Tuesday, July 21, 2015

10 Things I Learned from Actually Doing a Swim Practice

From Memorial Day until late July of every year, my family is consumed with summer swim team, also known as the Water Cult. For the past couple of years, the swim coaches have offered a "Masters Swim" for parents, many of whom are former swimmers themselves. The emails have been inviting us parents to join in for years. I have always deleted them.

This year, however, I have succumbed to the positive peer pressure of my friends, who are participating because they care about "fitness" and "health". I feel that my presence has downgraded the entire experience for everyone and that the practices should now be referred to as "Masters" with intentionally sarcastic air quotes. I mean, the only skills I've mastered are the world's slowest backstroke and how to be consistently ten minutes late to practice.

But it's been a fascinating learning experience that has made me appreciate what my kids go through every day and also how truly great the sport is. So here are 10 things I learned from actually doing a swim team practice:

10. Swimming is so good for your body and health, except for the part about it creating ravenous, insatiable hunger that lasts all day.

9. Getting out of bed at the crack of dawn for swim practice feels freaking horrible, but actually being in the water at that time of day feels amazing.

8. Swimming is always, always better when there are friends in your lane.

7. Forgetting your fins/goggles/kickboard is really not that a big deal, especially if you got out on the opposite end of the pool from where you got in.*

*Learned the hard way after a very exhausting swim, so I will no longer get mad at my kids about this. You're welcome, children.

6. I can swim 50 meter backstroke with no problem, provided you clock me with an egg-timer rather than a stop-watch.

5. Butterfly is for specials and I am a regular.

4. For 25 meters this morning, I truly believed breathing was optional.

3. There is a spot in my lane where I swear there's a current and it feels like I'm kicking as hard as any person can and yet, I'm going nowhere. And of course, the only way through that spot (where mysterious aquatic forces are working against me) is to just keep kicking as hard as I can.*

*We shall call this "Dorrie's Law" and we shall just keep swimming.  

2. I will never again hear the words "ladder" or "pyramid" without involuntarily twitching and smelling phantom chlorine.

1. You can give 100% during a heat* and either feel really slow or really fast depending on who happens to be in the lanes on either side of you. So maybe just feel good about the fact that you did your best and didn't actually throw up. Because they close the pool for that.

*Giving 100% means you feel like you might puke after.

(c) Mommyland Blogs 2013-2015

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  1. I was on the swim team my freshman year of high school and would eat as much as 2 full grown men. It blew my moms mind. I also remember one day, we had all done something that made our coach really mad. We did our normal warm up, then were told to get in the pool and swim for the entire practice. We were only allowed to get out to use the bathroom, or puke (which a couple of people did) and then we had to get right back in. The entire practice, there was no break. We made sure to never piss off our coach like that ever again.

  2. Yes they do close the pool for vomit! Good for you for getting out there! I learned how to lap swim about a year and a half ago and did my first open water swim in an aqua-bike competition last weekend (like a triathlon, only no running just swimming in a lake then biking). Super fun!

  3. I grew up swimming in the 'Summer Cult' and it was hard but fun. I don't think I could do it again, haha.

  4. Just finished our conference prelims this morning! Dad usually takes the boy to practice so this was my first 6 AM call to duty. Dad needs more praise for doing that for the last 2 months.

  5. Swimming is the best. I competed and swam year round (I live in Florida) from the age of 5-18. I only wish they had masters teams that are close by and at a normal time for working people, 1 p.m. practice M-F.. um what? Is it gross that I've never had a pool be closed due to vomit? We would just keep swimming, maybe hop over to a different lane.

  6. This made my laugh out loud. I work at a pool, and have done so in various capacities for the last ten years. Water cult is the most apt description of the Masters program ever. Or the swim team. Or the rabid every-day-at-noon lane swimmers.

  7. I think it's really cool that you jumped in to try a sport your kids do. You're a great role model!

  8. If you can't dust for vomit, you certainly have to close the pool for it.

  9. I'm annoyed by how many times I tell my kids not to pee in the pool... They Still Pee In The Pool!!! And then they laugh




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