Swimming with the Sharks

She tried dance. She tried gymnastics. She tried soccer. Now Olivia’s on to swimming. I’m hoping this sport sticks.

She came home from school earlier this week asking of she could join the local swim team, the Redwood City Sharks. Two of her friends have been on the team for a couple of years and were working on recruiting her. I was a little dubious. At nine, sure Olivia can swim, but I wouldn’t call her a strong swimmer. She’s had lessons, knows the basic strokes, but has very little endurance. It’s also a big commitment, consisting of practice five days a week and swimming laps for an hour. I wasn’t even sure my kid could make one length of the pool, let alone lap after lap.

But Olivia wanted to try it so I agreed. Of course the season had already started, but the fine swim team folks allowed her to join as long as she could swim 25 yards unassisted.

When we arrived at the pool, it was like she was starting her first day of school. Olivia looked around nervously and grabbed my hand in a death grip. I found the person in charge who told Olivia to grab a kick board, get in lane number 4 and start swimming. She did as she was told, and she s l o w l y kicked her way up and down the length of the pool for a couple of laps. She did it, but the real test was to see if she could do it sans kick board. As Olivia tossed aside the kick board, I held my breath and crossed my fingers while anxiously watching her from the sidelines. Stroke by stroke, my young swimmer did it! It wasn’t pretty, but she muscled her way onto the swim team. What’s more, my pleaser kid kept swimming lap after lap for an hour! Sure she ran into the wall during the back stroke and was at the back of the pack, but she didn’t give up. Not one time.

When practice ended, I wrapped the towel around Olivia’s shivering shoulders and gave her a big hug. She looked up at me with a huge grin which told me I made the right decision in letting her try yet another sport.

I hold no illusions that she’ll be swimming in the 2020 Olympics, but I’m pretty confident she’ll be a darn good swimmer by the end of the summer. Heck, she’s already over her fear of the diving board. Sure Olivia’s doing belly flops off the diving board, but she’s got a smile on her face as she comes out of the water.

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