Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Clare the Swimmer

Four years ago, Tim and I would have chuckled if someone predicted that Clare would one day swim on a swim team and absolutely love it. Four years ago, you would have found her sitting on the side of the pool at the YMCA, refusing to participate in the swimming lesson and crying if anyone made her get in. Fortunately, a lot can happen in four years.

Last night we were the proud observers of Clare swimming in her first swim meet. She has attended daily swim practice for the past several weeks, but this was the first meet we were able to attend that Mother Nature didn't wreck. Swim practice itself has been such a joy - Clare has eagerly looked forward to it each morning, and I have found it a peaceful way to begin my day, with Danny usually reading a book or playing with his lightsaber, Laura chilling in her carseat, and me sipping my coffee while I watch the swimmers.

The meet was much more exciting, and even a bit stressful for we rookies. But it was all worth it! I am admittedly a bit surprised, but very, very proud to say that Clare swam four events and placed first in three of them (the fourth was a relay)!

Her first event was a 50 meter freestyle, which she won by a solid 1/3 length of the pool, as you can see from the picture. When Tim congratulated her after the first race, she was surprised to learn that she'd won. She was even more surprised when he told her that not only did she beat the girl in the next lane, but in fact all the girls.

Her second event was the backstroke leg of the medley relay, which she was leading until the very end when she slowed to get her bearings. She used this experience later, for her last event, the 25 meter backstroke. I had noticed that morning at practice that her backstroke looked swift, straight and strong, a significant improvement over just a couple of weeks ago. That winning touch proved it, too!

She was pretty nervous for her third event, the 25 meter backstroke. Typical of Clare, she was nervous not because of the competitive pressure but because of the looming threat of disqualification due to an illegal touch. Just that morning she had been one of many swimmers to get pulled out of the pool and forced to do pushups because she had only done a one-handed touch. Fortunately she managed to keep it legal as well as fast!

Not surprisingly, she was flying high last night. She was so excited to swim in the meet at all. I really don't think she had even thought as far ahead as placing, let alone winning any races. The best kind of attitude, and one that I think speaks volumes about her character. Way to go, sweetie!

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