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!)
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