|Sarah Kate at the beginning of the 25 yd butterfly event|
As I mentioned back in this post, Sarah Kate enjoyed swim team so much this summer that we decided to try out the year round team. Coach Rich was encouraging and welcomed her to the team, so she’s been practicing for the past few weeks. She’s in the novice group and practices two days a week in a smaller (non-regulation size) pool. They’ll be working on learning/improving all four of the different strokes this year, and so far, they’ve done everything except breaststroke, with only a little bit of time dedicated to butterfly.
Yesterday was the first meet of the season – an unofficial intrasquad meet – that all swimmers were encouraged to do. Sarah Kate and I had talked to Coach Rich about which events to enter her in, and he said she should enter any of them that she wanted to try, as there was really no pressure and it would be good practice for her. So, in a moment of deluded optimism I signed her up for all four of the 10-and-under events: 25 yards each in backstroke, freestyle, butterfly, and breaststroke. We know the meet drill now, so we loaded up snacks, camp chairs, etc., and headed to the pool. Mr. Andi obtained a heat sheet and we made note of her event, heat, and lane numbers (like I said, I’m a pro at this swim meet thing now). Unfortunately, the first thing in the water wasn’t Sarah Kate, but Mr. Andi’s iPhone (DOH!) We have it in a container of rice right now, hoping for the best.
The first event was backstroke. She had the security of a lane 1 placement and didn’t have to jump in, so this should have been her best event. Once she got in the pool, however, she realized she had forgotten her goggles. Sigh. Fortunately, I had set up our camp chairs next to the pool near the end of lane 1 so I scrambled to get them to her before the start. She finished in 53.72 – about 1/2 second improvement over her previous best at the City Meet this summer. Next was freestyle. For some reason, she decided she couldn’t jump in and wanted to start in the pool. I was aggravated, but I really hate to be That Parent and be talking to her when the coach is trying to give her last minute instructions. She finished in 1:05.90 – almost three seconds slower than her previous best, which I attributed in large part to the decision to start from the water instead of jump in. So far so good.
The third event was butterfly. Just before her event, I started to wonder what in the he!! I was thinking when I decided to enter her in butterfly. I don’t have the first clue how to swim that stroke myself, and even Mr. Andi (who is a very good swimmer) rarely chooses to swim butterfly. But, confident as always, Sarah Kate dutifully lined up ready to go (this time on the side of the pool with the intent to jump in). It would be more than generous to say that she actually swam butterfly – her stroke was more like some bizarre combination of the crawl, breaststroke, and butterfly that one of the moms dubbed “her own individual medley” – and I just prayed that she could make it to the end of the lane. Make it she did, however, and with a time of 1:22.75. It wasn’t speedy, pretty, or remotely close to a regulation swim, but it was faster than her first attempts at freestyle and backstroke at the beginning of the summer, so we’ll take it.
The final event was breaststroke (remember, the novice group hasn’t practiced breast at all). I wasn’t entirely certain that Sarah Kate knew what breaststroke was, although I have seen it her do it unintentionally from time to time. When she wasn’t trying to breathe, she actually looked pretty good. Each time she would come up for a breath, though, she would do a little dog-paddle thing until she put her head back down. Her time was 1:05.25 – much faster than the butterfly and a hair faster than even the freestyle.
It was a good day.