Gotta brag a little bit here. Those of you who are out of town and not part of our daily lives probably will not be aware that this past Thursday was the final swim meet of the season, Inverness against Penbrooke. With our loss in that match, the Inverness Stingrays achieved something few teams do: a perfect season….all losses. That sounds bad, and it sounds like I’m dissing the team, but I’m not.
In reality, the reason for the across-the-board losses are two-fold. First, because Inverness had done so consistently well in several previous years, Atlanta Swim (who sponsors these things) decided for this year to “bump up” Inverness, meaning that the Inverness team is now swimming against larger subdivisions with a similarly larger talent pool of swimmers than we had been in previous years. That’s always a hard transition. Combined with that, we also just coincidentally had a number of our former-year stars aging out of the swim program (going off to college), or simply being unavailable this year due to family commitments or even moving away. This resulted in Inverness’ team being pretty lopsided this year. For example, just as a happenstance of the subdivision’s particular family makeup right now, we had an absolute GLUT of 7-8 year old girls for this year’s swim team (this is the range that Meredith swims in). It means that we have a lot of kids swimming in those races, but at the same time, we’ve got far fewer in other age-ranges, making our roster very thin for certain races.
I know that now I sound like I’m making excuses for the team – and perhaps I am to some degree – but the truth is that they do not need any excuses made for them. The entire team, many of whom were swimming for only their first year this time, did very well. Almost every race was at least close, and EVERY race was hard-fought. Also, at the nomination of OTHER TEAMS yesterday, we just found out that we were awarded the “Sportsmanship Trophy” for the entire north Fulton area. The kids’ coach, Rebecca, said that of all the years she’s been coaching and swimming herself, this is the trophy of which she’s proudest of all.
In addition to that, yesterday (Saturday) began the district finals, which are held at the very swanky olympic-competition-sized pool (in fact, these were the very pools in which the 1996 Olympic swimming and diving events were held). You should have seen the kids’ eyes get big when they saw where they’d be swimming. Oops – guess I just gave away something: I was there. Yep, even though neither of our kids was the fastest in their respective age groups this year (since they didn’t participate last year due to Meredith’s HSP and how focused on that we were), we received a specific request from coach Rebecca Friday night (after Inverness’ final match, but before yesterday’s start of district finals), inviting Jack to swim a leg of the Inverness team’s 100M freestyle relay! They had only three boys in the 6-and-under, and needed four to make a relay team, and the coach thought of Jack specifically. What a treat! They also said, since he would be there anyway, that he could elect to swim by himself in either or both of the 25M Freestyle of 25M backstroke. Jack’s still a little wobbly on his backstroke, but his freestyle has really improved over just the six weeks of swim team this year (even without formal lessons), and he decided to swim the freestyle race.
Guess what? In a ten-lane race, he WON! Now, there were a number of heats, and Jack’s time didn’t qualify him to go on to the finals, but Beth and I were SO proud of our boy for winning – 1st place! – a real ten-lane race at the district finals! Yay, Jack! My only serious disappointment is that I was so far up in the stands that I only got one picture of him swimming….and it turned out so blurry that there’s not even much point in me posting it along with this post. But that’s my problem, not Jack’s: he did a GREAT job this year – both he AND Meredith did!