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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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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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 Coolest Winter

Hey, all! Welcome back!

I wanted to remind you that JUST BECAUSE SPRING IS HERE, DOESN’T MEAN THE SNOW’S GONE. What I did with that precious white stuff this winter was probably the coolest ever. Trust me.

So there’s this mountain called Mount Monadnock. Under this popular mountain there is a bible camp called “Monadnock Bible Conference”. The camp had many retreats: Winter Teen, Summer Teen, Summer Kids, Women’s, etc,.  I, of course, went to the Winter Teen retreat (Formally called Encounter).

I mean this place had the coolest stuff to do. There was snow tubing, laser tag, a game room, the snack bar, a talent show, and of course, the coolest sessions ever. Not to mention the rubber chickens hidden throughout the camp.

Monadnock Chicken

Our secret chicken loot!

The food was heavenly. And I mean heavenly. We had pizza at 11pm on Friday night, pancakes for breakfast, tacos for lunch, mashed potatoes for dinner, I forget for breakfast, and CORN for lunch. It was pretty much the best weekend of food in my life.CORN

The activities were probably one of the best parts. I had mentioned above that there was snow tubing. We went night tubing as well! Actually, at snow tubing, I had met a few new friends who are super awesome!!! The laser tag was also very fun, though someone ran into a barrel while they were shooting at us. It looked like it hurt. A lot.

The music, oh the music. It was so good. One of the leaders rapped for us (which was cool), and the Chris Evans Band lead worship at all of the sessions. He was filled with talent and sang wonderfully, accompanied by his other musically gifted band members.PIANO

Dwight Night and his speech series on the 5 Questions

Dwight Night and his speech series on the 5 Questions

Our speaker, Dwight Knight, was so filled with wisdom and he had so much to offer. Dwight taught us about the 5 Questions:

1. Origin: How did I get here?  We need to know how we got here before we start asking anything else.

2. Purpose: Why am I here? Why did God put me on this Earth anyway? The answer is to show everyone that god could love me.

3. Nature: Why do I act the way I do? Because it’s in our nature, of course. We’ve been sinning since Eve ate the apple.

4. Change: How can I be different? You can’t. Sin never really goes away. But filling our minds with prayer, Christian fellowship, and simply God can really make the difference.

And 5. Destiny: What happens after I die? The world keeps on spinning. It was spinning before you were born, and it’ll continue after. However, WE are not just “over” when we die. We accept Jesus while we’re alive, but then we have an eternity with Him when we die.

 

Have you ever been to a camp or retreat? Did you have fun?

Or how about this: Do yourself a favor and think about the questions above. Check out Dwight’s books if you’d like. 🙂

 

#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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The First Summer Weekend!

Hellooooo, friends! Welcome back!

Weekends! Yeah! This past Friday was the private school’s last day of school. It was hot and sunny and it was beautiful out! Birds were chirping, sun was shining, a breeze was blowing, men were mowing, and of course, the kids were playing. Seriously, it was awesome.

Something else that was awesome was what we played. Personally, I stayed on my swing most of the time. But the boys played kickball nearly the entire time! Here’s what happened according to my brother, Ludwig:

APHKICKBALL“I WON!” says he, Ludwig. “I beat the AWESOME PRUSSIA (Gilbert) in a kickball tournament and ranked Germany the best country at kickball.”

Yes, he won. It was very interesting to watch and cheer Gilbert on. I didn’t really want Ludwig to win, but he did. So, to celebrate Ludwig’s victory, Gilbert, Ludwig, Romano, and Alfred all jumped into Gilbert’s pool.

My sister Emma and I jumped into our friend Feliks’s pool with our other friend Wanwan. We chilled in that pool for hours and hours, playing volleyball and eating popsicles. It was super fun.

Let’s just say it was a Solstice Full Moon weekend. Even though most of the kids had school the next day, it felt like it was Summer Vacation. And at the end of each day, the older kids took a walk.

This summer’s going to be AWESOME! Got anything planned? Now, just like last year, I’m going to tell you about a game we regularly play: The Kicking Game

SwingsetAs you can see, this game involves kicking. Here’s how to play. One person sits on a swing (person A) while another holds a ball (person B). Person B has to throw the ball at Person A’s feet and A has to kick the ball as hard as they can, making the ball soar. The object for person B is to catch the ball in the air so he can get a turn on the swing and switch places with person A.  This makes it fair when there aren’t enough swings for everyone!

Also: Can anyone name what show all the kids on the street are named after? Put your answer in the comments! This is my newest drawing over here!Canada-drawing-seal

Later!

#1kid

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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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Book Worm

Hey, peeps! Welcome back to Road2Gold!

Sorry about that crazy long wait… Academics, sports, and stuff like that have been keeping me from blogging.

Okay so I’ve been reading A LOT lately. Cuddling with my cat and my Nook on my giant leather chair we call The Chair of Wisdom.  I’ve never really discovered how much I like romance novels until this year. And paranormal romance has also caught my attention this past summer.

In June, I read Howl’s Moving Castle. I really was hoping it would be like the stellar animated movie but no… man…

During the Awesome Trip, I read the Talisman series by Brenda Pandos. It’s a part of the Vampire Genre, which I really don’t like, but this was EXCEPTIONAL! I cried, laughed, giggled, and I would not stop talking about it with my family. You can imagine my brother’s annoyance on our vacation.

The next book I read was a Supernatural YA Romance. OH MY GOSH! It was the best book EVER! The book is called Halflings by Heather Burch. It is about half angel half human beings protecting a teenage girl in Missouri. If you like romance novels, you will LOVE the Halflings series!

The second book in the Halflings series is Guardian. It just came out and I snatched a copy instantly. The third and final book is called Avenger. It’s not out yet! AAAAH! March 27th Avenger comes out! When will that date come?

What kind of books do you like to read? What is your favorite book or book series?

I’ll see you next time, peeps!

#1kid

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