The otherwise pristine oak floors of our home are covered in wet footprints every afternoon and the goldfish crumbs ground into the car seats now become mush from soaked clothes and wet shoes. The back porch is covered in wet towels which go against the neighborhood covenant but it seems there is no other choice as I try to stay afloat this swim team season.
We began swim team practice about 2 weeks ago and by “we” I mean my 2 eldest; ages 10 and 7, me “the hapless chauffeur” and the youngest 2 of our brood; ages 5 and 2 who often play in the shallow end of the pool while intermittently resurfacing to plop their soaking bodies onto my lap and munch on fruit and chips.
I admit, I already have had some days where I look myself in the mirror and wonder why on earth I signed up for this. Practice is an hour long, every single day in either the humid temperatures of Georgia or the rain showers; which are no deterrent to swim practice. Weekends now mean we have timed trials with daddy as their faithful coach.
I start to regret it until I show up and watch them work with a determination I hadn’t otherwise seen and I can’t help but be proud of their perseverance and their drive to succeed. Their arms extend further, their breathing more controlled, their feet moving in rhythmic fashion as I see their bodies drift through the water faster and faster with each practice. I find YouTube videos on the computer, with the words “good swimmer” and “swim techniques” etc as the search phrases they have entered. I see them wanting to make use of every opportunity to do laps, trying to beat their last time.
Here are the top 5 reasons I have come to love swim team:
1) They make new friends. I remember the first day my daughter looked at me and said, “mom how do I make friends with them? I don’t know them”. Fast forward a couple weeks and she goes bouncing into the pool arena saying hi to her new found friends.
2) It gives them independence. It’s easy for me, a non-swimmer to get very apprehensive when I’m around water, especially when there is a deep end that I would dare not enter. Watching completely from the sidelines as they swim into the deep end allows them the necessary freedom to grow and get stronger.
3) It’s grueling but only for a short time. Swim season lasts approximately 8 weeks so by the time everyone is truly tired of it, its over.
4) They are learning an invaluable life skill. Even if they don’t become the next great Olympic swimmer, I know they will develop their skills in the water and this is an important life skill.
5) They learn how to be on a team. Listening to their coaches, volunteers, life guards and other adults are extremely important for them to learn; as is the camaraderie and support for fellow team mates.
I’m glad I was coerced into letting them join swim team this year and look forward to watching them as they adopt the lifelong attitude that no matter what happens; even when you feel exhausted, you “just keep swimming”…
Cleaning the wet floors and dealing with the extra laundry might just be worth it after all.