June 14, 2010

Swim, Baby, Swim

Last summer, Mia found herself loving the water. And, with that new-found love expressed to us that her ultimate goal in life was to be on the neighborhood swim team. We promised that if she worked on her swimming, got confident and, in turn, made us confident in her ability, that she could do it this summer. All winter she worked. She went to group lessons and spent time in the pool twice a week. And she got good. Really good. A couple of weeks ago, swim practice started. Mia was there. Time trials were on Saturday.
Mia is the youngest kid on the team. By at least a year. And she is, by far, the smallest. She gets easily lost in the crowd of other swimmers and her suit's a little baggy - they don't actually make team swimsuits quite small enough for her. Of course, judging by her attitude, these facts have never occur to her and, if they had, she would most certainly care less. It became clear on Saturday as she was halfway through her free-style lap, that there was a decided advantage. In the time it took for her to swim that lap, Mia was adopted as the team's mascot.

In addition to Beth, Owen and I screaming her name, the coaches kept walking pace beside the pool, urging her on, clapping. Her teammates shouted her name, cheering. The parents got in on the act too, each yelling her name and clapping. When she emerged, her pink swim-capped head poking out of the water, lap complete, she found herself confronted by at least 100 people screaming and shouting her name, congratulating her on finishing and, if I had to guess, wondering how this little person just did what she did. It was like something out of an underdog sports flick.

As her dad, it was awesome for me. I can only imagine how fantastic an experience it was for her.

Mia does not believe she is unable to do anything just because someone tells her she's too young or is too little. Those are not good excuses for her. Mia doesn't believe in conforming. Peer pressure is a non-issue with her. If asked to color inside the lines she'll kindly tell you that she's perfectly able to but it's just not as much fun. Mia does not believe in quitting. While neither Beth nor I believe you should throw in the towel, Mia gets this belief from within and she is unwavering in its practice. She is, in short, a stubborn, determined, and utterly unique person. On Saturday we got to see her in action. So did everyone else. And it made me proud. So very, very proud.

Posted by Chris at June 14, 2010 7:06 AM

Your little fish is awesome!!!!

Posted by: Dawn at June 14, 2010 7:49 AM

Aw, that's amazing. I love that she set a goal and then went for it!

Posted by: Fraulein N at June 14, 2010 8:39 AM

Good for Mia! There's nothing like watching your child do something they love.

That's a great pic. If she was my kid it would be my phone and computer wallpaper and I'd have a 5x7 somewhere in the living room. Love it!

Posted by: NancyJ at June 14, 2010 8:41 AM

Omg what a cutie pie. This brings back such memories for me. I started swimming for a swim team when I was about Mia's age and I remember being lost in a crowd of bare legs and matching swimsuits and loving every minute of it. I also coached little ones her age and I just absolutely adored watching them kick butt, but that they were wanting to swim just for the love of it.

I hope this passion of hers stays put -- having spent most of my life around pools, as an instructor, life guard and coach, I can attest to the awesomeness of that environment. Good for her :)

Posted by: Rachel at June 14, 2010 9:03 AM

I have to tell you THAT is awesome! I love her uniqueness and determination!

Now just watch her around 6th grade...for some reason that is when our girls seem to loose their mojo!

Posted by: Gypsy at June 14, 2010 9:42 AM

Wow, a dancer and a swimmer, she sounds just like my Bug. Get her into volleyball and GirlScouts and you'll be running my weekly gauntlet right along with me.

Way to go Mia! Don't forget to hit me up the first time you swim a USASwimming Swim-a-thon. I'm a sucker for those things.

Posted by: Amanda at June 14, 2010 9:48 AM

That is fantastic! I hope that drive and passion sticks around…it will definitely get her places in life.

Posted by: Beth at June 14, 2010 9:50 AM

I'm fascinated by kids who have this "I can do anything" attitude. I'm not sure our older daughter has it, and I'd love to find a way to inoculate her with that virus.

How wonderful to believe anything is possible! (And how sad, as a parent, to know that at some points you are going to have to be there when they come nose to nose with a reality that suggests differently.)

Our 4yo is already such a perfectionist that she gets easily frustrated with herself. I'd love for her to let loose a little bit, to just go for it and color outside the lines and lighten up.

Posted by: pvz at June 14, 2010 9:57 AM

That is so so cool! That is so wonderful of Mia! Amazing... and inspiring!

She is definitely my heroine:)


Posted by: Just Someone at June 14, 2010 11:14 AM

If only EVERYONE had her attitude. You SHOULD be so proud, what an awesome little girl! Go, Mia!!

Posted by: Holly at June 14, 2010 11:15 AM

what would the world be like if little girls managed to keep that attitude and perspective throughout their lives? mia's got it and i hope she keeps it. lucky girl!

Posted by: kati at June 14, 2010 11:21 AM

That's just wonderful, Chris. Very inspiring.

Posted by: Brad at June 14, 2010 11:37 AM

Too funny, my 4 yr old just swam at her first meet this past weekend, as well. She is the youngest on her team by over a year, and she has been working so hard for the past 6 weeks at team practice. She finally had her time under 3 minutes so she could qualify for a meet. She was so proud of herself just for being able to swim at a meet (this past weekend was our last regular meet, so it was now or never). Well, her big sister is a great swimmer, and wins lots of points for the team, so everyone has been watching Izzy and cheering her on, hoping for another great swimmer for the team over the next few years. She had a HUGE crowd cheering her on after she jumped in, and apparently all the support helped! She finished her backstroke in a record time for her!! One minute, 29 seconds. Felt like the longest minute and a half to me, but she was beaming when she reached the other side. She had finally did it. Now she is ready to go out for the Olympic swim team, or so she says. I think she might need a few years of practice.

Posted by: Jen at June 14, 2010 11:38 AM

How absolutely fabulous! Way to go Mia. Maybe in 2020 we will be watching her get an Olympic Gold. Can't you just see that gorgeous smile on a box of Wheaties? Keep this photo for the cereal box. It can be right along with the one of her with her gold.


I, wish my daughter had that same confidence. She is 12 and sometimes so painfully shy, I ache for her.

Posted by: debb at June 14, 2010 11:39 AM

Go on, Daddy-o! My daughter bathed me in pride last week, so I totally know where you're at. Good for Mia for not buying the negative hype about too-young, too-small people!

Posted by: Brooke at June 14, 2010 11:52 AM

That is so amazing! Mia is awesome!! You and Beth are awesome for letting her do it and not trying to hold her back!! Yay Cactus-Fish family!!

Posted by: Krush at June 14, 2010 12:28 PM

Yay for Mia! It's awesome that she has that much confidence; heck I wish I had that much confidence! Here's hoping that my wee one will have as much when she's Mia's age!

Posted by: jenn at June 14, 2010 12:49 PM

Yay Mia!

Posted by: Heather at June 14, 2010 2:46 PM

This is my favorite post ever ! Mia could teach us all a little something !

Posted by: jade at June 14, 2010 2:55 PM

The little bean is growing up! Thanks for sharing!

Posted by: niki at June 14, 2010 6:16 PM

You and Beth both made me cry with these posts about Mia!

Reminds me of Eric Moussambani's swim at the 2000 Olympics. He is from an under-represented country and had never swum in an Olympic size pool before being at the Olympics, and there he is -- the crowd was SO completely on his side by the time he finished! One of the best ever Olympic moments.

Posted by: Sandy at June 14, 2010 7:02 PM

I feel like one day I'll be watching her in the Olympics. If I was smart enough or awake enough I could do the math and actually figure out the year. Either way - Rock On Miabean!

Posted by: rougeneck at June 14, 2010 10:03 PM

Aw!! She's such an amazing little person :)

Posted by: Heather at June 14, 2010 10:16 PM

That's awesome!! Congrats to Mia!!
Do you have video to post?

Posted by: Rose @Dozenroses13 at June 14, 2010 11:31 PM

How awesome is that!!! Stay with her....I was on a swim team and my dad was there for me each and every verrrry long weekend at "meets"....those days hold great memories!

Posted by: Lujza at June 15, 2010 12:33 AM

You have a most decidedly awesome daughter Chris! I wish I had had her confidence.

Posted by: Debra at June 15, 2010 2:53 AM

That is such an awesome characteristic that will carry her so far. I am jealous of her :-)

Posted by: Diane at June 15, 2010 9:59 AM

That is so cool! Go Mia!

Posted by: cyndy at June 15, 2010 12:23 PM

Everyone should proud of her. She is amazing baby... God bless her..!!

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