The girl with gills

This past Saturday was Emily's first swim meet of the summer season.  When we got out of the car that morning for 8am warm ups the thermostat on my car said 65 degrees.  Emily has zero body fat and I knew she was going to freeze that morning.  She never said a word about it except that she was glad the water felt warm.

Emily competed in 2 relays and five individual events (25m back, fly, breast, and free).  Because there were only three other girls in the younger division from her team there she was moved up to a 10 and under girls relay.  The girls placed 4th and 2nd in their relays.  Emily place in 4 of her five individual even cutting time off of three of her strokes.  There were four older girls in the afternoon that competed.

Out of ten teams that competed and even though there were only 8 girls for Garden City's team we placed 4th overall.  It was a great day and we are so proud of our girls.

Emily has swim practice 5 days a week starting at 7am.  It takes a lot of commitment to get up early everyday during your summer to swim.  Emily loves it.  She kids Bret and I because she beats us to the kitchen and is usually waiting on us to leave.  She packs her own bag, gets herself ready, and eats breakfast in time to leave.  I am so very proud of her.

Every time I watch Emily swim in a competition my heart goes to my throat and tears well in my eyes.  I am so nervous and proud and excited all at the same time.  It is fun to watch and cheer her on.

A few weeks before the season started we took her to a swim clinic in little old Hays Kansas.  We had no idea what to expect and joked that it was probably taught by guys who were in the Olympics some time in the 80's.  Instead the guy on the right was a multiple gold medalist in the 2008 Olympics and competed against some of the big names you might know.  Both guys told amazing stories that were truly inspiring.  They worked with the kids in the water for almost three hours.  They raced each other and the kids.  It was a really great time.  Emily was talking about the clinic and their stories a few days later.  She took so much away from it and I think her attitude this summer was greatly influenced too.

As a parent the thing I love about swimming is that it is really good for her.  At the Olympic trials coming up at the end of the month, swimming is one of the few events where the competitors ages range from 16-37.  There are 80 year olds that can still swim me under.  Swimming is good for you heart, lungs, joints, and doesn't hurt your body the way some sports do.  It is also a great personal sport.  One of the key teachings is to worry about your lane only.  Regardless of whether you win/lose/place the most important part is that you do your personal best.  For the first several meets Emily had no idea what her time even was.  She was solely focused on not getting disqualified for doing the strokes wrong.  When someone would ask her how she did she would smile and say "I didn't get DQ'd!" 

Now she responds by telling them if she cut or added time.  She could take last place but if she cut her own personal best time that is the goal.  It is such a fun year to be swimming.  With the summer Olympics right around the corner all of the swimming kids are cheering for their favorites and anxiously waiting to watch world and US records to be broken.  A whole new world of sports has been opened to us and we are enjoying every moment.

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