Helen joined the mini-tigers swim team this year. It entails practice four mornings a week for 45 minutes, but it's very low-key. They often will swim one length of the pool at the end, but spend most of their time in the shallow well of the pool (2.5 - 3.5 feet deep). They work on their stroke and play games.
I was dearly hoping Helen would opt for the dive team instead of the swim team. It's just easier for me if both Connor and Helen are participating in the same activity. But Helen is her own person who wants to make her own way, and she'd prefer to swim. I can appreciate that sentiment.
The regular swim team is divided into "A" swimmers and "B" swimmers. The A meets are on Saturday mornings and B meets are held on Monday evenings. At some B meets, the host will add special events for children ages 6 and under, and that's when the mini-tigers spring into action.
The first week of mini-tigers, Helen wasn't interested in participating in any supplemental events. The second week, she announced at dinner that she had a meet that night. By this time, it was way too late to take her to the meet. Her babysitter had missed this announcement at practice.
The third week, the special event being added was a 6 and under freestyle swim and backstroke. In order to participate, the mini-tigers had to show they could swim the length of the pool without stopping.
Helen can actually do this. I've seen her do it many times. But I don't think the coaches explained to her she was being watched, so on the morning of the test, she stopped about 5 feet short of the wall and walked the rest of the way in. This disqualified her from the meet. (And yes, I think this is stupid.)
Prior to her swim test, Helen told me she didn't want to swim in the meet. Instead, she had her eyes set on what will be the last meet of the season for her - next week's meet. But after the swim test, when she heard the other children's names being announced as participants - and heard them cheer, I could see how hurt she was. I think at that moment she decided she did want to participate - or at least she wanted to be the one to say she wasn't participating! She also instantly started worrying that she wouldn't be able to swim in next week's meet, and that would mean she'd never get to swim in a meet.
It's just human nature. Nobody likes to be excluded. If she had her heart set on the meet, I might have intervened on her behalf and tried to get an exception for her. But I decided it might be best for her to just sit with this feeling a little, so that next week - when I'm confident she will get to swim, she'll be that much more proud of herself. It's important in life to know setbacks and overcoming those setbacks on your own.
Swim team has been hard for Helen. Like Connor, things tend to come easy to Helen, so she tends to excel at whatever she chooses to participate in. Unlike Connor, she's more willing to stick with something that's difficult - so even though swimming has really been taxing her, she's pretty determined to figure it out.
She requests to swim a lap when we go to the pool.
She tries hard to get those little arms out of the water for her freestyle, rather than her typical breast-stroke like meandering.
She really tries to get a good breath so she can just keep moving.
Good luck, Helen! I just know you'll make the meet on Monday. Now, let's hope it doesn't rain!