Regional swimming qualifier once again!

swimming competition

I have mentioned once or twice here on the blog about Teen’s swimming achievements.

How he became a National Swimmer and was a member of the England Talent Squad.

That was when he was 13 though.

At 14 he was forced to quit due to an elbow injury causing him a lot of pain. He took up running then rugby, both of which he excelled in but due to two broken wrists in one year of playing rugby (he never does anything by halves) I pulled him off the team. I didn’t want to see something worse happen to him. Running fell by the wayside and last year he had a bit of a sporting break, to concentrate on his GCSE’s but decided to go back to his beloved swimming when they finished last Summer.

He joined a different club. Smaller than his previous one and a club which allowed him to practically come and go as he pleased. He wasn’t planning to make any sort of come back, he just wanted to swim again for fun, fitness and to maybe do the odd competition.

A few months after going back, the club were doing a league gala and they asked him to take part. This is where the kids compete against other clubs, as a team. He’s done many of these in the past and they ARE lots of fun.. so he agreed. But when the day of the gala came around he wasn’t so sure. He said he didn’t feel ‘fit’ enough.

I believe he was worried about not living up to expectations.

Not that anyone expected anything at all. His club knew he hardly trained these days so they were in no way expecting him to pull out an Olympic qualifying time! They just wanted him to be part of the gala for his own enjoyment, but also because they needed him. They didn’t have many swimmers in his age group. He would be swimming in the ‘open’ age group category for the first time, because he was 16 now. This would be tough.

Of course, he didn’t want to let the team down, so off we went to the Gala.

It felt strange in a way for ME, because when he gave up swimming, I didn’t expect him to go back. I hoped he would. He did miss it. I missed it. But as time passed, I didn’t for one minute expect to be taking him to a competition again. It felt surreal to be poolside… the hot, bustling, manic atmosphere of a league event. It was like I’d never been away! It felt almost… comforting in a weird way.

Teen was down to do the relays of course but the main event for him was the 100m Breaststroke. This was HIS race. But he was nervous. Excited, but worried too.

Teen stepped up on the blocks and looked around at his competitors. So did I. They looked huge. Like MEN. Like proper adult swimmers! Here was Teen, although tall, just a BOY in this category. I was worried. I didn’t care what the outcome was in the race, but I had my fingers crossed that he didn’t finish last. That would really knock Teen’s confidence.

But then something unbelievable happened.

Teen dived in and swam brilliantly. We needn’t have worried because he won – by miles! It was almost funny the way he looked around in disbelief that he was the only one at the finish!

Everyone from our club was going crazy and one Mum turned around to me and summed it up with her comment…. “He’s still got it!”

Yes!

Yes he has!

Bless him! How on earth did he just do that? I guess it’s just the skill of the stroke… something that’s always going to be with him now.

He pulled out a great time too… considering he hardly trains. It really was a special moment and I was so pleased for him!

It was the spark that reignited his passion.

Since that night (last October) Teen has astounded everyone by managing to not only compete at Counties, but to qualify for the Regional Championships next month in TWO races! Because even though his love for the sport has returned…. he still only trains now and then which makes it even more incredible. Imagine what he could achieve if he DID train fully?!

I’m ever so proud of him. He still only wants to swim for ‘fun’ and doesn’t want to put any pressure on himself, but it’s amazing that he’s managed to achieve these two qualifying times and it’s reignited his passion for the sport.

It reminded him how much he still loves it and proved to him that he’s actually still very good at it!

(The photo above is from a recent gala, not the one I mention in this post!)

Another Rugby Season, Another Broken Wrist

broken wrist rugbyTeen’s X-Ray pictures from last Sunday

Poor Teen.

He loves rugby.

But this season I didn’t want him to go back to the team he plays for because he spent 8 weeks of last year in a cast, due to an injury he picked up playing the game. A broken wrist.

Teen doesn’t do things by halves. And anyway, rugby isn’t a game you CAN play halfheartedly, but even so, there are some players that won’t go that extra mile. Or they stand by and watch others do all the hard work.

Teen is that player that will do all the hard work.

He’ll do whatever it takes to stop the other team scoring a try. No one is getting past him if he can help it, no matter what. And if he has the ball? Well he will run full pelt into anyone that’s in his way!

Rugby is a brutal game. But that’s exactly what Teen loves about it.

rugby

Unfortunately, rugby doesn’t seem to agree with Teen. On Sunday he broke his wrist for a second time.

The same wrist.

Exactly the same time in the season as last year.

To say I was angry/upset/devastated would be an understatement. I wanted to scream and shout at everyone… all the coaches, the organisers, the other team…..

How could they let this happen to my boy again?

I blamed myself actually, for allowing him to go back this season. I knew it was the wrong thing to do, I know Teen. And I know of other kids that have had injuries; broken legs, broken shoulders, pulled ligaments etc… there’s always more than one injured player out of the team at any one time. It’s ridiculous… why would any sane parent allow this?

I was nervous every single week. It felt like I was feeding him to the lions or something. I can’t explain, but I didn’t like watching at all. It was exciting when he was running with the ball, he’s fast, but apart from that.. I was happier when the ball was elsewhere on the pitch!

Of course, no one is to blame. I just felt incredibly sorry for Teen, who knew instantly it was broken. I took him to the hospital, where it was confirmed.

broken wrist rugby

It was here that Teen became upset. Where it hit him. Well, it was the moment we had parked the car and he realised he still had his studs on, he had to change back into his trainers but couldn’t. He was in agony… so I did it for him. I felt like crying, sobbing in fact, but held it together and choked back the tears.

It was a fleeting moment though because as soon as we were inside, Teen was back to his jovial, silly self. Cracking jokes. He’s never down for long, bless him.

The nurse put on a temporary cast.

The following day, we had an appointment at the fracture clinic, where we were shown the X-Rays and filled in on the full extent of the injury.

Teen had broke the bone in his wrist quite severely. But not only that, the knobbly bone that sit’s on the outside of the wrist had become dislodged and was floating around up in his hand.

We were told this would need some manipulation to reattach it.

Oh dear.

When the temporary cast came off, it was evident that Teen was in excruciating pain, even without anyone going near the wrist.

But luckily, in rolled the old gas and air chamber, which both scared and relieved Teen. At least he was being given something for the pain. He had to breath it in for a good twenty minutes, whilst the doctor turned it up every now and again! He wasn’t taking any chances, definitely making sure it worked!

gas and air

I don’t think even I had as much gas and air during child birth! Teen was practically laughing his head off by the time the doctor said he was ready to do it! Myself and the nurses did have a bit of a giggle with him at this stage… He was high as a kite!

Two nurses, one male and the doctor himself then set to work on Teen. It took a while, and even though Teen was flinching, he coped very well.

It’s now in a fresh new cast that has to stay on for four weeks minimum. Let’s hope it doesn’t take as long as last year to heal.

Teen is ok in himself. Obviously gutted to be in a cast again, it drove him crazy last year. He’s been in a fair bit of pain but most of all he’s disappointed to be out of rugby again.

His coach and a few others said that it was one of the best tackles they’d ever seen! No consolation to me but Teen was happy about this.  The boy that Teen brought down was actually stretchered off, so I hope he was ok.

Again, a reminder of how very dangerous rugby is.

The doctor said Teen will be back playing rugby in no time…..

Hmmm…. Not if I’ve got anything to do with it!

National Swimmer

National Swimmer

Carrying on with my new series of linking up on Monday’s with #WhatsTheStory over at PodCastDove, whereby we choose a photo that’s special to us to write about. I have made the decision to dig out old photo’s to share, so I can have a merry old trip down memory lane. A bit of a reminisce. I missed the last two weeks because of various busy reasons but I’m back this week with this photo!

I absolutely love this photo. It’s incredibly special to me.

That’s my son, Teen with his swimming coach. This photo was taken over two years ago now when Teen was 13.

And this moment was a moment that Teen had wanted for a long time.

It was the day he was presented with his Gold Swimming Hat! Doesn’t sound very exciting I know… but it meant everything. It was recognition of a tremendous amount of hard work and training that Teen had put in over the previous year. It was the highest accolade for any child swimmer. A symbol of a very special achievement.

Teen had achieved his National Swimming time.

This meant he qualified to compete at the British Swimming Championships that summer (2012) in Sheffield. The qualifying times are notoriously fast and very few kids achieve them. At this time, my son was the youngest in his club to be awarded a gold hat! To him, it was the be all and end all.

I was beyond proud.

His coach, pictured here with him, is former Olympic Champion swimmer Sharon Davis’ Dad. He taught at Teen’s club for years and it was his belief in my son that helped him realise his dream. They had a good relationship and I’ll always be grateful for the faith he had.

For a while it looked as though Teen wouldn’t qualify. We knew it was possible as he had been so close for months, but each time he raced he couldn’t quite get there. He would miss the time by hundredths of a second sometimes, or even add on time, and it was just so painful and disappointing.

But then it happened. He smashed the qualifying time (100m breaststroke) by over a second –  and the surge of emotion I felt…. I can’t put into words, but it was the best feeling ever.

Of course I cried.

The National Championships themselves were fantastic. Teen reached the finals, coming seventh overall.. which was truly amazing considering there were swimmers from all over the UK and Ireland too, plus the elite ones from swimming colleges! The enormity of the event was almost overwhelming and my young son coped with a level of maturity that could only be admired.

Unfortunately, Teen had some injury issues not long after the Nationals and he had to step away from his beloved sport for a while. Then his coach retired, which was difficult for Teen and a new coach joined who he didn’t click with. His injury took longer than anticipated to heal, always niggling and things just didn’t feel the same. So, reluctantly we made the decision to stop for the time being. It was sad for all of us, especially me.

Teen’s swimming was a huge part of my life.

It was always me that took him training. My choice. OH would stay home with the three younger children. Always me that shared those very special moments of triumph with him, and it was me who was there to pick up the pieces when things went wrong. I encouraged and supported him every single step (or stroke!) of the way.

I could never have envisaged that when, as a small boy, I used to take him along once a week to learn to swim, it would end up becoming what it did.

If I had told my then self I would be taking my son to swim training seven+ times a week for 2 hour training sessions… I would’ve laughed in my face! But when you have a child who loves his/her sport and they progress up the ranks and become better and better; when they begin to show a real talent for it… Well, you just go with it. You have to. You lose track as you become deeper involved, spending a fortune on training and galas and kit, as you start travelling further afield for the more important meets. But the joy and happiness it brings makes it all worthwhile.

My son and I had the best times together during his swimming years. We laughed so much, we cried…. it strengthened our bond. I used to love those long early morning car journeys to meets when we would just talk and talk. I miss that.

Teen has gained so much from his swimming. I would do it all again in a heartbeat because it gave him an enormous amount of self confidence. It made him physically so strong and fit. He learned to be disciplined, focused and committed. It taught him that through hard work and sheer determination you can achieve the top level of success that he was able to enjoy – something that no one can ever take away from him. An accomplishment that future employers won’t fail to notice on his CV either later in life!.

To compete at National level in any sport takes a massive amount of sacrifice and commitment.. not many people can say they’ve done that.

Right now, Teen has taken up rugby, which he loves. Swimming is such an individual sport so it’s been great for him to get involved in a team sport, and he is really enjoying the comradeship that rugby brings. He still swims at the local leisure centre where he uses the gym and loves to show off his super fast swimming, but the urge to swim competitively has waded a little, especially with his GCSE’s coming up, he couldn’t commit to that level of training again.

But that competitive edge is always with him and who knows what the future may bring. I know he (and I) will always love his swimming!

 

 photo 4d06e438-4e6a-4f3b-88b2-0c1093350397_zps361ad0e9.jpg

Sports Day Tantrums

The Junior school only. In teams by country!

The Junior school only. In teams by country – Spain, Italy, Brazil and Germany!

Today we had my Girls’ sports day.

She has never liked sports day and this year was no exception. She had been telling me for days that she didn’t want to do it and could she have the day off instead!!

She’s not sporty at all, the complete opposite of Teen who excelled on sports day, so this required a totally different approach from me in terms of how I deal with it. My usual tactic is to not mention it really, or try to reassure her that it’s supposed to be fun so it doesn’t matter if she wins/loses or whatever!

My Girl doesn’t like running, or RUSHING in any way, shape or form. She’s so laid back she’s almost horizontal and if I’m not behind her constantly, telling her to hurry up I don’t think we’d ever get out of the house of a morning! Drives me nuts!

But she is a very talented little gymnast which she trains for four times a week, and she enjoys swimming and climbing so she’s not lazy, but she just doesn’t have a competitive bone in her body and sports day just doesn’t float her boat at all.

And that’s fine by me. In fact I think it’s cute, I love her quirky little ways and her very rigid likes and dislikes!

The morning started off well, it was sunny at least which was a bonus. It meant I actually didn’t mind being there instead of wishing the whole thing would hurry up and finish because I was freezing my t**s off! When the children came out onto the field my girl looked unusually happy, all smiling and jolly, so I was confident she was going to be OK.

The children were divided into groups and each group travelled around the apparatus or events in sequence! First up for her group were the hurdles, if you can call them that, they’re just very low little fences to jump over! My girl WON her heat which was fantastic, I couldn’t believe it! She got a ‘1st’ sticker and things were looking good.

Next up was the ‘dribbling’ event where each child had to dribble a football around some ‘cones’.

It all went downhill from here!

sport day

She was doing fine at the dribbling I thought, but because she kicked the ball slightly wide she was devastated! This second pic shows her coming towards me…. I knew she wasn’t hpapy, she was ready to burst into tears!

To be honest this was unexpected because none of the kids did well at this at this game, some even kicked the ball miles away from the cones…. but for some reason my girl was completely devastated and refused to join in with anything else. She cried and cried.

Loudly.

I mean, talk about OTT!! I couldn’t actually believe she was this upset.

At first I tried to comfort her and say all the right things, telling her that she was great, she won the first race so she must be doing something right! She replied by saying that the other girls in that race were rubbish and one dropped out (true) so it didn’t mean anything. She was being very hard on herself, really putting herself down and feeling very sorry for herself bless her! It seemed that this one little thing had happened and the whole world was crumbling around her! Maybe it was just a ticking time bome waiting to off at the very first opportunity! It was horrible though and I felt useless for not being able to console her, even if it was utterly ridiculous!!

Of course, by doing this she created more of a stir and drew more attention to herself than she would have had she just got on with her sports. I tried everything to get her to join in again. The events continued, her teacher kept coming over trying to coax her back, but she was having none of it.

After while I started to lose patience. I feel a bit bad about this but it was going on far too long now and was beginning to grind on my nerves. My girl was taking things way too far. I started to use some gentle threats along the lines of, “if you don’t join in then you’re not doing X” –  It didn’t work.

I felt it was borderline naughty and spoilt. She was becoming angry and demanded I take her home which annoyed me and was actually out of character for her. She was pulling at me, almost causing a scene….. I told her I wasn’t allowed to just take her home and if she didn’t go and re-join her group (she didn’t have to join in the sports if she didn’t want to) I was going to leave.

What was the point in me being there if she wasn’t doing anything? I hadn’t wasted my morning to stand there and watch everyone else’s blummin kids!!

In the end I marched her up to the table where Head Mistress and other teachers were… (Head Teacher of the Juniors is very lovely and fun by the way), this was my ploy to kick start her to going back to her group. I knew Head Mistress would get what I was doing and go along with it.

I told her that my girl didn’t want to do sports day, I was leaving and could I leave her there. Of course she had a little word in my girls ear, I could see my girl was a bit embarrassed and Head Mistress encouraged her to continue.

Which she did.

The rest of the day went really well. She had lots of fun and even won a few events!

The rest of the day went really well. She had lots of fun and even won a few events!

My girl is nearly 9 now. Maybe she’s at that age where she’s becoming more self concious, I don’t know.  I’ve noticed she’s behaving like this occasionally now, for whatever reason, so I’m putting it down to her age…. I can’t work out what else it might be. Sometimes though, it doesn’t matter what you say or how you say it, kids just feel how they feel. You can’t rationalise their behaviour at times and that’s it. Sometimes it’s best just to leave well alone until they’re good and ready to be normal again lol.

At least she enjoyed her day in the end and so did I. I was able to socialise with the other Mums whilst watching my daughter doing her bit. I’m sure she forgot about her little outburst within minutes of rejoining her group, something that kids are very good at!

All’s well that end well!

sports day stickers

She had quite a nice collection of winners stickers too in the end!! :)

Speedo Sea Squad – Event and Giveaway

I’m a firm believer in kids learning to swim. They must. It’s a life skill and of course it could ultimately save their life one day. If you can only afford one activity for your child then make it swimming.

Swimming is also fantastic for fitness, so in this era of fast food, obesity and kids spending more and more time sitting indoors on their various gadgets and tech, it’s possibly one of the most important things you could ever do for your child.

My Teen had lessons from the age of three. He loved it. There were times when he didn’t want to get in the water and we considered giving up but we persevered and ten years later he swam at the British Nationals!!! Although that’s a whole other story!

My Girl had been having lessons for a while which she was enjoying immensely, but they have had to stop for the time being because when she moved up a stage they clashed with gymnastics. She misses it and wants to start her lessons up again soon. It is difficult sometimes to keep up with all the activities that our kids want to do, in terms of both time and financially but maybe once the winter is over I’ll look into taking her back to swimming again.

So when we received an invitation to attend the ‘Learn to Swim with Speedo’ event we jumped at the opportunity.

We were promised that our little ones could join and be part of the Speedo Sea Squad for a magical swimming experience.

speedo invite1

Apart from being excited about going to this event, we also love travelling into Central London, which isn’t far from us, and we always enjoy jumping on the trains and tubes! It was being held in a pool at Imperial University, in the very swanky Kensington, which meant we could make a day of it!

The Speedo Swim Squad is a fantastic program created to get your babies and small children confident in the water. You MUST head over to the Speedo Sea Squad website as it is jam packed with fun, exciting activities for you to look through and try out yourself at your local pool. It’s colourful, child friendly and also has a special section for your little ones to play games.

Rebecca Adlington is there to talk you through the three different stages -

  1. Start Splashing
  2. Start Swimming
  3. Get Confident

There are up to 11 exercises in each stage for you to try so without even paying for lessons you could teach your child the basics yourself… or at the very least, have a lot of fun!

I have to say how very impressive this program is. It also gives you general water safety tips and suggestions of equipment you may need and can buy from their online store.

So back to the event, the pool at Imperial was all kitted out with floats, swimming aids and lots of swim teachers ready and waiting to give our children some one to one swim coaching!

swimming  lessons speedo

The pool – love the inflatables

Steve Parry at the Speedo event

My girl was raring to go but my little twins were slightly apprehensive, but rocking their Sea Squad armbands and mini kick boards look.
Meeting and chatting to ex Olympian Steve Parry was a highlight!

My Girl had an intensive swimming session which she loved, not many kids have the opportunity to have such attention to detail given and she benefited hugely from it. Her coach had her swimming much further than she ever has done before without stopping. She even did some diving to the bottom to collect the sea squad dive sticks! It’s safe to say she was pretty shattered afterwards but full of enthusiasm.

One on one coaching proved very informative and my girl came away with improved skills

One on one coaching proved very informative and my girl came away with improved skills

imperial university pool

My boys finally got in, with me when the pool was quieter. Both loved their Speedo Swim Squad goggles…. their first pair!

It’s always nice to get the twins in the water because, as with everything else they do, they’re always wary and nervous until they feel comfortable. I’ve recently started taking them myself to a local pool and they are beginning to enjoy swimming. I’d love them to have lessons as I believe it will help with their confidence but they aren’t ready just yet!

We stayed for a while in and around the pool and chatted to some of the lovely organisers before being invited for lunch. This gave me a chance to catch up with the other bloggers, one of which was the gorgeous Alice from An Essex Wife. It’s always nice to have a mingle, all the kids from the event had a lot of fun and played together – deciding who was going to take home one of the many, huge foil fish or sea creature balloons.

Having a bit of fun with the Speedo Sea Squad Photo Board!!

Having a bit of fun with the Speedo Sea Squad Photo Board!!

As if we hadn’t already had a super afternoon, a goodie bag was given to each of my children. This was no ordinary goodie bag, it had everything a child could need to go swimming; a rucksack, goggles, swimsuits, armbands, mini kick boards, toys and drawstring bag!

speedo kids swim aids

Packed goodie bags and fab goggles, very generous

The Speedo Learn to Swim event was fantastic and their initiative to get kids swimming is truly inspirational, the Speedo Sea Squad is something that all children can get involved in and I highly recommend checking out the Speedo Learn to Swim section on their website with your little ones to get them motivated!

If you fancy being in with a chance to win a goodie bag similar to the ones my kids were given on the day, just enter in to my fab giveaway below.

Best of Luck!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday is Caption Day

This little photo was taken at the weekly swimming lessons my daughter has. You know the ones, sat watching (well trying to) your child learn to swim week after week in meltingly hot conditions – not noticing much improvement in swim ability but you keep going anyway – whilst trying to keep the younger kids entertained; even bringing electronic devises but these don’t work as your smaller children just complain about the heat and boredom and start stripping off. You resort in the end to leaving the pool altogether and going to sit in the cafe because a) you can’t breathe and need to cool down  b) you can’t stand the whinging from your two 3 yr olds any longer c) their clambering all over you, fighting over who gets to sit on your lap, making you all even hotter and sweatier pushes you over the edge!!!!

Oh right….that could be just us then?!!!!!

Anyway this was taken after one of these torture swimming sessions after my daughter  had got dry…. my twins love climbing in and out of the lockers….

Can you caption this?

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Linking this up at the wonderful Mammasaurus Blog
Mammasaurus - Saturday is Caption Day!

Proud Mummy Moments #1

My teen came home from school today and announced he had broken the all time school record for the 100m sprint race! Wahoo!!! So proud, so proud!!

I knew he was pretty fast at running. He’s recently been picked for the athletics team at school – something he’s over the moon about as it’s giving him a chance to really focus on a sport he has begun to fall in love with.

But it’s not his first love. His first love is Swimming. [Read more…]

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