This amazing opportunity for my son and I was made possible by MomTrends and USA Swimming. On August 8th we were invited to the William Wollett, Jr. Aquatic Center to check out the USA Swimming National Championships. The top .3% of all swimmers in the United States were here competing for a spot on the National team for the Pan Pacific games. The level of talent in this one place, including a crazy amount of Olympians and those posed to be future Olympic stars, was insane. We were fortunate to get an intimate look in what USA Swimming calls the #funnestsport.
The day started with us getting a tour of the competition. I mean, we were literally on the “deck” where only coaches and swimmers are allowed. We were right in the action and I’m not going to lie, I felt like I was in the way a little bit. I also thought I might end up in the pool. But it was awesome to be able to share this with my son so he could feel the excitement first hand. We got to see the determination on each of the swimmer’s faces and also the camaraderie between the other athletes. As we learned throughout the day, although swimming is based on your individual times, it feels very much like a team sport. And the abs! There were abs every where!
Our tour included a look at the pavilion that is available for both swimmers and spectators. The pavilion was a place to find food, a full swim shop for any swim equipment needs and also a places for the athletes to sign autographs. Remember this event featured a bunch of swimming super stars. O took his turn at the table…
One of the coolest parts of the day was getting to chat with 12 time Olympic medalist, Dara Torres. Not only is she freaking gorgeous, she’s crazy inspiring, amazing athlete and an all around nice person. It was really special that she gave us some of her time to talk about her swimming experience. She also told us a little bit more about SwimToday.org. While my area is full of swim teams, other areas, especially in other parts of the country, they are not so easy to find. SwimToday.org is the place to go to find one in your area. Dara reinforced the idea of swimming being very similar to a team sport. It’s also much easier on the body than sports like football. And your kids don’t sit on a bench, they are always participating. Dara has gotten involved in spreading the word about swimming as she feels that it is a a sport that often gets overlooked but teaches kids so many positive qualities. We also got a chance to talk to Mary Gen Ledecky, mom to Katie Ledecky, swimming superstar. At 17, Katie is an Olympic gold medalist and world record holder. We got a chance to find out what it’s like to parent an Olympic athlete and again, she talked about how the swimmers really feel more like family than opponents.
And right on the other side of the practice pool where the kids were playing, the National Championships went on. The entire experience was amazing. It is not an event I will soon forget. And although I am not sure my son fully grasped just how cool this experience was, even he commented about it feeling pretty special.
Thank you Dara, USA Swimming and MomTrends for showing us a really cool look at swimming. To find a swim team near you, be sure to check out SwimToday.org.
Photos 1, 2, 6, 9 and 10 are mine
Photos 3, 4, 5, 7, and 8 are courtesy of Mike Lewis (check out his portfolio!! AMAZING!) for USA Swimming