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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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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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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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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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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