The 8yo loves to swim, and since last September has been taking two classes a week (at his request), having moved up to a more advanced pre-swim team class at the YMCA (Junior Fins).
He had never shown a real interest in a sport before. He tried soccer and wasn’t keen. He didn’t grow up with baseball, so had no in-built desire to play. This coupled with the fact that he hadn’t played T-ball from the age of four, left us unwilling to push it.
But, he loved to swim. So, we focused on that, and encouraged him.
When asked if he was playing soccer or baseball or ice hockey, we always said: he isn’t, but he swims.
When he started swimming twice a week it was in part because he wanted to tryout for the swim team at our local YMCA. He wanted to swim more often, build stamina and to better his technique. The Fins class was excellent for that, as it was structured in a far more rigorous way than his previous swim classes. Warm up involved swimming 200m of freestyle, within the first few minutes!
I was able to watch the first and last five minutes of his classes and by February I was, frankly, amazed at his technique. Watching him master his rhythmic breathing for the front crawl, the dolphin kick for butterfly and start to do flip turns and racing dives: very proud mummy! His swimming technique is now better than mine has ever been, and he can swim much further than I can.
We knew swim team tryouts for the Spring/Summer season would take place in April and I was relieved to discover that we would get back from our trip to the UK, just in time…
So, having got back to the US on the Tuesday night, Thursday evening saw him tryout.
He had to swim a timed lap of freestyle, back stroke, breast stroke and butterfly, do a flip turn and a dive.
Then we had to wait and see.
We had explained to him that he might not make the team, but that we were incredibly proud of him for trying-out, and that trying-out in itself would be a great experience for him.
At eight, he’s still on the young side (although the team is from 6-18 years) and we knew that they didn’t have many openings on the team (the Y had been very clear on that fact).
He understood all that, but wanted to give it a go.
Friday was a long day! The first thing he asked when I picked him up from school was whether we had heard anything yet.
We had to wait until 4pm.
I will admit that I may have done a little dance when the email saying ‘Congratulations…’ arrived :)
He was thrilled.
We were thrilled for him.
He now swims for an hour, with the Sophomore group, three times a week (we’re still working on the logistics of that one!). The team has Freshman, Sophomore, Junior and Senior groups, based on ability rather than age, so we were doubly pleased to find him in the Sophomore group. We’ll just have to wait and see how he gets on!
I feel that I have often done him a disservice when it comes to sport. I know I have described him as ‘not very sporty’ in the past. Always in a protective way, but still.
Seeing him now, not even nine yet, swimming further and faster than I ever will; I couldn’t be more proud of him.
Nomination Form Here