Regular readers of this column will not be surprised to learn that Jonah Albers broke another pool record, this time in the boys 9-10 freestyle. Albers also took first place in his other two events, the IM and the butterfly.
Natalie Wambach has been a terrific team leader throughout the season, and adding to her list of accomplishments which has included being part of the record breaking mixed 15-18 relay team, Wambach broke the pool record in the IM. She also took first place in the breaststroke and third in freestyle.
For the past several years my own daughter Skylee has been swimming with and in the wake of Sophie Keith Brown, who has been the top performer in the girls 9-10 division in 2012. More importantly, Brown and Skylee are fast friends and look forward to seeing each other daily at the pool.
Brown really came into her own as a swimmer at the county championship meet two years ago, dropping large chunks of time in her events at the most crucial time of the season to become one of the best swimmers.
Brown’s 8-year-old sister Emma didn’t wait until the last meet of the season to announce her own arrival. Emma has been the top point earner for the Orcas in the girls 8 and under category all year, easily swimming past my younger daughter Sabrina in the same category.
At Tamalpais High School, Emma broke her first pool record in the backstroke. She looks like she’s even faster than her older sister at this age, and she promises to have a wonderfully decorated swimming career. Emma also took first place in her other two events, the freestyle and butterfly, then for good measure she swam the IM as an exhibition in 1:43:11 which also would have easily been first place had it counted. It’s not a stretch to say she’s the girls 8 and under version of Albers.
My younger daughter Sabrina had a breakout performance of her own. The great thing about swimming competitions is that you don’t need to come in first to swim a great heat. Sabrina has done very well in the IM all year, which is the most difficult event because it’s four laps instead of one. It’s a test of endurance, conditioning and will power.
While Emma was battling ahead of her to edge out Reese Dalhgren of the Seals, who is another great young swimmer in her own right, Sabrina was swimming neck and neck against the Seals Alyssa Hynes. Sabrina knew it too, and she could feel Hynes in the next lane as they hit the wall after the breaststroke and began the freestyle to the finish. Sabrina dug deep to swim past her competitor with a best time of 1:54:77.
I’ve been watching Sabrina’s sister Skylee find that extra something for years in the IM, and waiting for Sabrina to make a similar leap in her development. That’s the kind of thing that transcends sports too, not giving up and trying your hardest. Competitive youth swimming doesn’t just create great athletes, it creates great people who will achieve much in their lives because they’ve learned that hard work and effort pay off. Swimmerslearn how to go the extra mile in the IM, the most demanding event in swimming. I couldn’t think of a better place for children to learn and grow than poolside in Marin.