Saturday, December 12, 2015

Celebrate This Week 12.12.15

It's always good to end the week on a positive note.  Sometimes we concentrate on the negatives.  We have a choice.  Choose positive.  Choose to celebrate.  I will be joining Ruth Ayres and her weekly link-up, Celebrate This Week.  Check out all the other celebrations HERE

I am writing this post a bit late because I needed to wait for the meet to be over, and now that it is, I can officially celebrate.

Image result for us paralympic swimming logo

The past three days, Thurs-today, my daughter participated in her first ever Paralympic Can Am Open swim meet.  This is an international swim meet that has qualifying standards. 

My daughter swims on a competitive club team.  Despite having a 6 inch leg length discrepancy, not having a hip on her right side, having a lack of range of motion between her knees, and having a fused right ankle, she is a good swimmer.  With able bodied swimmers, she is right there in the middle of them.  She's not the fastest, and she is definitely not the slowest.  She will never have times that shine like the fastest of swimmers are able to get.

We found the Paralympic events a couple of years ago.  Our head coach pointed us in the right direction and get us set up to be classified.  Our daughter has participated in two swim meets at the Olympic Training Plaza in Colorado Springs.  The swimmers are supportive, kind, and very competitive.  Sitting on deck with the parents is a great experience.  Everyone is supportive and wants the best for each swimmer.  Everyone is genuinely interested in all of the swimmers and the comments are genuine and kind.  I've seen members of the US Paralympic swimming team take the time to encourage all swimmers and go up and talk to everyone.

This is the first time our daughter has qualified for the "next level".  There are usually two Can(ada) Am(erican) Open swim meets each year.  They do not have one this spring because of Olympic Trials.  Our daughter qualified in one event, the 400m free, and was able to swim in two bonus events.  Since she is undergoing her next limb lengthening surgery this coming May, which will put her out of swim for an extended period of time, we figured we would go to the CanAm since we don't know when the next one will be for her.  It was the first time she would be able to swim in a prelim/finals situation.  Did I mention she's only 10 years old?  

There was definitely a bit more pressure than her regular swim meets.  First of all, she didn't have her swim buddies with her.  She had her coach, but as any parent of a tween know, that's definitely not the same!  And she woke up with a horrible head cold the day we left.  But, she triumphed through it all.  Prelims for the 400m free the first morning were a bit tough.  Somewhere between nerves, not feeling well, swimming in a new pool, left her swimming a bit inconsistently.  But she worked it out for that night's finals and did great.  Friday she had the 100m back, and had a great prelims and finals.  Today she swam the 200m back, which was a timed finals only event (meaning she doesn't have to go back tonight).  She took 25 seconds off from her time in June!

As I sit in the stands and watch these athletes, I feel so fortunate that these kids and adults are recognized as the athletes they are.  We talk about growth mindset all the time in the classroom.  It's an area that should be addressed by the sporting community as well.

I talked with a family this morning who has a son who is in a wheelchair.  He would love to be more competitive in swimming, but there aren't any club swim programs that will take him  on their team.  He swims for his high school, and his coach there coaches him in the summer as well, but it's still not year round.

I talked with a young woman who was there cheering on her boyfriend.  He found swimming after fighting through his own demons after being wounded in war.  He had a dream to be on the paralympic track and field team, but once those plans were altered, he found swimming as a way to continue to compete and reach new goals. 

These athletes that I had the good fortune to meet this weekend showed me that they are determined and are showing us all to not discount them.

What a weekend.  Now excuse me, my daughter is ready to go to the pool.  Except this time it's to play, not swim laps!

Go Team USA!


  1. This is an amazing look at your weekend. I know the dedication and passion club swimming can be. All three of my kids were on competitive swim clubs. I have sat in the stands and felt all those emotions you so beautifully described here. Athletes are amazing and your kiddo has such courage. Being only ten and away from her usual environment. What a champion! Congratulations to her.

  2. So happy to hear that the meet happened in time for your daughter to compete, Michele. Wow! 25 seconds less is amazing. I think I didn't know she was only 10. That seems even more amazing to me. It's lovely to hear the good news. I want to say congrats to you and all the parents/supporters, too. It's a lot of time to do this. Thanks much for sharing!

  3. Michelle, congratulations come your way for the success your daughter is having at the Paralympics-a 10 year swim star! As she celebrates her accomplishments, I lift her up for the stamina she must have to endure another surgery. I know that this will be a trial indeed but she is a champion so she will endure with the help of her loving family.

  4. Your daughter continues to inspire me with her amazing spirit and her unwillingness to let her situation either limit or confine her. Like Linda said, you and your husband are also to be congratulated for all the time and dedication you put forth to make all of this happen.

  5. Your post is bursting at the seems with love and pride for your daughter, as it should be. Your daughter's disability has put her and your family into situations that others do not have entrance to and I can tell from your writing that you all are taking away from this experience all the right life lessons.

  6. What a wonderful and exciting weekend. It's so awesome that there is such a way for these athletes to show their stuff and push themselves.

  7. What an inspiring post! Sport or physical activity, whatever form is might take, is such a healthy way for kids and adults of all abilities to connect with others, to make friends, to challenge ourselves and each other, and to work through demons or obstacles. It's so refreshing and inspiring, especially for young people who so much want to be accepted by their peers, to find environments where your inner abilities are more important than your physical differences!

  8. Thank you for sharing your daughter's inspirational experience. You must be so very proud. Congratulations!