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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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! 😀

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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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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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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The Past Six Months for Me

Hey! FantasyFan101 is back!

 

I’m guest blogging again! Last time I was here, it was October. It’s been quite a half-year for me, all really fun and other stuff. So, let’s get started!

First on the list is BOOKS! I’ve become a book addict since I last spoke on Rd2Gold. Seriously. It started a while back when I read the Book Thief. After I read that, I felt the need to read a lot more, and more, MORE!!!! So after I became a book addict, I started to read Harry Potter. Mind = BLOWN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! IT WAS SO AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!hp72

Second are Marvel movies. For most of my life (until February 13, 2014) I could really have cared a lot less about Captain America and Iron Man. They kind of didn’t have any appeal to me. So then #1kid came home from the library with three movies. One was the Avengers. So now I like it. A lot. wintersoldierposterNow I have seen all of Phase One and Two (so far). My favorite one out of all of them is Captain America: The Winter Soldier. And I’m extremely excited for The Amazing Spider-Man 2!

Thirdly is all the movies I’ve been seeing. #1kid may have told you about some of these. But yes, there’s been a lot. The Book Thief (of course), The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Monuments Men, Ender’s Game, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, The Lego Movie, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and most recently, Heaven is for Real. All of these were very good.desolationofsmaug

Fourthly, I’m still doing archery. I’ve been really good at it!

And lastly but not leastly is Bernard and Scratch. Bernard and Scratch is a novella I am plotting currently. It’s about a boy (Bernard) who meets a six foot, 12-year-old monster (Scratch).

So, that’s how I’ve been in the past six months. It was quite epic.

If you have any questions on my favorite books or other questions about books, questions about my favorites list of Marvel movies, or any questions on Bernard and Scratch, please comment.

 

-FantasyFan101

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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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The Pikachu Penguins

Hi! I said I’d come back, didn’t I?

So I’d like to throw a huge snowball at you. This snowball is called “Skiing”.

Inside this snowball is a tiny ridge somewhere in the world. It’s simple, has about eight small trails and a ton of homeschooled kids enjoying themselves in the chilliness of winter.

So there’s this girl about to get on the old chairlift when the chair simply stops behind her. The two teenagers next in line call out “Hey, you broke it!”

The girl, totally confused, says “Haha, no. No, I didn’t.”

For the next two hours, the three of them just skied for a while, acting like safe idiots. Her friend joined them shortly after, and they continued skiing.

We are now the weirdest of friends. 😛

For the next five weeks, we just hung out on the slopes. A common thing we said was, “WHICH TRAIL NEXT!?” ItPIKACHUPENGUINS3 was often said as we were on the lift, 50 feet apart from each other.

PIKACHUPENGUINS1 Quite a few others joined us in the little group. And we are now called the Pikachu Penguins Ski Club. We even have a sticker for our helmets, because we’re cool like that. 🙂

Why Pikachu Penguins? Well, one of our members loves penguins. And the Pikachu? Let’s PIKACHUPENGUINS2just say our Club Anthem is the Pikachu Song.

I’ve never had a better group of friends than these ten teenagers. I have had some of the best PIKACHUPENGUINS4quality friendships this year so far. 🙂

Ever been skiing? Did you ski in a group of friends? ISN’T IT FUN? 😀

-#1kid

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