Friday, 18 November 2011

The Beginning of our Swimming Journey

All my children love to swim, They love to jump and spin and summersault. Dive and do hand-stands and play tips (tag). There is a real feeling of freedom in the water, a youthful exuberance seen even in the dads piggy-packing their kids in the water.When on holidays in Sydney this spring, my kids played and swam in the water, even though it was still sooo cold. The locals looked at them like they were completely bonkers!

My children have had lessons since they were babies. We had our lessons through the Kings swimming schools. For beginning swimmers, I have found this program exceptionally good. There are 12 levels, all with specific skills that need to be performed correctly to move to the next level. There is an emphasis on safety and correct technique, right from the very beginning. There was one particular teacher, a late middle-aged lady (who had quite old-school teaching methods) that seemed to see some potential in Flash, even as a 3 year-old. She would work flash hard! I can still ‘hear’ her shouting flash’s name so loudly, the entire pool full of people could hear. She was a remarkable teacher, and I credit her with Flash’s swimming style today. She told me then, that she had seen a lot of young swimmers in her time, and to make sure I was available for the 2020 Olympics!!

 The girls in their early days of swimming

Flash worked her way up to level 9 in the Kings program. Then, early this year, Flash had her first school swimming carnival. She won her 50m freestyle event and also broke the school record. I had no idea that she could swim like that. At her Kings lessons, she had about 10m to swim in. I’d never seen her swim 50m before and I was in shock. Flash then went on to win the zone school 50m freestyle and came 4th in the state carnival.

Flash really enjoyed the swimming racing, unfortunately our Kings swim school did not allow their swimmers to race in the local meets until after graduation. We moved Flash to another pool and she was soon selected to join the swim squad, and then the development squad.

Now along with Speedy she is a top ranked swimmer for her age in the ACT. Flash loves to race. She also loves to train. Her squad trains 3 times a week, but she is busting to train more. She trains with older kids and they seem to have taken her under their wing. I often see them dragging her around the pool by her foot, all of them in peals of laughter!..... after her last training session she asked if she could have a phone like the big kids…”not until you can pay for one young lady!!” was my hasty reply! Because she is the youngest in her squad, she has to swim as fast as she can just to keep up with the big kids. Some days she is absolutely exhausted (especially butterfly weeks) but she loves it!!

Our one frustration with swimming is that, because of her age, she can’t compete in the ‘main’ meets, only the ‘development ‘ meets. Main meets start at 10yrs. Although Flash makes some of the qualifying times, it doesn’t seem fair to race against kids 2 years older than her. It would feel that I am pushing her too hard and setting her up for failure. Also the championship races are only 50m. Flash seems to excel at the longer distances. I hope she does not tire of swimming before she gets a chance to really race.

 Flash, ready to race in the green cap

Early next year she will need to choose weather to do the major swimming carnivals, or the major athletics carnivals. Unfortunately they are on the same days. This is a tough choice for a girl who likes both swimming and athletics! I plan to keep this blog updated with her swimming journey, which has only just begun!

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