Courtesy of Elizabeth Wickham
This week, our daughter competes in her second conference meet. My role has changed from my days at age group championship meets. No longer do I wash countless loads of towels, play taxi driver to and from the pool, or provide healthy recovery foods. I don’t spend money on fast suits, worry if my child rests, or has finished her homework.
All of this is done without my help! My role has been reduced to sitting in the stands, watching my child swim and loving every minute of it. My first conference experience was filled with memories I’ll treasure.
Here are my reflections from last year’s conference meet:
1. I couldn’t believe it was time for the conference meet.
What happened to my daughter’s first year of college swimming?
2. I was surprised by how easy it was to find a seat.
At age group championship meets that were crawling with kids and parents—it was tough to find a seat. However, I noticed at the conference meet, the stands filled for finals.
3. I still got nervous.
Maybe it’s even worse than before—especially at prelims. I thought I’d get over that queasy, palm-sweating feeling. But, no, I did not.
4. I was looking forward to spending time with my daughter.
But, to my surprise she was on the deck with her team, and we were up in the stands with parents. She stayed in a hotel with her teammates, while we were at another hotel.
5. I met some great swim parents in the stands.
Don’t get me wrong, I have life-long friends with parents from our club team. But, parents on the college team were friendly and fun, too. I guess that’s what the majority of swim parents are like. There’s an instant connection between swim parents.
6. It’s fun to cheer, hold up signs and wave pom poms.
My kids would have killed me if I behaved that way at age group meets!
7. The conference meet gets very competitive with tons of team spirit.
It was exciting to watch how close team scores were, and winning points came down to relays.
8. Looking down from the bleachers at my daughter…
…I was amazed at how much she matured. She looked so happy and comfortable with her new family, her college team. She grew independent from us and is doing really, really well. I was happy and proud, but I wiped a few tears from my eyes, too.
What are your thoughts about conference meets?
Elizabeth Wickham volunteered for 14 years on her kids’ club team as board member, fundraiser, newsletter editor and “Mrs. meet manager.” She’s a writer with a bachelor of arts degree in editorial journalism from the University of Washington with a long career in public relations, marketing and advertising. Her stories have appeared in newspapers and magazines including the Los Angeles Times, Orange County Parenting and Ladybug. You can read more parenting tips on her blog.