Sunday, December 5, 2010

Life’s Wonderful Surprises

This one’s for all you coaches and parents out there…an early Christmas present of sorts. Those darned kids, what are you going to do with them.

In the swimming world in the United States, December marks the “unofficial” end of the short course season. We say “unofficial” because while US Swimming wants us to focus on long course training and racing from January through August the reality tells a different story. Many regions in the country have high school seasons that are winter or spring. College swimming is a winter sport with their championships in March so there is a ton of short course swimming in that arena still to come. But, most teams look for a meet or two in December to “peak” for, something to validate all the training that has gone on since late August/early September.

And that is what we live for; the racing. Training is fun and stimulating and all that malarkey but racing is where it’s at! This weekend provided us with two classic examples of why our sport is so fulfilling…a couple of nice gems if you will.

The first took place here in Northern California at the local Junior Olympic meet. Our (North Bay Aquatics) 13-14 boys had two 200 yard medley relays entered. As race time neared we were missing one backstroker. It was five minutes to start time and still no backstroker. So we made an adjustment. We took the “B” team backstroker and put him on the “A” relay. The remaining three guys from the “B” team became the cheerleading group for the “A” team. The 13 year old handled his leg well – we were around 6th in the final heat - against many bigger 14 year olds. Our breaststroker put us almost to 4th; our flyer swam lights out and gave the freestyler the lead which he never relinquished. Those guys finished 1st when ten minutes before race time a bit of chaos was developing. Talk about a turn around. And while the three who missed a chance to race were no doubt disappointed all seven were pretty darned pumped!

The second took place at a big college invitational in Texas where one of our club swimmers was racing as a member of her college swim team. (Notice as coaches how possessive we are; what are you going to do with us?) This young lady has been chasing a sub 2 minute 200 fly for two years. Not anymore. This was her text last night, “1:59.7 – 27, 30.8, 30.4, 30.9 – no death, 14 kicks under last lap.” We texted back our congratulations and her final comment was the “a ha” moment every coach lives for, “Thanks, I’m happy but I know there’s a lot more I can do. It’s a good feeling!” Priceless in our estimation.

So, for all you parents and coaches out there, keep doing what you are doing for those youngsters in your sphere of influence. You will be rewarded – that much in life is certain!

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