Friday, July 25, 2014

Big Swimmer

Way before summer began, I started researching local swim teams/clubs/organizations with the thought that Kennedy might really enjoy trying out swim team for the first time this summer. Well, little did I know - swim is just as intense as every other sport available to our poor children these days. I say poor children because merciful heavens it's hard to be a kid and just play something for fun anymore - it's all gotten so off the chart crazy and sadly I don't thing the parents help the situation very much. Newsflash: your kid is probably not going to be an Olympic athlete & they likely aren't going to go pro either. Just keepin' it real folks. Add to the insanity that is children's sports, living in a super urban and super large city and you get an epic level of insanity. Seriously.

It became apparent rather quickly that our options were limited. In order to do a neighborhood swim team you have to join their "clubhouse" and on top of that fee you pay the swim team fee. In order to do an aquatic center it's the same - you pay the aquatic joining fee, a monthly fee, and a swim team fee. Really? No thanks. Our only viable and affordable option really was to swim with the YMCA which I was happy to do since we're already members. I already pay a monthly membership fee so we would only owe the swim team fee. Perfect! I researched our options within the Y and learned there was a competitive team and a recreational team. We're beginners in the swim team arena (both Kennedy and I) and so I felt excited about the recreational option. I emailed the director and was really excited about the potential of it all working out perfectly. 

Well, y'all: when she emailed me back about all the specifics of what was involved in getting her registered and on the team she specified that we would ONLY be able to register IN PERSON at their specific Y (there are oodles of branches in Charlotte) and that the Y opened on that day at 5:00 AM. I kept re-reading all her detail and was like "hmmm, wonder why she specified the Y opening time. Surely people don't arrive at 5 AM to get their kid registered for swim, right?" Because I'm familiar with the level of crazy we Mom's and Dad's can get thanks to my regular involvement in the large consignment sale circuit, I figured I'd better ensure I knew exactly what was up and emailed her back. I believe my words were something similar to this. "I need to know what level of crazy we're talking about here - are there people there when the Y opens?" Her response was quick and it was short and sweet. She stated that people would be arriving at the Y at 4:30 AM and that they'd be waiting outside when the first Y employee arrived to open the building that morning. Each person in line would be handed a number and last year the elementary recreational swim team spots were filled within 8-10 minutes. Are you freaking kidding me? There are no words. No.Words. Who are these people?!?!? True story - I was literally embarrassed to even be considering such nonsense. I will say that I was mildly comforted when she assured me that I would only need to do this one time as once we were "on the team, we'd be allowed to priority register for all consecutive seasons". When Tim got home from work I told him all about my research and then said "is this crazy...what should we do?" Well, financially this was our ONLY option and I really had heard great things about their swim program. After talking with a friend from church who was also interested in signing her daughter up, we decided to take the crazy plunge together and I set my alarm on registration morning for 3:45 so I could get there in time to get my baby girl on that blasted swim team. Kennedy, one day when you are reading this - I hope it further solidifies how much your Mommy loves you because oh my word it was brutal and crazy and I'm glad I won't have to do that again anytime soon. I would like for y'all to know, also, that when I got there - I was not the first and my friend I just mentioned who by the way was directly behind me in line claimed the LAST elementary spot. Shew! 

Now that we are done with swim team for the summer I can laugh about it all but I literally shared the process with no one except for family until now because it all just seems so absurd. Oh the things we do for our kids. I will say I was thrilled with the entire experience. Her coaches were so awesome and her skill development from the first meet to the last was insane. I mean she is a straight up confident swimmer now which is awesome since she has a little brother and sister who love the water and need not only a life jacket but Mommy at an arms length in the pool at all times. I hope swimming is always something she does because a. it's so good for you cardiovascularly b. it's a life skill c. you can get a job as a teenager as a lifeguard or a swim coach and I always thought that would be a super awesome way to spend the summer as a teenager d. I did not learn to really swim until I was an adult and it was SOOOO difficult - I don't want any of my kids going through that. I started this blog at the same time I was learning to swim/training for my first ever triathlon. Just to remind you of my horrific learning experience I stole a little excerpt from that first blog post about learning to swim: My very first swim lesson was last week at the University of Kentucky pool and lets just say I was the only "swimmer" (if I can even call myself that) who was wearing flippers and utilizing a kick board. Twelve year old little girls were swimming laps around me and I am fairly certain that the others utilizing my lane (the special shallow one for remedial students like myself) were there for fun and might have been laughing at me despite my efforts. The coach was extremely nice and supportive but I just know she was thinking "Oh my God have we got a long road with this girl". The swimming cap was squishing my brain and in turn making it extremely difficult for me to comprehend and complete her commands (that is what I am telling myself so go with me on this). I swallowedSOOOOO much water and coughed it back out that I had sore throat that lingered for 3 days. I almost emailed the coach to see if that was normal for a first timer but I decided it not in my best judgement to do so less she think I am a wimp. I swam (again....if you can call it that) for an hour and promised to be at every training session that I could - Lord knows I am going to need it.
I am so thankful this will not be something Kennedy ever experiences. 

Now for the pictures! This first group of pictures are from her first practice. She was SO excited about this adventure I just can't even tell you. She did great, but we'd regressed quite a bit since last summer and I almost jumped in several times to "save my baby" despite there being lifeguards posted on every pool corner. Sad but true. 

The first practice was basically an assessment for the coaches to see what level of skill most of the kids had. Although Kennedy could dog paddle from one end of the pool to the other, she really couldn't stick her face in the water without holding her nose and knew little to nothing about the individual strokes and associated technique/form. They practiced for a few weeks before having their first meet and I was so sad to miss her first meet but I was busy meeting a sweet little new baby of a friend in KY (more about that later). Her Daddy took her to her first meet and because he knows his wife well he took lots of pictures and even some video so I didn't feel like I totally missed out. 

According to Tim, although their first meet was super rainy - all the kids were troopers and swam through their shivering. 
They swam against the Siskey YMCA team. Kennedy swam freestyle, backstroke and freestyle relay. For memory sake, I kept all her times as they emailed them to us after each meet. Here's how she did at her first meet (5/31): 
25 M Freestyle ~ 43.11
25 M Backstroke ~ 45.97

I was really excited the following weekend that I was able to go to a meet and see how it all worked plus be there to cheer her on. 

 My sister was in town and when she came with her daughter to watch, she brought Avery along which I learned was better left un-done because she proceeded to complain and ask for snacks the remainder of her time at the meet. I will say she cheered for Kennedy though and that was pretty sweet. 
 I was really thankful for Mary-Anne since I'd missed the first meet, she was kind enough to kind of show me the ropes during this one. 
 Getting a little pre-backstroke pep talk from Coach Anna. 
 She did awesome at this meet for her backstroke - she won her heat and was thus rewarded with a Heat Winner Tattoo. =) Gigi and Grandaddy were able to see her swim at this meet too! 
 Getting ready for her freestyle relay.

 It is at this point and this picture that I'd like to kindly remind you of how she wasn't putting her face in the water when we started swim team. This is what I call progress people! 

Morrison vs. Simmons Y results (6/7):
25 M Freestyle ~ 38.42
25 M Backstroke ~ 37.69

The next few pictures are just some pictures I snapped at one of their practices but they ended up being some of the better ones I got of her swimming the entire season. I've lots of good pictures of the other kids (go figure!)

 Our next meet was against the University City Y (6/14): 
25 M Freestyle ~ 43.06
25 M Backstroke ~ 1:01.78

My sister took Kennedy to her next swim meet because I was surprising Tim with a trip to the White Water Center. She took this picture with her phone and I think it's so cute - she looks so professional. 

Lake Norman Meet (6/21): 
25 M Freestyle ~ 35.49
25 M Backstroke ~ 46.77

The Championship Meet (6/27) was between all the Y's and ended their season. 
25 M Freestyle ~ 30.22
25 M Backstroke ~ 53.19

The evening after their championship meet they had a banquet where awards were passed out and afterwards was a "pool party" complete with the whole Y pool reserved to just the team and their families. Tim and I even went down the big giant water slides! Fun times. 
Above are Kennedy's swim coaches Anna and Adri. Adri actually taught Avery's swim lessons this summer too - a blog on that to come. 
Kennedy loved swimming. Like, LOVED it. My Mom always says that she knew soccer was my thing because she saw me light up when I played and I was always wanting to practice at home and was always excited for games and practices. I've been counting on that type of reaction as a means to help me with each of my chose a focus for them (because let's be honest - I'm going to have 4 kids and they can't do it all!) Well, Kennedy has now done ballet, gymnastics, soccer and swim and her excitement for swim exceeded all I've ever seen before. We'll see...only time will tell but I'm thinking we've got a swimmer on our hands and Tim and I both really enjoyed watching her. It was an intense June with all the practices and meets, but we made it work and I'm glad we did. I'm hoping to do some lessons during the fall/winter, but we'll see how I do after the new baby arrives. If nothing else, I feel confident we'll be back out next summer on the team again. 


  1. Love the post and pictures of sweet K. I laughed out loud at this line, because I can so see me getting up with you to make this happen, "...we decided to take the crazy plunge together and I set my alarm on registration morning for 3:45 so I could get there in time to get my baby girl on that blasted swim team." And then got teary-eyed when I read the next sentence, "Kennedy, one day when you are reading this - I hope it further solidifies how much your Mommy loves you..." Love it and love you!!

  2. Listen. That is some serious dedication...I had no idea you had to get up so blasted early to stand in line to MAYBE get a number to enroll her. Yikes. And :) And I remember those triathlon training were not alone, my dear friend, in the remedial, swallowing water, trying to figure out how to put on a swim cap. And I will never forget being given those pull-buoys or whatever they were. We were like: You do what with these? You mean you SWIM with these in between your ankles?!! HAHAHA! And I have cried looking at Kennedy in these pictures. I honestly don't know how it has happened that she is swimming. I mean, like goggles, swim cap, backstroke, lane swimming. Are you sure she's old enough for this?!! It really amazes me. She looks so grown.

  3. Such a good post Lindsy! You must be so proud! Miss you friend!

  4. Just wrote a post and it got erased! boo! Anyway, I love the story of your dedication. That is serious! And I love all the pics. K is getting so big!!!