Thursday, May 31, 2012

Chloe's swimming adventures

Chloe tried out for the Ripon swim team back in March. The "tryouts" were more formality than anything, involving a simple lap across the pool to determine the kids' levels and capabilities. For the little ones who weren't quite to par, a swim camp was recommended. Chloe, who is a strong swimmer, had not been in the pool since last summer, nor had she been conditioned to swim laps, so she was naturally at a disadvantage. She did make it across the pool, but was all over the place in the process, and grew tired quickly. In the end, she was among those recommended for the swim camp, and completed it the following week with flying colors. She literally jumped for joy when, at the end of the camp, they informed her that she'd made the team, and immediately called Grandma Susie to announce the news. Susie helped coach the Saddlebrook Sea Horses for years, which is the team Neil and his siblings swam with growing up. Their pool sat within feet of their backyard, and naturally, as Susie still lives in the same house to this day, she continues to enjoy laps in that pool. Here are the cute Andersen kiddos in front of said pool in all their 1980s Sea Horse glory.

As the years passed, Jeff, Lori and Brad found passions elsewhere (gymnastics, diving and soccer - correct me if I'm wrong, sibs), but Neil kept up with swim and enjoyed it through high school. He has loved watching Chloe's passion for swimming blossom. She really does love it, as he did, and it's been a fun process watching the two of them get so excited.

So, back to TRYOUTS! {16 March 2012}
Despite the cold and wet weather, this little swimmer was ready to go!
Ryan was well-equipped for the rain.
A little stretching, a little pondering, and a lot of smiles.
Like I said, she was all over the place. But she made it!

FIRST PRACTICE {02 April 2012}
Do you like how the swim cap is on sideways? Yeah, that was my fault. I didn't know what the heck I was doing. But I quickly corrected myself. As for the ladybug, well, that's kind of a funny story. So my mom and I have this thing with ladybugs; always have. Don't really know how else to describe it. They've just always been special to us. And from the time Chloe was brand new she acquired the nickname "Chloebug." Since then, strangely, I have found that ladybugs appear, completely out of the blue, coincidentally on days when Chloe meets milestones or celebrates something special. I remember seeing one just after I'd dropped her off on her first day of kindergarten, spotted one on our front porch on her birthday (yes, in November!!!), plenty of other random times, and then, this - at her first swim practice as a Sea Lion - potentially her first of many! Funny little coincidence. Anyway, had to get a picture.
We corrected the swim cap mishap just in the nick of time...

TIME TRIALS {05 May 2012}
This was the day Neil and I discovered just what a time commitment (and wallet sucker) this whole summer swim team thing was going to be. Neil and Chloe arrived at Ripon High at 7:45am to get Chloe registered, then waited four hours and fifteen minutes before Chloe finally got to swim her first - yes, first - event: 25 backstroke. Unfortunately, the second event we'd signed her up for did not take place for another couple of hours, and we had committed to a church activity which was already a solid hour in, so we had to drop her from event #2 and split right after her first event. Thankfully she'd had enough, even though of the four and a half hours she'd spent there, she was only in the pool maybe 3 minutes.

Chatting with one of her coaches, just moments before her first ever race.
Cute little bum.

Getting ready... (she's on the far left in each above shot)
Chloe's second from the right in these shots. She started out strong and ahead, but fell behind at the end. If I remember right this event had 2 heats, and she finished in fourth or fifth place (can't remember for sure now) with a 54.23 second time. It was so fun watching her out there. She really knew what she was doing and didn't once allow nerves to get to her.

SWIM-A-THON {14 May 2012}

What's a swim season without a swim-a-thon, right? Similar to her jog-a-thon, Chloe went through a variety of emotions during the hour she was in the pool. She started out strong and determined, but about 15 laps in, had almost had it. There were giggles and smiles, there were tears, there were bathroom breaks, and there were pep talks. In the end, Chloe completed 30 laps, and I was very proud of her.

She was a real trooper! And notice, in the bottom right picture (above), that she's the only one left in the pool? Yep, typical Chloe. Not the first time this has happened. The younger group swim-a-thon was over by this point, clearly, and the older group was preparing to start, but not until little miss decided to make her way out of the pool. At practices it's the same thing. She's always the last one out. She finds any excuse possible to stay in the water as long as she can. Funny kid.

And she just looked oh-so-cute after she got out, that I had to snap these shots. Such a little lady.

FIRST SWIM MEET {26 May 2012}
Chloe had her first meet this past weekend in Tracy. Nothing like spending your first Saturday of summer vacation up and at it at 6am, right? Thankfully, we'd packed up the car the night before. We arrived in Tracy just before 7am, found a spot to camp for the day, got Chloe registered, and settled ourselves in!

Comfy in their seats (complete with umbrellas).  I love how Chloe's swim cap and goggles are smooshing down her eyes.

You can see both Neil (green shirt and hat) and Chloe in the above shots. These were taken just before her 50 free. A funny thing happened during this event. Her dive was flawless (as you can see), streamline was great, kick was strong. She just forgot one thing: to use her arms. I was standing on one side of the pool while Neil stood on the other, chuckling simultaneously at our cute daughter who really did a 50 freestyle…kick.

Here's a video of her 25 yard backstroke.  Her time was 44.66, so a 10 second improvement from time trials!  It was SO bright that I couldn't see what I was recording and I was juggling Ryan in my arms at the same time, so bear with me.  Oh, and don't mind the morons who kept walking by.

So we were at the Tracy meet for 7 solid hours. Needless to say, by the time we left, we were ready for ice cream. Thankfully, we had a Cold Stone gift card that Uncle D had sent the kids for Easter. And, conveniently enough, there was a Cold Stone within blocks of where the meet took place!

As you can see, swimming has kept us quite busy! We are loving it though. I can't even explain how satisfying it is to see Chloe out there. It seems like 5 minutes ago she was an itty bitty baby, and yet here she is now, competing for ribbons! It really is amazing how quickly time passes.
Love you, my little sea lion!


Kelly Stoddart said...

William is on the swim team too! I love watching him it is so much fun. He is already WAY better me!

Letters to My Little Ones said...

This is so awesome! My whole family is amazed that she swam 30 laps! Way to go Chloe! I love your pictures. You do such a wonderful job with your blog.