April Swimming Times: Half Term with Swimming Mum

9 April 2011

Read an extract from Swimming Mum from April’s edition of the Swimming Times as Swimming Daughter and Junior SD build-up to the County Champs.

It’s half-term and we’re all spending some quality time at home.

I'm planning where I need to be like a military campaign - the thought of arrive late or at the wrong pool brings me out in a cold sweat.

I’ve booked the week off work to enjoy the full benefits of having the gang back together again. And, of course, we’re on the run-up to counties.

The dining room table has been converted into ‘control HQ’, complete with print-outs of schedules, directions and draft programmes.

Swimming Daughter is swimming in one county over two weekends, with a break in the middle. Junior SD is swimming in a completely different county over three weekends, in three different pools.

Trying to plan where I need to be and when is like planning a military campaign. I’m moving my Swimming Daughter piece (spikey with a teenage scowl) across the map of the UK, criss-crossing with the Junior piece (red-haired and with attitude) on a dry run – planning routes and times down to the fine detail (the thought of arriving late or at the wrong pool brings me out in a cold sweat). 

And then there are the ‘rogue pieces’ to build into the plan – a gothic looking ‘emo’ piece appears out of nowhere requiring me to factor in a detour to a completely different county for a weekend away; a guitar-shaped piece is requiring a trip to ‘Game’, while a furry cat-shaped piece has been booked in to be fixed. It’s a strategy to tax the most accomplished of generals.

Junior is anxious about her IM and fly turns. It’s her first counties and, as one of the youngest swimmers there, she’s determined to make the right impression.  After all, it’s her first real opportunity to actually prove she’s better than SD.

We all head out to the pool at my local gym for a group bonding session and I’ve persuaded Swimming Daughter to go through Junior’s turns with her.

I’d recently read an article in Swimming Times about ‘swimming dynasties’ and dreamt that maybe, one day, I could build one of my own. This group session at the pool was to be the first step along that path.

I'd read an article in the Swimming Times about swimming dynasties and dreamt that, maybe one day, I could build one of my own!

Once in the water, I’m banished to a far lane, as my swimming technique is such an embarrassment to SD (to be honest, it is pretty appalling: the only stroke I do is an approximation of breaststroke and I don’t like to get my head under water). From my lonely vantage point, I hear voices floating across the water:

‘You’re not doing it properly.’

‘I know how to do it.’

‘No, you don’t. Watch me – this is what you do.’

‘I know that.’

‘Then why aren’t you doing it? You’re going to get DQ’d.’

‘I’m not. I’m doing it right.’

‘If you turn on to your front and kick, you’ll get DQ’d.’

‘I didn’t kick.’

‘You did, I saw you. You’re going to get DQ’d.’

‘I wasn’t on my front.’

Down at the far end of the pool I found Guitar Man, floating around on a noodle. ‘I’m bored,’ he complained. ‘All they want to do is talk about swimming – nobody wants to make a noodle raft with me.’

To read the full piece, purchase the April edition of the Swimming Times now!

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