December 13, 2016
Junior Olympic Recap (see times recap below)
Last week Matt sent out a recap of the Junior Olympic meet in Morgan Hill, but I wanted to follow up with a few thoughts of my own. I have not been to this meet in a number of years and each year I hear of the results, and of course the weather. But being there, I saw just how impressive our younger swimmers are.
First, I want to thank the parents for committing to the long three-day weekend, with transportation, hotels, juggling schedules, and most significantly, athlete support. We know that these kids would not have these opportunities without you and we want you to know that the coaches greatly appreciate all that you do to support your children and the team. On a specific note, we would like to thank the Le-Nguyen’s and the Fok’s for their support with the shade structures.
Competing in this environment is not an easy endeavor, even for experienced athletes, because it takes focus and resilience on multiple levels; managing stroke technique, race strategies, trials and finals, three days of competition, taking care of your body, staying positive (and being above the weather), and maintaining a team, and good teammate, perspective on everything.
As Matt mentioned, the team finished second to Santa Clara in the sixty plus team meet. Our swimmers not only performed at a very high level, but it was much more than that. They were positive, supportive, focused, spirited, and extremely competitive. Everything we hope to create in our culture of team dedication and leadership exists within this group. They will transition well into senior swimming and into a leadership role.
I also want to sincerely thank and acknowledge the swimmers from the Senior group who participated in the meet. They could not have been better leaders and role models both in and out of the pool and they showed very clearly the seamless transition from Junior to Senior Group and from Age-Group to Senior swimming.
In keeping with a bigger picture perspective, age-group swimming can become very focused on immediate results and performances. This happens with swimmers, parents, and coaches, as the next swim and next standard are critically important. While we want to be very competitive, and I believe we are, we still look at these kids as young athletes in a long process. And it is a process that will only get more competitive and more demanding. The critical elements at this level go back to proper stroke development, race quality, embracing the process, and a healthy perspective on competition, goals, and the sport itself. No swimmer or athlete should ever feel defined by a sport or results, but being a great athlete and an inspirational teammate can truly shape a life. Balancing immediate successes with long-term growth is our primary concern and judging from what we witnessed at the meet, the near-term success was outstanding and the longer-term prospects look even better.
On an additional competitive note, the team moved into the top thirty-five nationally, and top six in California, in USA Swimming’s national club scoring. This is a true testament to the broad-based development of the team. On all fronts, the meet was a huge success and only due to the great young athletes and very supportive parents at Orinda Aquatics.
Thank you again and congratulations to everyone.