What'd we do this summer? We swam!...and we swam....and we swam... I love swim team, but more importantly, our KIDS love swim team! I know it might be hard to believe that 8am practices 4 days/weekly and long hot hours spent swimming away every Saturday could possibly be appealing. But here's why I love it: you don't swim to beat your neighbor...you push and you pull and you dive and you give every single ounce of energy and strength and determination that you've got to beat yourSELF. When you finish each race, if you've beat your previous week's time, than you can pat yourself on the back, my friend.
The above pic is Shep (next to him on the left is one of his best friends, Jake - who just happens to be a strong athlete in every sport, especially swimming!). Shepherd totally rocked it this year! He took 1st place in every Butterfly and Backstroke event in every competition in our District for the U8 age bracket. He improved a lot from last year and it was so much fun to watch him and his friends compete!
This year, both kids were exceptional, but Rauly blew us out of the water (pun intended). ;-p Last year, she would swim a few strokes, doggy paddle a bit, take time to look around at the girls in the other lanes,...well you get the idea. We'd pretty much decided Swimming may not be Rauly's strong-suit. ;-) But this year, the girl became a swimming machine! Not only did her skill level improve, but her competitive spirit came out too. I'm proud to say she won 1st place in every competition for Backstroke, Butterfly and Freestyle for the U6 age bracket. Way to go, Rauly!!!
Did I mention Floridians take their swimming seriously?!?! We've got District and State champions on our team, year-round swimmers for Bolles (the school that Olympic hopefuls from our area train with), and people with real heart! The pic below is just some of the families who turned out for Championships today - it was way too hot to traipse around this facility to capture images of everyone on the other side...you get the idea - there were a ton of families involved in today's events! The tents are where we hid from the sun as much as we could for 8 hours today...did I mention it was hot?...really really hot?
There is just something about the kids on swim team...they're just good kids. Really. There have been many times on a soccer/football field or basketball court where I've been appalled by a child's behavior or poor attitude during a game. But that hasn't happened - not once - at a swim practice or event (not to say it never happens, I've just personally never seen it - and we've been doing this for 3 years now). I'm not quite sure why that is, but I think it has something to do with the time commitment...most parents are not going to sign their child up for this unless they know their child's heart is in it...otherwise, it'd be a miserable experience, and who wants a miserable summer??? The kids formed some strong bonds with several of the children, and have already said they're bummed about swim team coming to an end.
The U6 Rugrats...Nate, Courtney and Rauly
Shep and Rauly's #1 fan, Aunt Jenny! Thx for sweating all day with us - you deserve a trophy too!
Congratulations King Fish on another fantastic summer season - looking forward to seeing you all again in 2013!!!