After Jay got through that first meet, he hit his stride and lived and breathed swim team.
We had to get to practice 15 minutes early every morning so he could watch the big kids who practiced before him. Let me tell you how fun it is to chase a 13 month old around a large pool for 45 minutes EVERY SINGLE DAY. But it was worth it to see this child's joy in coming to swim team practice.
He counted the days until his meets and tried to predict what place he would get in his meet. This kid LOVES swim team. I have never seen him so interested or so confident in a sport. It's truly the most incredible thing I have ever seen.
So the third meet comes. The first meet he swam three events- 6&u free relay, individual free and individual back. The second meet he swam four events- 6&u free relay, individual free, individual back, and 7/8 medley relay. Then came the third meet- he was swimming FIVE events- 6&u free relay, individual free, individual back, 7/8 medley relay, and 7/8 free relay. And Jay just ATE. IT. UP. Every bit of it.
If you've ever read the book Outliers it talks about how very successful people in every aspect of the world (Bill Gates, Michael Jordan, the Beatles) had more "practice" at their craft then others. It talked about how when the Beatles were starting they played two shows a day, while some of their competition was playing only twice a week. It talked about how Bill Gates would practice with electronics and play around for countless hours a day... It is a really interesting read if you get a chance (and very short!). Anyway, Jay being in the second (or third) heat and getting extra swimming race practice was really priceless to us. It's just stuff that can't be learned in practice. And because he loved it so much, we thought it was just so awesome for him to have this opportunity. You can't get better if you don't practice!
Corralling some of the 6&u boys.
It was exactly as chaotic as you would imagine.
One of Jay's biggest fans!
Jay and Braden. Always together!
After the meet with his five ribbons!
And some VERY tired eyes!
The last meet came around and Jay was on top of the world. He had been having such a blast. He swam four events. And because he swam the 7/8 free relay the very race before his 6&u individual free race, he got dead last in that individual event. And he was SO mad! I mean, cried and was legit angry. I just laughed because it was so darn cute. I love that his little competitive side came out. Of course we gave him the whole "You did great and you tried your best" speech, but inside I was totally proud that we had a competitor on our hands (because no one in this family is competitive at all- ha!).
Then after the meet he cried again- because it was over. He had SO much fun this season!
Here is a shot of his leg of the relay from the last meet (he dives in around the 1:00 mark).
It's amazing to see the video from his first meet to this last one- and the RIDICULOUS improvement he made. His dive was awesome and the fact that he chased down two kids and caught up was incredible!
This kid dropped 15 seconds off his freestyle this season- his initial time to try out for the team was 44 seconds. His last meet free relay leg was 29 seconds!
He dropped 20 seconds off his backstroke! His first time trial time was 59 seconds and his last meet of the year was 39 seconds!
Not going to lie, he had a fantastic season and I couldn't be more proud of him. All of this in just a four year old little boy. I know he is going to do great things in his little swimming life- I can't wait to see what it is!
And the final chapter to this season was the end of the year party. He was excited to go and play with his friends. We had no expectations on the party (we had never been to one and had no clue what happens at it). So they give awards to some of the kids on the team- each age group had one boy and one girl get an award. It was sweet to watch the kids cheer on their friends! And of course, CK loved playing with her new big girl friends!
So we get through all the awards and then the coach says, "And the last two very special awards are coming up- the Wahoo awards" (we are the Wilchester Wahoos). Apparently there is one boy award and one girl award for the entire team. It is for the swimmer who embodies the Wahoo- hard work, perseverance, good sportsmanship, fun, etc...
The speech went a little something like this... "This award goes to a swimmer who came to practice every single day. He didn't want to miss one. He worked hard every practice and really gave it his all. He had fun, he was a good sport all season, and he swam wherever we needed him to swim. He improved every single meet, and he has so much potential. The kicker is that he is only FOUR years old. This kid is going to be really really good- and everyone needs to keep their eyes out to watch for him in the future because you won't want to miss him and his talent. He's going to be one of the best. Jay Squillante!"
I'd be lying if I said I didn't cry. I was so shocked and surprised and seriously just wanted to push everyone out of the way and run up to the front and hug him and kiss him all over and cry. But I held it together (only shed a tear in front of everyone) and cheered him on. The entire crowd of kids and parents were cheering like crazy- everyone knew about this four year old and everyone just loved him. I couldn't make eye contact with Anthony because I knew we'd both lose it.
Getting his award!
With his coaches!
You honestly would have thought he won the Olympic MVP with my reaction and how proud we were of him. I know it's just a silly summer league award for a four year old kid. But I will be proud of any award he gets- from something like this to something bigger. It just goes to show you that no matter what your kids do, you think it's the most wonderful thing in the world- and it really truly is.
We are so proud of that boy!! What a wonderful season he had!!! Big thanks to the coaches and team volunteers. And a huge thanks to our family members who made it to meets to cheer him on, his daddy who left work earlier than he has ever left just to make it to these meets, and to Maggie for babysitting Molly each meet so we could focus on helping Jay. Such a village!
(Disclaimer- I am sure no one else really cares about Jay's little swim team journey. But I print these posts out for our family and I really want to remember every detail for him. He deserves to know how proud we are of him and how far he came this year! No negative comments please, I'll remove them!)
Did I mention that he has talked incessantly about next year's swim season and his plan to win every single race?! That and the fact that he wants to make it to Meet of Champs next year and get a medal? We shall see! :)