6:53

Bonus, Thursday-edition. Parent bragging alert.

6:53. Fifteen’s 500 free time Tuesday night. Awesome breakthrough swim, but she was disappointed because the league meet qualifying time is 6:51. Teammates keep qualifying and she wants to too. She’s dropped about 35 seconds in the last few weeks. Here’s what I said to her afterwards:

You can choose to focus on not making league or on a seventeen second personal record, but why let some league official determine whether it was a good swim or not?! It was an amazing swim, a breakthrough swim! I’m really proud of you. (Feint smile.) All you can do is give your best effort and let the qualifying take care of itself. You did give your best effort and I’m very proud of you. Even more importantly, you’re a great teammate, and a kind and caring person.

Then I committed the one unforgivable high school parenting faux pas. I hugged her and kissed her wet head. . . in public. You think I’d have learned by now.

I love swimming because it’s so damn meritocratic. Fifteen started getting after it in practice about three-four weeks ago. Leading out her lane, swimming with purpose, and lo and behold, the times started falling. Some more experienced talented teammates aren’t working that hard in practice and they’re fading over the second half of races and losing to harder workers.

Granted not all kids have equal opportunities to swim, but once in the water, there’s an awfully strong correlation between training consistency and intensity and performances in meets.

Fifteen has two more chances, today, and next week, to qualify. And before my brother chimes in with “How does it feel to be the third fastest in your family of four?” The cushion is shrinking, but I could still take her.

Evening, post-meet update—6:48.

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