Well, last year we had Run Finn Run. This summer we experienced Swim Caden Swim.
One weekend, we were just hanging out at the pool when another parent at the pool and a pretty young lifeguard (turns out she’s the swim coach) starts talking to Caden about how good a swimmer he is, encouraging him to join the swim team and telling him how much they need another 10-year-old boy swimmer.
He was flattered to say the least.
He seemed semi-interested so we said we’d come to the next practice and see how it went.
The thing is, this was half way through the season so there were only 3 swim meets left then the city finals. The rest of the kids knew all the strokes, turns, breathing, etc. and had been practicing for two months. When Caden swims he (like most of us I think) just jumps in and does his own thing. So he had to learn the proper way to dive, all 4 strokes, how to do a flip turn, correct breathing, etc. and he was going to need to learn these fast.
So we went to the first practice (on a Monday) and of course he liked it and wanted to continue.
His first swim meet was two days later!
He was SO nervous at that first meet he just sat there away from the team wrapped up in his towel not speaking to anyone. Very un-Caden like. He told me under his breath I am never doing this again. But he swam 6 events that night and by the end of the meet was MUCH more comfortable and confident.
By end of summer he was a fish, swimming several times a day and with an amazing tan to boot.
Each meet his times and strokes and confidence improved — at his second meet he was an entire minute faster on one of his strokes than the week before!
He competed in the two-day city meet, and I even volunteered to be a time keeper, which was pretty fun in a close-to-the-action you’re-gonna-get-splashed kinda way. City meet was HUGE and chaotic but a lot of fun.
The whole thing was good for him in several ways that he won’t admit but that I, mom, can see.
One, he was trying something new and it was good for him to experience relying on someone more experienced to teach him. Every day when I took him to practice I coached him be teachable. He sometimes acts like he knows it all (what kid doesn’t right?) and there’s nothing anyone can teach him about anything. And it’s important to take that down a notch (or two or three) and acknowledge that these swim coaches who’ve been doing this a long time might actually know something you don’t. So it was good for him to practice being teachable.
Two, this was a sport that none of us had ever done before, and Caden was leading the way. As the younger brother and the youngest of his cousins, he falls in other people’s shadows a lot, for no other reason than just he’s the youngest. They’ve all played all the sports and kinda paved the way so to speak. So this was new for all of us! It was nice that he got to be the first in the family to be a competitive swimmer!
I really hope he’ll continue this next summer with the whole summer to practice and improve. He really showed potential and had SO much fun. His coaches were so great at teaching and encouraging him it was a positive experience all around — especially since it was one we didn’t seek out but that just kinda fell in our lap.