The Boy® had his very first outdoor swim meet this past weekend. It was held at the Richfield Outdoor Municipal pool and other than the chaos of navigating the Crosstown construction of 35W and Highway 62, not a bad setup. Severe lack of bleacher setup and horrific sight lines for parents, so I didn't take much in the way of any photos. It was neat to be outside, but we all agreed that we prefer indoor meets when all said and done.
The meet was the A/B/C Finals sanctioned by Minnesota Swimming, Inc. and USA Swimming, Inc. As stressed to the Boy® it is an honor just to qualify for finals so any thing of top of that, be it a new personal record or even placement in top 8 of his class would be nothing more than icing on the proverbial cake.
To qualify, a person must have swam a time below the standard for each class for long-course (50-meter) pool. The Boy® had qualified in the 50- & 100-meter freestyle and 50-meter backstroke in the C category.
Saturday morning he had two events. The 50-meter freestyle and 50-meter backstroke. Results as follows:
50-meter Freestyle (9-10 yo Boys)
37.99 - A Time
43.59 - B Time
50.59 - C Time
Current PR - 45.22
Meet Result - 45.57 (12th out of 16 in C)
We had gone in thinking the B time was within reach. So we (the Boy® & I) were slightly disappointed in not even bettering his PR. But we discussed how this was the first time in an outdoor pool. And the Boy® also stated he didn't relish getting up at 5:50 AM on a Saturday morning and just wasn't in a good place physically or mentally when it came time for his heat.
50-meter Backstroke (9-10 yo Boys)
00:46.19 - A Time
00:53.09 - B Time
01:01.59 - C Time
Old PR - 01:00.21
Meet Result (new PR) - 57.61 (10th out of 15 in C)
I'm not a screamer. In fact all morning I had to put up with the shrill cry of several mothers behind me yelling out for their child. I figured, what the hell, if they are going to scream...so I am. So I positioned myself on the pool deck nearest lane 7 where the the Boy® would be swimming. He had an awesome start. We've been working on that. I ask him to imagine his starts in his mind and then actually do them as he pictures them. This was a pretty push back with underwater dolphin kick and he came up positioned quite well.
By the time he reached me at about the 35-meter mark his little bottom was starting to sink. So I started screaming. I mean, really screaming. You can always tell when you child can hear you, can't you? Because they immediately react. Up came his bottom and he started kicking hard. We had hoped to break one minute and he did. Job well done.
Sunday was just one event. So the early alarm came again but we knew we'd be done early with the rest of the day in front of us so I think mentally he was in a better spot.
100-meter Freestyle (9-10 yo Boys)
01:24.69 - A Time
01:37.29 - B Time
01:52.89 - C Time
Current PR - 01:45.07
Meet Result - 01:45.22 (unknown overall; but 6th out of 8 in his heat)
We talked about seeing how close we could get to B qualifying time. I broke this race into 50-meter segments for him, explaining that if he swam a 50 at 49 seconds followed by a 50 at 48 seconds he would swim 1:37. Simple as that. Not go out too fast. Not go out too slow. Two consistent laps. Easy in theory, hard in practice as we all know.
He has a good start but came up and immediately knew he was in trouble. When he is pushing himself too hard, the Boy® has horrible hand entry, simply slaps the water. It was the case here. He had a 47-sec split at the turn and just could not sustain his pace using improper technique. It was frustrating for me as we've been working on this. Still waiting for the light-bulb to go off, and it will. He has the enthusiasm and the energy to be a good mid-level swimmer. He just needs to slow down, listen (and hear!) his coaches and get his form in order.
Hopefully I don't sound like a helicopter parent. I just want to get inside his head and understand what makes this kid tick. Like I told him today when he was having a post-race sulk, it is how one responds to adversity and disappointment that defines who you are. So we had a teachable moment that all parents have countless times with their children. You can only hope that ten percent of it sticks.