Saturday, August 18, 2012

End of Summer Swimming

After a long weekend in the great state of Virginia - I am happy to be home, with about 3 weeks off from swim practice. Not 3 weeks of entirely - because of course, we get home on a Saturday night, and Tennis practice starts Monday morning .... but the Tennis coach is not such an early morning person as the swim coach - I can deal with 7:45 a.m. start times ! Leenah had an outstanding year this year in swimming. 2 weeks before the Junior Olympics she aged up. If you are not familiar with swim terms, that means she jumped from swimming against 11/12 yo's to swimming against 13/14 yo's. She had already made most of the qualifying times for the older age group, so she still had lots of events to excel at during the Junior Olympics - and excel she did. She brought home some very fast times, as well as some medals, but the one event that stood out was a swim off in the 100 Breast Stroke.
Breast Stroke is NOT Leenah's best stroke. Freestyle mid-distance is. She's pretty good at longer distances as well. Not too bad in sprints. Second best event would have to be the Fly. I love watching her swim the Fly. Next would be Breaststroke, but only because her Backstroke is simply horrible (hmmmm, and her head coach went to Olympic Trials for Backstroke, I'm sure he's not real please with her)
Anyway - at the Junior Olympics - the top 16 (sometimes out of 120+ girls) go to finals in the evenings. I am very proud to report that Leenah made it back for finals every night, in nearly every event she swam ! But, for that 100 Breaststroke, she was TIED for 16th. When they measure down to the hundredth of a second, you don't see many ties ! Anyway, unless one of them dropped out, this requires a swim off - meaning you have to swim it again - and the winner of the swim off - just you and that other person, gets to come back to finals and swim it yet again.
Anyway - the swim off was held after the first session of the day. Right after she swam the 400 Free (which she also made finals in). The other girl had swam the 400 Free as well - so to be fair, they were both pretty tired before they hit the blocks. The father of one of our older swimmers had timed the entire meet - and told Leenah he was there for her. His son had just finished his swim when the 2 girls were lining up on the blocks, and said under his breath "Don't let a Wahoo beat you". The Wahoo's are a somewhat local competition team, and there was a story behind "Don't let a Wahoo beat you" that I got later. Anyway - to may a long story a bit shorter, Leenah dropped another 3 seconds from her Prelim swim to beat the other girl (she had already dropped 2 seconds from her seed time, so the swim off time was about a 5 second drop - amazing when you are only talking 2 laps of the pool !) Her winning time was also a Zone cut for 13/14 yo's - so I was able to add one more event to ones she had already qualified for. Zones was the meet held in Virginia - the best of the best. Lots of spirit, lots of charged up swimmers, great meet.
Anyway - she made me proud all weekend. Even at Zones - when she didn't swim up to her best standards - we received a text from her head coach who was preparing 2 of her teammates for Nationals - that it was completely understandable not to have her best times. She dropped major time at both Princeton and Penn State. She aged up. She had been working hard, had 3 meets in a row, and was probably exhausted. It perked her up, made her feel better about herself - and now we'll be ready for another great short course season ! Just give me a few weeks off first ...

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