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Jumping into the Deep End

Big Girl is on a local swim team. She loves it. Last year, when she was six, she was not what I would call great. Or even good. She never won a single meet. Didn’t even come close, really. But she stuck with it, and we were proud. Most important: She enjoyed herself.

This year, at seven, she seems to have improved dramatically. Maybe it’s maturity. Maybe it’s the swim lessons we got her. Whatever it is, she’s finally fast. Her backstroke is really strong. Her freestyle is pretty good, too. We were excited to see how she’d do this week as swim team practices started.

The first day I picked her up I expected to see a smiling face. Instead, I saw a subdued one. She loved the practice, but, explained my 7-year-old, she didn’t get to swim with all her friends. They were eight already so they swam with the bigger kids in the second lane. She was with the little kids in the first lane.

“They had me using the kickboard,” she said. Having her on swim team affects my whole day. I have to drive her there and bring her to camp late, which cuts into my work schedule, but I do it. Wanting to see what was going on, I walked over to the coach and asked them what they thought of her skills. (I wasn’t going to let her go if she wasn’t going to swim with the team.) The coach said she improved dramatically as we thought. She said she was definitely on the team.

The following day my Big Girl was glowing when I picked her up. “I got to move to the second lane with my friends! I’m so excited,” she said. Me, I was second-guessing myself. Did they move her because I asked questions? Was she really ready to swim with the older kids? Would it have been better for her to compete against younger kids, especially since she probably would have won? I really don’t know.

So here I sit stifling the urge to get involved. I swear, I am not going to do it. I’m just not. I am going to let this swim thing evolve naturally. If, at the first meet, she gets clobbered, she will have to learn to work harder, and maybe they will decide to move her to a less challenging heat. If she does well she will have the satisfaction that she earned her place without help from Mommy and Daddy. Still, I hate wondering if, by my asking questions, I changed the course of her course. I guess we’ll find out next Tuesday, the day of the first meet. Wish us luck!

2 Responses to “Jumping into the Deep End”

  1. Jennifer says:

    I found that beating my own times was always the biggest motivation. Sure, having a rival or two (whether on the same team or different teams) helped get my competitive juices going, but it’s not the important thing in swimming, if you ask me. Sure, you may finish last, but if you shave 5 seconds off of your time, that’s amazing!

  2. susan delg says:

    At almost every practice J’s swim team uses kick boards. It helps to develop their legs. And moving up a lane during practice IS a big deal, that’s great! Big girl should be very proud.

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