Monday, March 18, 2013

Being a Swim Parent

     This past weekend was the YMCA Area Championship Swim Meet for my daughter's swim team.  A swimmer must swim a qualifying time at their Districts Swim meet in order to participate in this swim meet.  My daughter's 200 freestyle relay team qualified, so this was her first year swimming at the area championships.

     This is the part where I get to say, Soccer Moms have NOTHING on swim moms.  The things we do for the love of our children.  This was our road to watching our daughter swim for 32 seconds at an area championship.

     Three years of practices and swim meets.  This includes Y membership fees, swim team fees and meet fees.  Each year our daughter has participated in at least eight meets each of the three years.  Half of these are out of town meets and require hotel stays.

     Meets usually are two days long.  You can spend up to 20 hours in one weekend at a pool to see your child swim a total of about 3 minutes, unless they swim distance and then it could be about 6 minutes total.

     A swimmer must compete in and swim an area time at the district swim meet to qualify for the area championship meet.  Our district meet is held  in a town that is 2 hours away.  It's a two day meet and requires a two night stay in a hotel because it is necessary to be at the pool before 7:00 a.m. the first day.

     A swimmer can either swim two individual events and two relays, three individual events and one relay or just three individual events.  This year our daughter swam two relays and two individual events.  One of her relays qualified for the area championship.

     So, this past Friday we all got in the car after work and school and headed out of town for the third time in two months.  This time instead of driving a couple hours we had to drive 4.5 hours north.  We got to our hotel around 10:30 on Friday night.

     In order to make sure we had a spot in the crash area (the place where all the swimmers and parents sit and wait for their turn in the pool) we had to be at the pool no later than 6:30 a.m.  The crash area can get insane.  You have hundreds, sometimes thousands (as in our district meet) of people all in one space.  Everyone is vying for a spot with their fold up chairs, blankets and paraphernalia, and of course you sit with your team.

     Not only did our daughter only qualify for one event, it's also an event that is always towards the end.  In this case, it was the second to last event of the day.  Her relay team hit the pool deck around 12:30 p.m.  Yes, that is six hours of waiting to watch her swim the second leg of a four person relay.  Her split was 32 seconds.

     We did spend part of the time cheering on her teammates.  So we got to enjoy the camaraderie of the team, because a swim team is NOT just the swimmers.  As parents of swimmers we spend an enormous amount of time together, so we are part of the team, too, as are the siblings who are not swimmers.

     It has been an exciting ride this year and I'm having a hard time believing that this weekend was the last meet of the swim year.  YMCA swim years last from September to March as far as meets go.  Practice will continue through May.  We still have a couple bonding events left, but the meets are over until fall.

      During this year she has discovered her love for swimming distance.  She is planning on working on her 500 freestyle next year with the hopes of maybe making it to area championships in that next year.  She will be in high school next year and be swimming for her high school team too, so hopefully that will give her a little more helpful experience.

      With three years of YMCA swim under our belts, we are already looking forward to next year with the craziness of home meets, the weekends out of town and the insanity of crash areas.  It's all worth in when we see our daughter's brilliant glowing smile as she prepares to jump from the starting block.

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