did notice because she wasn't too accepting of the cheers and high fives she got. I think she just figured she would win, and everyone would know she was a star swimmer.
I told her to call my parents, because earlier in the day my mom had said she would've jumped in the car to come see this if she could. I knew my mom would be able to relay the importance of just finishing. That's a big deal - especially for someone who really couldn't swim very much at all prior to the start of the season.
She really has worked hard. And I'm extremely proud of her for this. I also thought her coaches handled everything very well, clearly noting that it was a huge accomplishment to finish - with no help at all!
Unless you are a parent or grandparent of Helen cheering her on - welcome to the longest 2:40 of your life.
Helen - you will spend your whole life knocking down mountains. And I do believe the first one of these fell tonight. Also, it should be noted that Connor was totally nice about the whole event, noting that she did pretty good and really cheering her throughout the whole race. Sometimes, that little dude can be pretty nice.
After the meet, Helen told me that next year she was going to dive and NOT swim, because swimming to just so hard. Guess we'll see what happens next summer!