The girls both had fantastic swim seasons this year. Brynn finished 3rd overall in the 8 & unders at City, Callie finished 1st in the 6 & unders. They both finished 3rd overall in their age groups at State. They worked hard at practice and made good friends and, most importantly, had fun.
Brynn's freestyle and backstroke are both so beautiful I sometimes start to cry when I watch her. I know that is ridiculous, but I can't get over her. She is amazing. Efficient, graceful, fast. She is not super competitive which is something we tried to instill in her this year but eventually we decided it will come when it comes.
Callie's strokes are a lot more rough around the edges, but that girl has fire. Not that it should surprise anyone who knows her, but, after trying to encourage competitiveness in Brynn, it was a new experience to hear Callie say, "I want to WIN. I want to BEAT THAT GIRL." Whoa. Just not what we're used to.
Summer swimming ended about a month ago and now the girls are starting back up with a fall swim camp at a local high school. The camp is run by a coach whom I've admired for his attention to detail with each swimmer and his affinity for telling it like it is. He seems to say what he thinks.
Yesterday at the beginning of Callie's session, she was overwhelmed. The little kids swim at the same time as the high school kids and when coach called them all down to the pool, there were about forty 16-year olds...and Callie. And one other little boy. Callie cowered until coach yelled, "Little kids, over here!" She perked up and hopped in the water and did great. She is a very good listener and with hard work, will be an excellent swimmer.
About an hour later it was Brynn's turn. She started out with the group who needed the most work on their strokes. Coach came over and asked me where she was and I pointed. "She's the one in the tie-dye cap and pink goggles." He walked over to her lane and asked, "What's your name?"
"Brynn," she replied meekly.
"You swim for Rockrimmon?"
She whispered, "Yes."
"You're supposed to be over here." And he moved her to a different lane.
Because she is not assertive, she put herself last in her lane. She's the new girl and assumed that was her place. And she was swiftly kicked in the face by the kid in front of her during the first drill.
Coach came back. "You, from Rockrimmon. What did you place at City?"
"Why are you going last? You're too fast to go last. Your going to get hurt. You swim first with Jessica."
And so, two-by-two, Jessica and Brynn swam 25s next to each other. And every time they'd get to the end, Jessica (who finished 2nd at City in Brynn's age group) would tell Brynn, "You finished after me."
And Brynn would look at her like she was nuts. And then she'd swim her graceful, ballerina freestyle next to Jessica who was clearly working her rear end off to beat Brynn, and Jessica would finish just ahead of her again.
After practice last night, I told Brynn what I saw. One swimmer who was working on her strokes and one who was working on beating her partner.
And then I asked her, "Next time you swim against Jessica in a race, who is going to win?"
And she smiled. And with all the sincerity and determination she has in her, she said, "I am."
That is the story of how a fall swim camp, which is supposed to improve a kid's strokes, might also create a competitor.