We’ve been going to swim meets every June for about eight years now. Our three children are all involved in the summer swim team that runs through all of May and June. It has been an excellent program for our kids and has given them something to do during the summer and helps keep them in shape.
Time Well Spent
As a parent who grew up without an opportunity to participate on a swim team (we didn’t even have a pool in the rural community that I grew up in) the swim meets can get long. I have learned over the years to enjoy them as I’ve learned more about swimming technique and have gotten to know more of the kids on the swim team and families from our community. But each meet lasts an average of three hours and I might get to see my kids swim a total of 10 minutes combined. That’s a pretty significant time investment for minimal return.
So there is a lot of time to just observe and get dizzy from the fumes of over-chlorinated pools. Occasionally, I’ll spend some of the time reading a book or talking with others there but it’s becoming more interesting to watch races that my kids are not participating in, especially if it’s a close one against a rival opponent.
The age range of the kids is from five to 19 so you see all kinds with varying degrees of skill and experience. Many times the younger ones will jump in instead of dive in because they aren’t confident enough yet. The coaches and helpers generally have the kids organized well enough to keep the relay teams in order and all the kids swimming the right strokes.
During the course of a race sometimes kids get tired and start to slow down or even stop kicking and just use their arms. Coaches yell out from the side of the pool “Keep Kicking!” Teammates yell from the ends of the pool, “Go! Go!” Then you’ll see the kid stop, tread water for a couple seconds and swim on. Obviously as they get older and get more practice and more training this isn’t an issue. The issue then is taking their focus off the goal. As the competition continues the swimmers like to know where they are compared to their competitors so they’ll look around to try to gauge how much effort they need to catch up to the next swimmer. This drives me nuts and I always tell my kids, “Don’t worry about where the other swimmers are at, just swim hard.” I feel like time is lost by looking around and besides, the point is to try to beat your personal record, not worry about the other swimmers beating theirs.
Off the Starting Block
But there are some life lessons here when you think about it. Sometimes you feel like as you are going along in life you aren’t getting anywhere that quickly but you have got to keep kicking and stay focused on your goals. Maybe you’re swimming along in a pool with no one around to cheer you on. Well, “Keep Kicking! Go! Go! You will get there!”
It all starts though with diving in. You can’t begin to accomplish a goal with out getting off the starting block to get started. And once you start, it may go better than you thought.
What are you working through right now that you need a boost to get through? Keep kicking and be confident you can get through it.