All three kids were on a summer swim team. It's a fun atmosphere that's competitive, but not as competitive as year-round swim team. Ryne and Grace especially flourish on this team. Grace's big accomplishment of the season was qualifying for the conference meet in three strokes: butterfly (her favorite), backstroke, and freestyle. It was her first time to swim at the conference meet and she was one swimmer shy of making it to the finals in butterfly.
Summer swim team is great for kids like Ryne who love to swim, but aren't going to be the next Michael Phelps. Ryne had a great season, performing his first flip turns in a meet and finally learning how to dive. The proper diving technique mostly happened at practice -- meets looked more like this.
Anna did summer swim too, but mostly just to hang out with her friends at the meets. She was plenty busy however with two other activities: long course swim season with her year-round team and summer track with a club team. Anna's been a little discouraged with swim team this year, because she can't seem to break into the top group of swimmers. We're told her technique is excellent; she just needs to be patient and wait for her body to develop more and become stronger. I think she's tired of waiting. Her spring track season went very well, and she started wondering if she might be better off concentrating on track. She decided to give club track a try for the summer, intending to choose between the two sports at the end of the summer. It was a very rough transition as we tried to figure out how the whole club track scene operates. She also had two foot injuries to deal with. But by the end of the season things started getting better and she qualified to compete at the U.S. Track and Field Junior Olympics in the 800 meter run, and she was later added to the 4 x 800 relay.
We headed to Wichita, Kansas for the meet, joining athletes from all over the country. The level of competition was incredible. We saw 10 year-olds with college level times. We knew going in that we were there for the experience this year, and Anna was okay with that. It was neat just to be there.
Looking at the picture of the stadium, it doesn't look like there are many people there. This was the day of Anna's relay, before many of the athletes had arrived, but the bigger reason for lack of people in the stands was this.
Um, it was a little hot outside. The official temperature for the day of Anna's relay event was 111 degrees. I never heard the official temperature from the day of her individual event, but it felt just as hot. The nice thing was that they had misting stations everywhere and they hosed down the runners as they made their way around the track. Any guesses which member of our family had to be treated by medical personnel? That would be me. I was surviving the heat about as well as anyone until I stood in line with Anna to buy her a meet t-shirt. They were ironing on the decals there at the booth and the fumes and heat caused me to get very light-headed. We got to the front of the line and ordered her shirt, but then the guy started making small talk and everything started spinning for me. I had to shove my wallet at Anna and run to a wall to lean against. The medical volunteers rushed over and started misting me with water. I was fine a few minutes later, but very embarrassed.
So where are the pictures of our track star? Remember, she's thirteen. She is not going to let me post pictures of her dripping in sweat. I figured I could at least get a shot of her mentally preparing for her race.
Maybe not. I'll say it again: she's thirteen.
To escape the heat most people stayed under the bleachers until it was time for their event. This team next to us really knew how to relax.
After two days at the track meet, we quickly headed back home because Anna had a swim meet the next morning! Although she only went to about half the swim practices she normally would in a summer and didn't go to many meets (so she could focus on track), she managed to qualify for our area's Division 1 meet. In the past she's always missed qualifying for this meet by the smallest of margins, so she really wanted to go. Overall, she did okay. Dropped a couple of seconds in one event, stayed about the same in a couple of others. Not bad considering how much she'd been through already. She did get to be part of a freestyle relay that broke a team record, so that was fun.
It was a busy summer, that's for sure. And Anna isn't any closer to making a decision between swim and track, so we'll continue to juggle both for a little longer. The nice thing about both sports is that we can decide how much we want to do without negatively impacting the team like a soccer or baseball player would.
Of course summer is not over yet, so you'd think we'd be relaxing. That was the plan, but it's funny how things rarely work out as planned. I started this week by making a 12 hour road trip with three kids and a hundred pound dog. I'll let you know in my next post where I am and what I'm doing. And if I'm in a good mood I'll share some unbelievable pictures with you!