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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Looking Better in Black

Hey, guys! What’s up?

A while ago I mentioned in my post, Book Worm, that I enjoyed reading. Well, with the whole concussion thing, I obviously wasn’t allowed to read.
Now, a few months later, I can proudly read again with hardly any struggles.
So what am I reading now? Well, if I do say so myself, I have been pretty obsessed with the Shadowhunters lately.
Yep! I am reading the Infernal Devices Series by Cassandra Clare. Really, it’s a good story. I read the manga before I read the Clockwork angel Mangabooks and, just so you know, never judge a book by its manga. You don’t know the author’s writing style in it at all. You only get dialogue, which is cool, but there’s no color… of course. 😦
The thing that really perked my interest is the Mortal Instruments movie. That’s probably why I wanted to read the Infernal Devices anyway. I wanted to watch the movies in my local theatre so badly! But, I hadn’t read City of Bones yet.
Taking a deep breath, I broke the rules and bought my ticket to see the movie without reading the book first, something I never do. Ever.

The only other time I have done this was with Howl’s Moving Castle. A great movie, really. A must watch. cityofbonescoverbookBut, I read the book after the movie and, quite frankly, the book was a major disappointment. It was boring, not funny, not as romantic, and just not as good. The only similarity to the movie was the characters names and the title… not cool. I’ve always wondered if I would have enjoyed the book more if I had read it before I watched it. That was the case with City of Bones. I felt bad, guilty even, watching the movie. I didn’t want to ruin the book for myself.

I judge a movie by its story, characters and the cast choice, computer graphics and effects, and the soundtrack. City of Bones had… almost it all.
ClaryThe story, thank Cassandra for writing the story and book. The characters, thank Cassandra and the amazing actors. Jamie Campbell Bower and Lily Collins are some of the coolest actors and actresses I’ve pinned to my Pinterest.
Visual effects… well, they were quite good. I mean, sometimes you jump out of your seat because it looks pretty real. (Which is always good.)
The soundtrack? Major disappointment. The score didn’t even have much to it. Just a few suspenseful riffs for each song! I was at least expecting a beautiful piece for the romantic scene… no, they had to play a quite cheesy Demi Lovato song. In the entire movie, I think my favorite song would have been Bach’s Prelude in C Major. (They claim that Bach is a Shadowhunter… cute.) I have an interesting taste for music, I know.

Something interesting is that everyone had a different opinion on the movie. Like here’s a few:

My friend who went to the theatre with me: “I thought the Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) was really good. I didn’t notice one mistake and Jace is soooo PERFECT!”

Alfred: “Horrringfyingly awesome but a little too dramatic.”

Ludwig: “Probably the best modern day set film I’ve seen in a while.”

littleonionwrites: The movie, overall, was great and I really enjoyed it.  I can’t wait to read the fourth installment of TMI and hope that City of Ashes is taken to the big screen.  🙂 (you can read littleonion’s full review here.)

Rotten Tomatoes: The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones borrows ingredients from seemingly every fantasy franchise of the last 30 years — but can’t seem to figure out what to do with them. (Those rotten- gr…)

That night, I pretty much died of feels. My friend and I cried and hugged each other, a pole in the theatre, and the air (AKA Jace Wayland). To get my mind off of it for a while, I went to a pool to train a bit. Bad idea. You can’t swim when salty tears are filling up your swim goggles… it hurts.
My overall rating? Drumroll, please!KIDRIBBONS4

That’s right, 4 ribbons for City of Bones.
But really, if we’re going to give an extra half ribbon to on of the most stunning male protagonist, I think this movie would deserve it.

half-kidribbon


 I mean, come on!Jace, my love

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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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Get in the Hole!

Helloooooo! Welcome to Road2Gold!!!

The day after the Games, I went to golf camp. Now, I don’t always golf like I do swimming, but I still very much enjoy the game.

It was nice to finally find a sport this summer that didn’t involve much noise and physical activity. Therefore, my head barely hurt! Just the sun bothered my eyes which occasionally disturbed my head.

I am not amazing at golf, but I know how to play. So, going to camp is definitely a challenge when I see all the other teens driving them onto the green like a boss. 😀 No, never

Young Rory McIlroy

Young Rory McIlroy

am I intimidated when I stupidly drive ten yards. Those kids play golf like I swim. Say the teen golfer was to challenge me to a 9-hole match, I would lose with dull thunderclouds. But say I challenged him to a swimming race, I would win with flying colorful rainbows. I’m not as awesome as Rory McIlroy, but he was young once too.

On the last day of camp, we played our own ball instead of scramble tournaments. I was VERY nervous. I was like “Oh no! All the others are gonna be like wow, she hit right into the woods… AGAIN!” but it turned out a bit differently. On hole 3, it started sprinkling a little bit. We were like “Well, it’s okay.” Then, on the green of hole 4, it started down pouring, it became windy and very cold (my visor blew off my head!), and our friend couldn’t find her ball! Luckily, one of my group mates brought a giant umbrella that fit all four of us.

It was a crazy day. I lost count of how many times the group behind us yelled “FORE!!!!!” If you didn’t know, fore means that the golf ball is coming your way so take cover. We all ducked under our bags in the rain and hoped that it didn’t hit anyone else in the group. One time, it wasn’t three feet away!

I broke my favorite club, my 7 iron. I used it like I used swim goggles. It worked for almost any distance and it was one of the only clubs I was good at. On hole 6, I drove the ball out of bounds and into the woods, then took a three club length provisional, then took a swing with the 7, and crack! the head of the club sailed at least 10 yards behind me! Apparently, the pull-cart was behind me and I broke the club on the follow through!

Of course, every time we do something, we improve. And that’s exactly what I did. I had recorded last year’s scores in my phone for some reason. This year, they came in handy. Last year, I scored a 67 playing on the orange tees. This year, I scored a 73 with a concussion, in the down pouring rain, on the red tees, and with a broken 7 Iron. The circumstances weren’t very bright, just like the state championships.

Ever golfed? Ever felt intimidated because you “weren’t as good” as the others?

#1KID

THANK YOU, UNCLE MIKE, FOR THE AWESOME NEW 7 IRON! I CAN NOW SLEEP AT NIGHT. 😀

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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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