Number 4 left for the Eastern Zone Swimming Championships (Zones) last Wednesday.
If you missed the post last week, this was the first goal in a series of goals she had set for herself last year. And for the last six months, she worked her butt off, never losing sight of her goals.
The first goal was to be the fastest swimmer in her age group in the state in one of her events.
The second goal was to make it to Zones.
The third goal was to finish in the Top 10 at Zones and make it up onto the podium.
Two weeks ago, at a different swim meet called Age Group Championships (basically like state championships for younger swimmers), Number 4 officially qualified for Zones.
But she just missed out on that first goal of being the fastest swimmer in the state in one of her events by .08 seconds.
It was a great race.
So she just missed goal #1.
But goal #2 was crossed off the list.
That left goal #3.
She spent the last two weeks barely able to contain herself.
MOM. I’M GOING TO ZONES IN SEVEN DAYS.
MOM! I CAN’T BELIEVE I’M ACTUALLY GOING TO ZONES.
MOM!!! IT’S ONLY THREE DAYS UNTIL ZONES!
MOM!!! I’M GOING TO ZONES TOMORROW!
MOM!!!!!!! I CAN’T BELIEVE I’M GOING TO ZONES IN 40 MINUTES!!!!!
She was literally squealing for ten straight days, with the decibel level increasing with each passing hour.
Last Wednesday the day finally arrived, and Number 4 boarded the bus and hit the road with the Connecticut team.
She was SO HAPPY and SO EXCITED.
Seeing her get on that bus was one of my most fulfilling parenting moments to date. For real.
My husband and I headed up to the meet on Thursday night.
She had two events on Friday and one on Saturday.
I didn’t think I was going to be nervous. I wanted her to swim well and be able to check off that third goal, but getting to the meet was the big accomplishment, and I really just wanted her to soak in and enjoy the whole experience.
I was okay until about five minutes before her first race.
And then I started sweating.
She was having so much fun at the meet. I knew she’d be okay however she swam in her races.
But when your ten-year-old kid works her butt off and does it all on her own, when all the motivation is internal, when she’s focused and disciplined and has gotten up every Saturday morning at 6:15 a.m. for the last five months to go to her sixth practice of the week because she knows that’s what it’s going to take to achieve her goals, well, you want things to go her way.
Her biggest chance to get into the Top 10 was on Saturday. Her last event. It was her strongest one.
So my goal for her on Friday was to have at least one good swim so that she’d go into Saturday feeling positive and confident. That’s all.
Her first race was the 100 IM (one length of each stroke).
She went into the meet seeded 10th. She had a chance to squeeze into the Top 10 if she swam well.
She was happy going up to the blocks. She didn’t look nervous. She looked like she was having fun.
But she had even more fun when she touched the wall with a best time and finished in eighth place overall.
She made it onto the podium in her first race. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!!!
She was ecstatic.
I was ecstatic, too. And relieved. It didn’t matter what happened now.
She had done it.
In her second event on Friday, she swam well, but she finished 14th. It wasn’t a surprise. She finished about where we expected she would.
She was going into her last event the next day feeling happy and confident.
I was nervous for this one. She already had a medal and had gotten onto the podium, but this was her best event, she was seeded seventh going into it, and I was just really hoping things were going to go her way.
She came up about a body length behind everyone on the start. (Note to self, fix Number 4’s damn backstroke start).
So she had quite a bit of ground to make up.
Just as she had done two weeks earlier, she made up for lost time with every length she swam. I was alternating between watching her and covering my eyes, peeking through the cracks in my fingers.
She had a great finish, and she ended up….
in sixth place!
She had done it again!
But there was more.
She did a best time.
Not by a lot, but by a couple tenths.
She dropped her time from a 1:07.67 to a 1:07.45.
And that new time? The 1:07.45?
It’s the number one time in the state for her age group.
Goal Number 1. CHECK.
She did it.
She did it all, checked every goal off of the list, and I am so, so, so, so, SO proud of her.
Dream, believe, achieve.
Sometimes you inspire your kids.
But other times?
Other times, they inspire you.