The victory brought the Orcas record to .500 to conclude the regular season at 4-4. In that past four years, this is the first time the Orcas finished the year with a record that wasn’t be below .500.
While winning with the Orcas this year has been nice, it’s really just been a fringe benefit to being a swimming family. Perhaps the most significant swimming event of the summer for my kids came earlier in the week when the team visited Water World in Concord.
My kids have made some really great friends on the team. This past year Sarah Kennedy’s family decided to switch to from , and the Kennedy's were understandably concerned about the transition. Sarah and Skylee were tight from swimming, despite going to different schools, and they ended up in the same fifth grade class at Vallecito. Having a good friend in her new class made things so much easier for Sarah.
One of the biggest reasons Skylee was looking forward to swimming this year had nothing to do with the fact that she would be at the top of her age group, in perfect position to win throughout the season. At the beginning of the spring she was excited to get back in the pool with Sophie Keith Brown, who attends San Dominico and she didn’t see Sophie during the off season. Now the two girls are talking about maybe swimming year round for the first time, instead of just for the Marin Swim League season from March into July.
Skylee, Sophie and Sarah swam daily together throughout the season. Watching them at practice, the joy they got from being together was obvious. The main reason Skylee even wanted to go to practice in the first place was to be with her friends. Getting in good shape, being competitive and learning about her strengths has just sort of fallen in place naturally, with the help of great coaching of course.
Last year I coached my younger daughter Sabrina’s soccer team and I was delighted this season when two of her former teammates, Olivia Hoover and Mia Petrucela decided to give swimming a try. Olivia’s parents said she was a pretty good swimmer, but I bet they had no idea she’d be an All Star in her first season. Mia finished the season with best times in all her strokes against Swimarin. My hope is not so much that Sabrina will win her heats, but that she will develop great friendships with Olivia, Mia and the other Orcas in the years to come.
Next weekend, well over 1000 kids will gather at the Indian Valley College pool to participate in the Marin Swim League Championship meet to cap off the end of the season. Records will fall. Some kids will have break out performances, others heart breaking. There will be anguish and elation among the participating families, and everything in between.
At the end of the day everyone will walk away from the pool and their lives will move forward. All of them: the kids, families and communities will be better and stronger for having participated. Some people (myself included) will remember who won and lost, it will be important to us and there’s nothing wrong with that. Winning and losing won’t be the most important product of the season though.
With their teams, our kids are learning and growing in the pool. Moving through childhood and towards adulthood, they are becoming stronger and better people. No first place finish or broken record could be more important than that.