Road2Gold

Hit the road with me as I aim for gold

Seven Things that Young Swimmers Should Know

Over seven years ago, I tried out for my local swim team. Having been afraid to put my face in the water for so long, I was nervous and intimidated by not being allowed to hold my nose.

Somehow, I held my breath, and made the team.

The lowest, group, the back of the pack, the kids that somehow made it.

I learned that if you simply follow directions, you get promoted into the higher groups. Following directions that coaches give is a simple task, and they actually help you get faster.

So I got promoted into the next group, and the group after that, and the group after that. Until five years went by and I was in the second to highest group.

However, with higher groups comes older swimmers. And with older swimmers comes cliques, and drama. You might remember at the beginning of my blogging career my frustration about cliques. I struggled a lot.

Looking back, I wish I knew some simple tips to help me get through these roller coasters of swimming drama, emotional and physical difficulties, and the want to give up.

1: No matter how much you want to pass the person in front of you, focus on your technique.

I know you reeeeally want to be the leader of the group, and be the person that the coaches and other swimmers see as the Big Cheese, but think about this: The more you focus on your technique, the faster you will be. So don’t speed through those drills, work at them until you’ve mastered the stroke. Speed is for races, and practice is not a race. It’s practice, and practice makes perfect.

2. Stretch before practices and races.

Stretching can save you from an injury. I wish I stretched as much as I do now back when I was younger. I could have prevented a shoulder injury.

3. Just because the big kids are fast, doesn’t mean they are the coolest people on the planet.

Truth is, we’re just like you. Just because we’re above the age of 13 doesn’t mean we have immediate awesomeness. A big mistake that I made was I looked up to the older kids, and followed every single thing that they did. Unfortunately, they weren’t very nice, and mistook “niceness” for athletic talent. It’s okay to take notes of the experienced technique during practice, but please don’t play into the drama. You’ll be a kinder, wiser, and happier swimmer. :) I once heard Olympic Medalist Emily Silver say, “A happy swimmer is a fast swimmer.” 

4. We are all swimmers… No matter where we are from.

Something that baffled me as a kid was the rivalry between my team and another. I grew up competing in dual meets, and most of the time, there was a sudden and random distaste for the swimmers on the other team. Here’s a bit of advice: Go talk to the other team. If you’re at a home meet, make them feel welcome.

You’re all here to swim. You all love this sport. You all have something in common, so finding a topic shouldn’t be that hard. It could be as simple as, “Hey, are you swimming the 100 free too?” or “What’s your favorite Swimfishstroke?” You’d be surprised at how many friends you make during one swim meet. We’re all fish in the sea, so go make some friends.

5. Get up and cheer. 

In my team, we always cheered during the final relays. We didn’t want to, but we had to. It wasn’t until I was a little older that I learned the importance of cheering.

Picture this: You’re stand up to the blocks, and you look to your teammates and they’re all buried in whatever musings they brought to pass the time. (Phone, 3DS, book, patty cake with a friend) Or maybe you’re on your last lap and you feel like crying because you’re trying as hard as you can, and no one is cheering. How does that make you feel? Not very good. Swim meet

So support your teammates by cheering for them. You can even cheer for the new friend you made from the other team (see #4). Coaches and swimmers take note of that, and realize that you have sportsmanship, and as an athlete, sportsmanship is a priority.

6. Love this sport. There is nothing else like it on the planet.

Swimming is a beautiful, dangerous, graceful, and grueling sport. Some people don’t even consider it a sport! Pay no mind to them, and understand this: You must swim. Not because your parents force you to, or because it’s good for your health (which it is), but swim because you love it. Feel the water, smell the chlorine, and love what you do. There is nothing else like it. ;)

7. Whatever you do, don’t give up.

I have known plenty of swimmers that quit swimming because of something like school, friends, or lack of interest. If you don’t want to swim or you don’t like swimming, then I understand. But if you think this sport is too hard, and you’re feeling really discouraged, don’t give up. You’ll be thankful that you didn’t. I’m being totally serious here! If you have an injury, modify your workouts so you can get better. Continue to love to swim. Like I said in #5, you must swim.

So, kiddo, now that I’ve told you these little tips, go have fun and swim.

Your friend,

#1kid

 

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The 200 Individual Medley and Nachos

Hello, friends!

Now that the swim season is in full swing, I wanted to share a little bit of insight for my friends here.

If you have just recently aged out of the “11-12” age group, you are expected to perform better and swim faster and, of course, swim longer races. This means you have a few short weeks to polish up your stroke and improve your endurance before your first meet.

You won’t be able to swim the 50 Fly anymore, kiddo. Welcome to the big kid pool.

But don’t be afraid of it. The 200 IM isn’t that bad. Think about it this way, you swim plenty of 200 IM’s in practice, so why can’t you do it once in a swim meet in which you are well-rested and full of energy?

I had a terrible mentality about the bigger races when I aged up. I used the excuse of injury to switch to a breaststroker in hopes that I would altogether avoid doing the 200 IM! I was by no means great at the Breaststroke, but I figured if I got better at it, I wouldn’t have to swim the Butterfly.

ButterflyBut in my heart, I was a true Butterflyer. Ever since I was 9, it’s been my stroke. (See pic of me many years ago) So what ended up happening? Well, I was already good at the fly and the free, and my breaststroke was forced to improve because of injury, so that left Backstroke. Still, I didn’t want to do the 200 IM.

Then, for the sake of the long, boring meets and watching everyone else do it, I decided to enter into the 200 Meter IM.

Truthfully, I loved it. It’s now one of my favorite events to swim.

Everyone’s going to have their strengths and weaknesses. We’re all going to have to train harder to fix those weaknesses. But how can you find what your weaknesses are if you’re too afraid to try the task? A chef won’t be able to realize that his nachos aren’t spicy enough if he’s too afraid to make nachos in the first place. Similarly, a chef won’t realize how amazing his nachos are if he’s nervous about how they’ll turn out!

Don’t be like the nacho chef. Do the 200 IM. If you find yourself falling behind on a certain stroke, you now know what you have to work on! Then, guess what! You’ll drop time. You’ll win. You’ll feel stronger. Your age won’t matter anymore.

Take it from me. ;)

Just keep swimming, peeps!

#1kid

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It’s possible to Diet and be a Swimmer

Hey, welcome back!!

Since I’m older now, my mom and I have been looking at colleges. Now, I’m not very tall. 5’3” AND A HALF to be exact. (can’t forget that half) Most swimmers are about six feet, so that puts me at a disadvantage.

So this summer, I had to buckle down and lose some weight so I could drop the seconds off my time. There were times I had to say “NO EVEN THOUGH I REALLY WANT THAT COOKIE, I ALSO REALLY WANT TO BREAK 1:03 IN THE 100 FREE”. I had to think, “What do I want more? This cookie, or this victory?”

The victory made more sense.

Although, cookies ARE pretty good, they’re not a priority… :)

As a swimmer, I have to eat a lot of calories to burn during my workouts. 900 Calories a practice is a lot! That does not mean 900 calories of mac and cheese, but I’ve learned the magic food is this:

Chicken.

It makes the world go round.

If you’re on a diet, and you find yourself watching BuzzFeed Food pizza chip dip videos (like me), think about why you started the restriction in the first place. Are you trying to fit into a dress? Or are you like me, trying to perform well in something?

Whatever it is, don’t give up. ;) I know, it’s hard. Pizza chip dip is pretty yummy. But wait. Feeling lighter in the water is way better than temporary yumminess.

Something that really helped me was drinking water. If I got full on drinking water, I didn’t want to eat. So it’s a win win. I’ve also heard it’s good for your skin.

Stay thirsty, my friends. I do not own this cat or this meme franchise

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The Summer Season

Okay, so I know the season ended a while ago, but since it was such an exciting experience, I wanted to tell you all about it!

The first meet went pretty well. We swam at a Division 1 college in the 50 meter pool. I had never done something like that, and it was my first time swimming 50 meters instead of yards. It was different, but really exciting.

My events were the 50m free, 100m free, 200m IM, and the 100m Breast. This was also my first time swimming the 200 IM EVER in a meet! As it turns out, I didn’t do that bad. After all, I had only been practicing for a week, as it was very early in the season.

After that, I swam at another college in my state, and surprised myself AGAIN in the 50m pool. I dropped TEN SECONDS in my 200m IM, and I couldn’t wait to tell my coaches when I saw them next. They were surprised. So much so that they put me in the 200 IM on my own team.

At Rec Championships, I swam the 200 yd IM. I placed fifth, and I got a best time :)

In my 100 free, my coaches and I have been trying really hard to drop my time to break 1:04. I am pleased to say that I broke that time with a shocking 1:03.58!! That’s a total of 2:06 seconds!

This past week, I’ve been preparing for the next season. Through watching videos of Olympic races, I’ve learned that the race could be in one person’s favor, but another person can come up from behind and win by .01! We can’t give up. We can’t slow down. No matter where we are in that race, we have to keep going.

I do not own this photo

But the best part of the summer season was the people that I got to chill with. I felt so welcomed into both USS and Rec this year, it was incredible. Now, I’ve had some problems with my peers, and I’ve blogged a little bit about it over the years, but this season was different. Walking into a meet and people saying “Audg! You’re here! Hi!” and giving you a big hug is like:

I felt encouraged and welcomed into the clan of people that I call my friends. They support me, and I shall try my hardest to support them in their races and goals. I learn so much from them, and have been many times I’ve said “DUDE HOW DO YOU GO THAT FAST??”

So, my friends, keep going. You got this. :)

Have you ever had a time when you had to force yourself to keep going? Is that time now?

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.” -1 Cor 9:24

~#1kid

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On That Happy Note

Hello, friends,

Many moons ago, I spoke of a goal that blossomed into an opportunity last summer. This opportunity was swimming in the State Games of America 2015.

So what happened?

My wallet happened. The plane ticket was quite a bit of money that I couldn’t afford.

But here’s the cool thing:

My first USS Swim Meet went really well. So well that I really want to continue.

The first USS meet went like this:100Free1

Me: Whoa look at all these people!

Me: They’re really tall.

Me: Oh, man, there are 87 people in my event.

Me: Well, I’m not gonna win.

Me: Hey, how are you?

Person: I’m good!

FRIENDSHIP HAPPENS! :D

So the lesson was this: There is nothing more exciting than meeting someone that shares your passion. I’m used to the people on my team complaining about how they don’t want to be there. Well, let me tell you this, THESE PEOPLE WANTED TO BE THERE. They signed up for it, they wanted it, and they love what they do! The atmosphere was so different than that of what I was used to, I went home so elated that I ate apple pie!

I shall be back to talk about the first meet of the summer season!

~#1kid

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Happy Blogiversary!!!

Today marks the anniversary of this blog! It’s been three years! (wow)

Thank you all for sticking with me for all this time!

Hugs

~#1kid

pikachu-birthday

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Dauntless, by Dina L. Sleiman ~ An Illustrated Review

Hello, everyone!

This is my official book review for Dina Sleiman’s new book Dauntless. So, if you want to read it first (Though I will not put any spoilers), I suggest you do so now.

This book was exciting from the start. I instantly fell in love with the writing-style and the topic. Though I’m not a big fan of Robin Hood (because of the confusing writing), I was skeptical when beginning. My mistake. Dauntless’s style was spunky, to the point, and modern… while also having traditional Robin Hood dialogue.

The story was so well-plotted, I couldn’t put it down! This is basically how my afternoons were spent:bookcomic

Another thing I have to mention was the characters. The development in the characters was something to look at and say, “MAH GOODNESS, THAT’S JUST PERFECT!” And in all honestly, that statement is true. It was so well-done, I fell in love with Timothy Grey almost instantly. He was so full of ambition and love for Merry (the lady), it made me swoon (and frankly, very jealous…). Merry, on the other hand, was my role-model as a young lady the moment she was seen in the book (page 1, if you were wondering). She was so independent, and smart, and pretty, and epic, and strong, and kind, and so forth. I was like, “I WANNA BE HER!” Though I must admit, I wanted to slap her sometimes. But that’s all a part of the story….it'sallpartofthestoryBy the end of the book, I was all like:

ilovethisbook

For real, I devoured this book.

So this book deserves a wonderful…

drum roll, please…

5 RIBBONS!!! I WANT TO SEE THIS BOOK AS A MOVIE SOMEDAY.5RIBBONS

Thank you to the publisher, Bethany House, for the opportunity to review this book! :D

Peace out,

~#1Kid

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My favorite (and least favorite) Super Bowl 49 Ads

Hello, friends!

I’m sure many of you in the United States watched the Super Bowl the other night. Frankly, I don’t watch a whole lot of football, if any, but when I do, I eat way too much.My meme XD

In a nutshell, I watch ads and eat food on Super Bowl Sunday. It’s my thing. So, here are my favorite* Big Game Day ads of 2015:

*These are not in any specific order, since there are too many of them to even think about.

  • Let’s start with the tortoise and the hare ad. If you missed it, you can watch it here. I especially enjoyed this one because the turtle got the girl in the end. Take that, mister Hare!! TURTLES RULE!
  • Another awesome advertisement was the Bold Dad, from Toyota. It was about a father who was there for his daughter, and it was pretty inspiring.
  • Liam Neeson’s commercial for Clash of Clans was pretty epic as well. If you didn’t see it, check it out.
  • Although this one wasn’t a “favorite”, it was still pretty strange because we were having TV problems right before the game had started. This ad showed the stadium, but then immediately blacked out, followed by a few moments of black and silence. During those seconds, I stood up and said “I’ll be downstairs, call me up when you guys fix it,” only to find out that it WASN’T an ad at all!

I’d have to say my least favorite would be the one where the kid is listing off his dreams, and then says that he died, so he could not accomplish those goals. I literally yelled at the television and my family after this, proceeded by nightmares.

What were your favorite Big Game Day ads?

Congratulations to the Red Sox, I mean, Patriots!

~#1kid

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The Road to Nationals

Hey, Goldies! I’m back with one of my most exciting tales yet!

SO, as you can see from the title, this blog has got some weight. And I mean it.

Last summer, I won the State Games in my state in my favorite and competitive sport: Swimming. This also means that I qualified for the State Games of America being held in Lincoln, Nebraska in 2015. But there was one complication: To compete, I had to become a USA Swimming member.

That was a problem for me, since I wasn’t able to do that.

I approached my coaches, asking if it would even be possible to join USA Swimming as a stand-alone athlete. They said no. I, bummed, figured that I was not going to attend the SGA in the summer.

Then, I looked into it a bit more. The moment I got an email, I used my new form of messaging to contact some people associated with my state’s division of USA Swimming. Soon enough, I received a call.

Nice lady on the phone: “Yeah, you can absolutely join USA Swimming! You just have to jump through a few hoops, is all!”

Me: Yay

After being connected with other coaches, directors, and other people, I was a USA Swimming member, all set for my first meet.

I don’t know about you, but I saw that there were just doors opening and opening to new experiences. When I went to my coaches to tell them the good news, they didn’t seem to excited.

BUT WHO CARES? God’s giving me a baton in this relay of my life, and it’s exhilarating! :D

So now I have the motivation and the preparations to race in a real USA Swimming meet, and I’m now capable of going to the SGA this summer!

Now what?

I have to swim.

Has anyone ever told you that you COULDN’T do something, then rise above the statement and accomplish it? How so?

See you soon!

~#1kid

(Credit to Christine Caine’s book Unstoppable for the reference of a divine relay. Reading it now, and looooving it!)

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Camp Anime!

Hi guys! Don’t yell at me because I’ve been gone. School’s tough.

This post is about CAMP ANIME!!!!! I went last year, but this year was waaaay better in so many ways!My cosplay!

Firstly, I cosplayed this year. If you don’t know what cosplaying is, then basically it’s where people dress up as a character and then hang out with other people that are dressed as a character (perhaps from the same franchise) and have fun. It’s pretty cool when you see how hard fans work to make sure their costumes are just right before a convention.

This year, I cosplayed as Fem!Japan from Hetaia. Honestly, I looked like a really strange girl in traditional Asian clothing with short black hair with a flower in it. I looked pretty different with the short hair, and anyone who already knew me was like “WHAAAA YOU CUT YOUR HAIR NO!!” No, I did not cut my hair. Wigs, my friends, can help you with your cosplays.

Secondly, I had friends with me, and I met a ton of people. I had told my friend about Camp Anime, and she was extremely excited almost immediately. Soon enough, we’re both signed up and psyched! On the shore!

The two of us met tons of really cool people. It was amazing how many Hetalians were there! Now, we talk all the time!

Thirdly, my siblings and I took part in some really fun panels. One of my favorites was the Movie-Making panel. We had 15 minutes to plot our small story, 15 minutes to film, and 15 minutes to edit our videos. The whole idea was two adults were reminiscing about their first convention, and then there’s a Attack On Titan... in a boat.flashback from the convention. It was genius on our friend Austin’s part! This is what it turned out to look like: http://youtu.be/Xn6YbAruJqQ

My friends and I actually ran the Hetalia panel on the spot! We also took part it Live Angry Birds, Sushi Making (Mom’s favorite), and a few others.Hetalia Panel!

The setup of the convention was that of a camp… Actually, it was a camp. We were in the woods, there was a lake, there were cabins where overnight campers slept, and a huge dining hall. My sister and I got the chance to go on a pedal boat, which was very fun.

If you want to see more: Check out this video that sums up the whole weekend! http://youtu.be/g_vUarlESG0

Thank you to all that made Camp Anime possible, to all of my friends, and to Mr. Anthony Santos for the videos. Camp Anime 2014 would not be as amazing as it was without all of you! :D

~#1kid

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