Lessons from the pool

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Lesson for the week:  swim hard, swim fast and leave it all in the pool.  Success is measured one baby-step at a time. You don’t have to beat anyone else to win…you just have to do better then you did last time.  Celebrate the small things. 

This weeks ‘lesson’ came from my son.  He’s 12.  He is a competitive swimmer.  This week was a qualifying meet.  The swimmers had to meet or beat a state time in their events to move onto the state meet in 2 weeks.  Colton won 2 state medals this summer (at his first ever State meet–pardon me will I take a minute to re-live those incredible moments).  This is is first year as a year round swimmer.  I’ve learned that year round is vastly different from summer rec swimming. Think Atlanta Braves (year round) and summer bat leagues (rec).  Keep that in mind.

Colton swims 3 times a week.  Most of the time he swims more then 2 miles.  On Tuesday/Thursday he does an hour of land training (weights and running) BEFORE he gets in the pool.  Really.  The amount of stamina that little, bitty body has amazes me.  

For this meet Colton was 3 seconds off a STATE time in 1 event and about 7 seconds off in another.  We are talking seconds here.  It took me longer to write this sentence then it the difference in a state qualifier touching the wall and Colton touching the wall.  

I am not going to prolong the agony.  He didn’t qualify for state.

His race is next.  He steps up the blocks.  Black jammers with red trim.  Red cap.  Black goggles.  He looks good, he looks like a pro.  The race before him is still in progress.  Ref whistles twice.  They step up to the blocks.  Race before him ends.  Swimmer still in the water.  Colton looks across the pool to where his coach stands.  He nods in understanding of the gestures his coach makes (glad he knows what the heck that was all about).  Whistle.  Colton leans down and grasp the block in the starting position.  At this point it is apparent that Colton is the smallest swimmer out there.  One boy who turned 12 the night before is easily 2 feet taller then he is.  Whistle shrills again and my little fellow uses every muscle in his body to propel himself into the water.  The race has begun.

At this point I become a ‘love out loud mother’ and am rooting him on with every ounce of energy I have.  4 laps. Anything is possible, right? 

I would love to give a blow-by-blow of the race but I’ve already gone on too long. 

Suffice it to say when Colton touches the wall I look to the board to see his time.  He didn’t make the cut.  I tear up.  For a moment my heart breaks.  I am sad.

Colton comes into the stands to hug me (yes,he hugs me). He is not disappointed.  In fact, he says, “I took a second off my time.  Did you see?”

Wow.  A lesson.  Truth is that all his ha work hard work has paid off.  He took seconds of his time–in swimming that is HUGE.  He did better then the race before.  He saw progress.  He was proud of himself.  A state qualifying time would have been great but at the end of the day he won…even if he didn’t make the state cut.

I am going to try and remember that this week.  Any step forward is a victory.  Celebrate the small things.  Don’t miss the small accomplishments because you are blinded by the bigger prize.

Next time he may take a second more off his time.  Guess what?  If he does that he qualifies.  But that doesn’t really matter.  Colton took 3rd, 5th, 10th, 10th and another place that I just can’t remember.  For a brief moment I was disappointed (I WAS–ha–I am not the one doing all the work) that we didn’t have a 1st.  But you know what?  Every place he won this meet was higher then the last meet.  Victory.

Thanks Colton.  I am proud of you.

Swim hard. Swim fast and leave it all in the pool…that is what I tell him before every race.  This week I am going to try and take my own advice.

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