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!

 

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Comments

  1. I love watching people swim and I am sure you must love you son swimming to such a high standard and with confidence. A lot of people don’t realise the amount of time parents spend taking their children to extra activities outside of school hours. Hat’s off to you for helping your son with all his interests.

  2. Swimming is a great skill and sport to have, and I have recently got back onto it along with my two girls and my OH, I had forgotten how much fun it is!

  3. This is such a lovely post and how lucky for you to have found something to have enjoyed with him and spent those important times together. Even if things have changed I imagine that has set strong foundations for you both.

  4. What a lovely post, you must be so proud. Swimming does become a way of life, my hubby played Water Polo at an International lever so I am more than accustomed to smelling of Chlorine whilst I waited. Unfortunately my son hasn’t followed in his footsteps and instead prefers Squash which is at least warm whilst i watch. Well done to your son xxx

  5. What an experience and great achievement at such a young age, no wonder you are proud. I spend a ridiculous amount of time ferrying my daughters to dance classes/ drama/ and competitions…it’s been fun but I must admit after doing it for 13 years I am starting to feel a little burnt out ;) I hope the rugby fills the void that stopping the swimming must have left for your son.

  6. What an amazing story – you must be so proud of him! x

  7. t sounds like an amazing time and lots of proud Mum moments along the way too. What a shame it had to come to an early finish. I hope he manages to get back into it in the future.

  8. Wow no wonder you are proud! I hope he returns to it, sounds like he has a natural gift x

  9. StephsTwoGirls says:

    Wow, well done him, and well done you for being such a brilliantly supportive mum x

  10. WOW! That’s seriously fantastic – I would be so proud.
    I love swimming and so does Hayden, You have inspired me to take him more often!

    Thanks for sharing lovely!
    Charlotte x

  11. aw what a fantastic post, lovely to see you both enjoying the same thing together , i bet your so very proud x

  12. What an achievement! As my boy gets older I really want to encourage him to work hard and achieve his goals :) xx

  13. That is an amazing achievement – you must be really proud!!

  14. Aw, it’s such a shame about having to stop, but it does sound like he got a lot from it and I can tell how incredibly proud you are. I think having a focus really helps kids out today #sharewithme

  15. Congratulations! you sound so proud! bursting with pride i must say!

  16. well done him ! and what a sportsman ! I hope he goes far. My son is a football and rugby player !

  17. I love swimming and would love it if my little ones got as far as your son – he looks so proud±

  18. Congratulations that is huge! I bet you are so proud so very proud. What a great time for your son. Swimming is amazing I am a huge swimmer always have loved the water and hope my two will too when they are older. Lovely post. Thank you ever so much for linking up to Share With Me. #sharewithme

  19. That’s awesome.
    Swimming is a skill all should learn.

  20. What fantastic memories to associate with that photograph and how amazing for both of you. Here’s to your next amazing journey together

  21. awww what a beautiful post of a really special time with your Teen .. I wish him every success in his new sport, which I am sure he won’t need!

    Thanks for linking up with #MagicMoments

  22. I used to swim twice a week all the way up until uni, actually I used to to synchronised swimming would you believe it ha! I miss it sometimes, it’s such a great sport x

  23. I absolutely love this! What an incredible achievement for him. I can totally get where you are coming from with this – I would do exactly the same for my kids.
    Thank you very much for joining with Loud ‘n’ Proud.

  24. What wonderful achievements he’s made in swimming, a shame that one thing or another has put swimming on the back burner, but yay for rugby!

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