Had a very nice day with the kiddos today: Bella had an all day meet at Wayzata middle school - it was the four local teams, of which Bella's is the newest.
For the past 3 years, Bella has been learning with a St Paul team, which led to 30+ min drives each way to practice twice a week. The club was good, but focused a lot of their attention on the older girls, and the young'uns frankly didn't get as much training time or attention. So this year, we split off and formed a new club: We got our own name, our own coaches, and started with 6 girls, between 8-12 years old: The next generation of synchro stars starting their own club to grow together.
The coaches, Em and Liz are just wonderful - Em's the mom of the group, and Liz is the taskmaster, and between the two, they make sure the girls are nurtured AND worked. And watching them work, they've advanced more together than they had in 3 years at the old club.
There's definitely some politics and whatnot in there too, but really what I see is that these girls are a very good team, growing together, and learning a lot. They have an award for the hardest worker in any practice - the seahorse - and it's awarded every night. The coaches tell me that they don't even have to pick it, that the girls unanimously know who put in the work in any practice.
So at today's meet, our little club was up against three other clubs that have a huge bench strength - we only competed in 5 categories - 1 solo, 1 duet, 2 trios, and a team routine. We didn't take first place in any, but we made a great effort, and the girls felt great. There's a picture of them all smiling, feeling good that they not only made a showing, but they're building something for themselves, and for a new generation of swimmers.
I'm very proud of my Bella, and also for the coaches and moms and dads who have worked to create this new little club. I'm wearing my pink seahorse shirt with pride tonight.
After the meet, Bella, Isaac, and I went out for terrible mexican at Don Pablos - There's something about their chips and fajitas that just works for me. Anyway, we ate well, had a lot of laughs, came home, and Bella zonked out nice and early with a big smile on her face. And tomorrow, we pick up again, and start practicing for the next meet!