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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Victory at the State Games

Hey, guys! I’m back with a tale of victory and adventure!

The first I’d like to remind you all about the past events of the summer:
I attended training camp in early July, and learned much more about my favorite sport of all: Swimming. My left rotator cuff healed with proper training and rest. I had the State Games coming up, and the National Games to qualify for…
So what happened at the State Games?
Sunday morning I arrived at the Aquatic Center at a college. It’s a nice complex, for sure! We checked in, and I warmed up by doing some of the drills the camp had taught me.
I was nervous, but I knew I had the tournament in the bag. My only problem was swimming against the older kids. See, when there aren’t enough people in an event, they merge the age groups so the meet can go by quicker and everyone can go home. But someone had told me that qualifications and medals were awarded by race, not age group. I began freaking out, and becoming so nervous and upset, I was pretty angered by the time the meet had begun.
Turns out, that lady didn’t know what she was talking about and I would be okay.
In my first event, the 50 yard Freestyle, I swam 29.34 seconds. It was a personal best, and I placed first! In my 100 yard Breastroke, I placed second with a meh time of 1:33.15. The girl in front of me was on fire. Literally. The smoke was unbearable. In my third and final event, I swam a winning 1:07.88. Not a best, but it’s good!image
That means I qualified for all three of my events in the State Games of America in 2015. Only one thing to do: TRAIN HARDER. Next year, I’ll be one year older, and ready for more competition, and my times will have decreased even more. SGABelieve me, I can’t wait.

~#1kid

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Swim camp!

Hey! I’m back!

First thing’s first: CONQUEST.

My amazing brother, FantasyFan, has joined the swim team! After years of begging him to try out, he’s finally agreed to come for a swim. J

Secondly, I went to training camp.

The Nike Swim Camp was the greatest training experience I’ve ever had. The coaches were head college swimming coaches and the girls’ counselors were actually still swimming in their universities.

Personally, I’ve never done anything like this before so, of course, I was nervous! Turns out, there was absolutely NOTHING to be worried about.

The food there was AWESOME. Three gigantic meals per day and a truckload of pasta. For real. Some of us campers would say as we stuffed our faces, “#Carbsarelife.”

That’s another thing, the campers. I met quite a few new friends this week and we still talk to each other all the time. Whenever I go places, I always stay on the lookout for other swimmers that understand what it’s like to be stuck at a swim meet every weekend, or the joy of winning by a millisecond. I met those people and I am so glad I did! I also would like to mention I had the coolest roommate in the world (shout out to my roommate).

The most important thing I learned is that technique is more important to practice than the stroke itself. Apparently, my elbows weren’t coming up high enough in Freestyle, and my arms were coming too high in my Butterfly, and my head needs to stay down in Breastroke, and my right arm needs to come over my head in my fly/breast turn, etc. The list goes on.

So seriously, check out Nike Swim Camps or any USSC Sports camps here!:

http://www.ussportscamps.com/

http://www.ussportscamps.com/swim/nike/

COUNTDOWN TO THE GAMES: 4 DAYS REMAINING.

~#1KID

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Toughing It Out… OUT of the Water

Good day, friends! Welcome back!

Now, we’ve had plenty of life experiences to tell all about, but now it’s time to get to the real reason of this blog: Road to Gold.

What does it mean? It means this blog is supposedly about my Road to Gold. Of course. Any attempts to get one of those precious medals have failed. I’ve tried once, and it failed due to a head injury.

So now that I’ve gotten back on my feet and am all healed, I can continue on the Road.

This past season has been rather painful. As I mentioned in a previous post, I hurt my shoulder. The sport of archery (FF101, my bro, is well involved in it) has messed up the rotator cuff. It really, really hurt. And it limited my swimming, my skiing, my archery, my tennis, and even my sleep.rotoator cuff

The consequence was my best stroke stripped from me for the whole season. Yes, I could not swim Butterfly Stroke at all. If you’ve seen the Butterfly stroke in action, you’d noticed the shoulders. How the work so hard to get those arms up and around with such force. Since Backstroke is also strenuous on the shoulders, I was stuck with my least favorite stroke of them all: Breastroke.

I surprisingly did alright. I definitely improved, an hour and forty-five minutes of freestyle and Breastroke, three times a week must have paid off!

It was a really interesting season. I couldn’t swim as hard as usual, so I wasn’t placed in the big championships. However, I was fast enough to win the smaller championships. 🙂 I got first in all of my events, and getting first and second in the relays.

Now the season is over. And a new challenge awaits.

Remember last summer? The state championships and the concussion? Well, THIS year, each state gets a chance to qualify for the State Games of America 2015 in Nebraska. How to qualify is simple: Get first, second, or third place in your event.SGA

So that’s my goal for this year: Qualify for the SGA. It’s going to be difficult, but I have friends that know I can do it.

Ever think you’re going to fail? Did you feel encouraged to know that people had your back the whole time?

-#1kid

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What’s the Scoop?

Hey, guys!

Well, you’re probably like “Where’s #1kid?” So here I am!

So here’s the past few events in my Road2Gold:

My novel Wings of Deception is complete. You can read a little bit of it here:  http://www.wattpad.com/story/9120472-wings-of-deception

I suffered a rotator cuff injury after taking on the sport of archery, shortly quitting after causing some major problems with swimming.

SKIING! 😀

Movie theatres like you would not imagine: Ender’s Game, Gravity, Catching Fire, Desolation of Smaug, Lego Movie, Monuments Men… whatever.

Swimming! 😀

And of course, school.

So those are my excuses. Yes, I’m a crazy person. Yes, I missed blogging. And yes, my computer is being a baby so I couldn’t blog.Image

In favor of the title, I shall post a nice dessert on here!brownie2Bsundae2B3

I’LL BE BACK! I PROMISE!

-#1kid

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Hey!!!

Hey everyone!!! I am #1kid’s brother. I’m commonly known as Ludwig on earlier posts. I like to play tennis, ski, play music, shoot, eat, and play video games. I prefer singles over doubles, prefer black diamond over blue square, prefer to kiss the bead than to turn off safeties, prefer guitar over piano, prefer tacos over chili, and prefer Legend of Zelda over Pokemon.

There’s my life.

So what do I think of my older sister? Well, she’s nice to have around, sometimes a bit annoying, good for computer projects, but ultimately, awesome. Not as awesome as me, but still awesome.

My Road2Gold is to be in the 2020 Olympics with my sister. Only I’d compete in archery events instead of swimming.

So that’s me. I’ll be guest blogging once a month. Thank you for your time.

~FantasyFan101

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Giving 2020 a Shot

Konnichiwa, guys! I’m back with some AWESOME NEWS!!!

So in my post about swimming last May, I mentioned the candidate cities for the 2020 Olympics. They were Madrid, Spain; Istanbul, Turkey; and Tokyo, Japan. If you didn’t know, I’ve always wanted to go to Japan… always…

Tokyo_2020_OlympicI think my Olympic dream might actually come true. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced on Saturday night at 5:00 in Buenos Aries that the 2020 Summer Olympic Games will be hosted in Tokyo.

That’s right, y’all! TOKYO!

I was on my way to Glow Golf with my fabulous Youth Group when my annoying brother, Ludwig, randomly shouted “AUDREY! CHECK THE IOC!!! Where’s the Olympics!?!?!?!?!”

Then I started freaking out. Luckily, my friend handed me her phone and let me searched and there it was in olybig, bold, beautiful, amazing letters:

THE IOC ANNOUNCES TOKYO, JAPAN TO HOST THE 2020 OLYMPIC GAMES!

Me: “YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!”

map_venueAQUATICSMy friend (who also swims): “WHAT?”

My friend (the one who the phone belongs to): “ARE YOU OKAY?”

Ludwig: “ARE THEY IN TOKYO? YES?”

It was very strange and awesome all at the same time.

Yeah, Luddy is starting archery. I thought I’d also give it a shot. 🙂 Maybe Luddy and I could compete in States together! MAYBE WE COULD BOTH BE IN THE OLYMPICS TOGETHER? 😀 I, in swimming and Luddy in archery!map_venueARCHERY

I know… Another thing on my large plate of activities and sports. But since I had to stop karate last year, I have a little bit of time before the swim season starts up again! Lud, Emma, my mom, and I went to the local range for a lesson in archery.

SAMSUNGLuddy and I were pretty good! It looked as if the teacher was surprised to see that I wasn’t starting lessons. Fortunately, there was one more opening for me to join. How excited I was! 😀

So who’s excited for the Olympics? Do you like archery?

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It Starts in the Water

Hello, there! Welcome to Road2Gold!!!

So if you’ve been following me recently, you’d know that I had been talking about my Life on the Couch and about my concussion. Well, I had also mentioned that I went to

Brain Swim Cap

Brain Swim Cap

State Championships with the head injury. So here’s how it went:

Before I even tell you how I swam, I will tell you how much I was looking forward to this event.

A lot.

I had been counting down the days since 60. I always reminded my coach about how there was “40 more days!” or “30 more! Just thirty!” until I said “Guess how much now! 28!”

Then, on 28 days left, I hit my head.

Anyway, back to present day. I woke up at 6:15ish and the first thing I said before I got out of bed was “1.” The day had finally come and I was not prepared… well, kinda.

We got there in time to warm up, stretch, find out what event numbers we were, get a T-shirt, all that fun stuff.

Then the meet started. It was fun, yes. But unfortunately, I had a major disadvantage: I couldn’t dive. I wasn’t fully recovered and was still wearing earplugs to block the sound of the buzzer. I was starting in the water and I had to swim about 4 strokes to catch up to where they took there 1st.SAMSUNG

No, I didn’t win. But I wasn’t expecting to. I knew this was just for experience and I shouldn’t beat myself up about it. It’s okay!

The coolest part though, was knowing my opponents in the next championships. They were all the same swimmers as last time! It was pretty cool to say “Hey, I remember you from the games! You’re really good!” The reply was usually something like “Oh yeah! Hey, you’re the person who started in the water, right?”

…I only nod… 🙂

Have you ever had a disadvantage?

#1kid

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Life on the Couch

Hello, people! WELCOME to Road2Gold.

SOOOO, as you can see, I’ve been, well, absent for the past few weeks. Yeah, it stinks. I know.

brain-bandaidThe reason for my absence is because of a concussion that occurred the week of my last post here. It’s been crazy boring and I really wanted to a ton of stuff this summer but, unfortunately, the brain comes first.

Here’s how it all went down:

Swim swim swim swim swim. Ten minutes straight of just swim. No break or anything like that. Gr. I mean, what am I supposed to think about? Sing a song? Yeah, that sounds nice. Hm? Which song should I sing? Well there’s- wait! Flipturn. Anyway, a song. Right. How about Chopin’s “Nocturne Op.9 No.2”? No, too slow. Oh, I do like “Mein Gott”! No, that’s waaaay too fast for a distance swim. Why is this so complicated?

Tap tap tap. Darn. Someone passed me. I was trying to stay ahead of them too. I guess my mind drifted off to a nearby restaurant. Now I just have to get ahead again.

Success! I’m in the lead again! The amazing, victorious, amazing, wowerful, ME! Wait! Flipturn.

That was a good flipturn. But my timing was a bit off and I should probably speed it up a little bit. This next one I’ll get it, if I remember. Continue.

Okay, I’m at the wall. Now speed it up, flip, push off really hard, and…

Bonk! What the heck did I just hit? And agh! My head kills! What just happened? I clutched the top of my head as everybody started telling me what happened.

“You just rammed into her!”

Oh, the person I had just passed collided with me? Weird. Okay, it doesn’t hurt as much anymore, but it still hurts. Just keep swimming. The ten minutes are about over now.

I was fine for another five minutes when we started doing some serious sets. I felt dizzy, nauseous, and a bit shaken. I got out of the pool and sat there for the rest of practice.

The next morning, I saw a doctor. Yep, a concussion. My balance, reflexes, and my head was wildly messed up.  Even my stomach was all wacky!Couch

Then all I did was sit there on my couch, bored… very, very, very bored. Luckily, I found some cool stuff to do like audiobooks, chillin’ with the cats, friendship bracelets, knitting, and napping. I found talking on the phone fun as well, but I think people got tired of me calling them so much. Oops. Also, the entire time I had to wear dark sunglasses to keep

Me being cool with my shades on the couch.

Me being cool with my shades on the couch.

the sun out of my eyes. I felt pretty “cool”.

So how I am I doing now? Meh, I’m okay.  I’m definitely getting better, still experiencing headaches when there’s loud noises or bright lights, stuff like that.

But the life on the couch wasn’t exactly exciting. As I had mentioned before, I was going to states in swimming this summer, as well as a training camp… Obviously, I couldn’t go to those… or could I? Yes, I did go to states, not the camp.

I’ll see y’all later with some insight on the individual state championships with a concussion! 🙂

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Just Keep Swimming!

Hello, friends! Welcome back to Road2Gold!

I know I said that I’d post a Blogiversary post, but I’ve been SUPER busy and it completely slipped from my mind… sorry.

This past week we went to the Fitter And Faster Swim Tour. We took a three hour drive all the way to Beverly, Massachusetts. It was a really cool experience!

peterVanderkaayThe first thin g we did was we got to meet two Olympic medalists, Peter Vanderkaay and Emily Silver. They helped us do some drills and taught us to do some pretty cool stuff.

Some of the drills we learned were the “Bow and Arrow Drill”, the “Six-Kick-Switch Plus Three”, and “Sculling”. I struggled a lot in Sculling because I had never done it and I couldn’t figure out how to get across the pool when moving my arms in such a strange way. Eventually, Emily showed us howemilysilver-block to do it and I finally got it.

When we got out of the pool, we learned about goal setting from the Olympians. Emily Silver also taught us some yoga stretches. I felt like Jello afterward.

The next thing we did was race the Olympians. Of course, they won. We didn’t even know what we were doing when behind the diving blocks. Basically, it went like this:

Guy with the microphone says, “Swimmers, step up to the block!”

We all get on the blocks and do some quick final stretches or a last second goggle push.

“You are doing the 25 yard Butterfly. Swimmers take your mark… Beep!

Blacktip Reef Shark and FishAnd then we swim like no tomorrow! For we know that Emily Silver is coming up right behind us in lane four. She still won, even though we got the head-start and she went easy on us. 🙂

We then played Sharks and Minnows. It was very difficult with one hundred-fifty kids all trying to swim to the other side. Just when you think you can sneak by the “Shark”, along comes Vanderkaay. And then you’re a Shark.

It was a really fun day! I even met some new friends from my lane.  After I had gone back to the hotel and I had eaten dinner in Salem, I was back in the pool at the hotel! Of course, I couldn’t do as many things in a small pool, but I loved the water!

I have some news! You many have already heard this but… the 2020 Olympics might be hosted in these three cities: Istanbul, Turkey; Madrid, Spain; and Tokyo_2020_OlympicTokyo, Japan. My goal is to compete in the 2020 Olympics and if they’re in Japan, I am going to throw a party.

This past week was the beginning of the Summer 2013 Swim Season. And this season, I’m going for my first gold.

#1kid

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