A couple of weeks ago DS1 and DD participated in their very first swim gala at school.
Time: 8am for boys. 8:40 for girls (this gave parents of girls the opportunity to retire to their air conditioned cars after drop off until it was time for their darlings to compete.) Boys’ parents could ditch out during the girls’ races to cool off. Those of us with boy-girl twins(and I think we are the only ones in this year, had to stick it out for duration!)
Venue: School pool.
Comments: Bring your vocal support.
The excitement levels of my two had already reached a fevered pitch by the time they stumbled out of the car, laden down with bags: swim gala paraphenalia, schoolbags, lunchbags (and, of course the obligatory football!) strapped to their strong, skinny limbs. As they trudged across the basketball court I was reminded of intrepid explorers wading through adverse weather conditions determined to reach their destination – in this instance the cubbies outside their classroom doors.
Having kissed them good luck, I had hoped to sneak back to the car for 20 mins with a view to minimising my exposure to what was, just after 7:30am a very still, stuffy, humid start to the day. Alas, with lots of Mums mingling around my escape route and DH chatting to the only other Dad who was there at that time, my escape plans were thwarted and I joined in the chat.
When the parents were permitted to enter the pool area and find a pew, it was clear by the House (team) flags where you should sit to support your child. We made our way to the Red Foxes part of the stand and chatted excitedly to the other parents. Being a virgin swim gala goer, I am not quite sure what I expected from a swim gala…….but I know I didn’t expect to sit and watch 50+ races in 32 degrees and what felt like 100% humidity!!
Despite the Olympic number of races, they seemed to whizz by thanks to mostly ‘eager to get going’ kiddos and smooth organisation from the PE teachers. The races were organised according to ability after time trials were held in the PE swim classes in the run up to the gala.
After the first race, I was well and truly into it. I cheered on the Red House as if I knew each and every red capped swimmer. By the time of DS1’s race, I was on the edge of my seat. Nerves rose. My hands were shaking. My iPhone was in danger of slipping out of my sweaty, shaky hands. And they’re off….I could tell by DS1’s front crawl stroke and minimal head turning that he was trying his absolute hardest, and was determined to win. I know he didn’t expect to win this race……but….he did! His first victory spurred him on to his second in breast stroke, and he was just pipped to his hat trick in backstroke. The Red House boys had placed in every race and had set the bar for the girls.
During the time trials in PE class, it turns out DD kept up with some of the swim squad girls and was placed in the same races as two of them – it would be tough. Forgetting the fact my scalp felt like it was a bubbling volcano of sweat, I stood to cheer and record my baby. Against stiff competition she did extremely well, placing in two out of the three races.
Then came the piece de resistance – the relay. DD and DS1 made the team and were pumped and ready to go. Swimmers with different coloured caps dove, belly flopped and splashed into the water. The once calm pool resembled a stormy night on the high seas. Parents and House mates cheered from the sidelines. More exciting it could not have been, especially as the Red House won!
The moment we had all been waiting on came……which team won the Swimming Cup? Reading the results in reverse order, the principal kept us on the edge of our seats. When Green House was pronounced as 1st runners up, the Red House erupted with delight.
How do you settle down to the rest of the day after a morning of adrenaline pulsing through your veins??
Simple apparently. You go to your lessons, have assessments, do gymnastics for 2 hours and football for 1……..easy!