The Weather Finally Cooperated

Emily Lilyestrom

The Weather Finally Cooperated

At 5:00 pm it looked less than promising.  Those who see the glass as half empty thought for certain that last night was going to look like the previous two Wednesdays – cancellation due to weather.  But by 5:30, as most were ignoring the threatening signs, the sun began to peek through the clouds and the weather finally decided to cooperate.

As the threatening gray rain clouds passed and the sun burst through, the reflection of the rays off of the sparkling water as all 116 of the Kingfish swimmers warmed up put a smile on the face of every individual on that deck last night.  We all felt as though this moment would never arrive, having missed our last two Wednesday night meets due to weather.   Arrive it did and what fun it was.

As the Kingfish started their warm ups a sea of blue engulfed the pool.  The age of the swimmers moved up the ladder as the swimmers moved down the lanes, from Lane 1 to Lane 6.  The little ones were focused on their dives and the older ones were focused on perfecting that bucket turn.  The older ones would stop and laugh with each other – knowing that for some this was their last regular B meet, as the Superstars meet stands on its own.  And the youngsters over in Lane 1 were just excited to be swimming.

And as the sea of blue engulfed the pool it hit me - 116 swimmers out of a summer roster totaling 192 – were in the pool warming up.  We had a few kickboard racers in that number, 5 to be exact, and we had a few A meet swimmers trying to perfect those off strokes.  But 116 – that is an amazing number – for a B meet.  116 is more than some of our summer competition have on their entire team.  And let me remind you, we are a neighborhood team, not a club team, seeking members from wide and far.  I would call that impressive.

And impressive is what I thought about as the meet began, with 7 and 8 year olds swimming in the 12 and under IM, some for the first time.  Or watching 6 & Under Boys and Girls swim a 25 Free for the first time, having been bumped up from Pre Team to Team only a day or two prior to the meet.  The dives were priceless, but the determination they had to reach the other end of that pool – oh to be 6 years old again.

And so many swimmers who began the night with an NT – we had some in every stroke event.   The aforementioned young Freestylers swimming the event for the first time and the Backstrokers who just wanted to touch the far wall without turning over onto their stomach – a chant you could hear from every parent lining the pool – “don’t turn over.”  But perhaps the most impressive were those swimming Breast and Fly and maybe not for the first time, but trying again to see if they could get a time.  And whether the Kingfish swimmer was 6 or 18, with the exception of one or two, every swimmer completed their race and captured that elusive time.  And the one or two who didn’t – they’ll be back.

And they’ll be back because that is what we do, as Kingfish.  We come back to this every summer.  As parents, we have summer relationships.  Friends we have had for 12 or 14 years, some of whom we really only see over the summer, and yet we always pick up just where we left off.  And the same could be said for the swimmers, many of whom go to different schools in the Fall and don’t see each other nearly as much as they would like because of their school commitments – academics, sports, student government, and after school clubs.  Yet where else would these kids want to be on a Wednesday night during the summer than swimming with their fellow Kingfish.

Their fellow Kingfish – and that brings me to why you aren’t seeing a lot of individual names in this meet summary; because last night at Cloppers Mill was about the Team – not just one swimmer, but the entirety of this Team.  All 192. 

Up on the soapbox.  We – the Kingfish – are an amazing summer swimming team.  Whether we are talking about the 116 swimmers who were present last night with the goal of finishing that race for the first time, clearing that NT, perfecting their off-stroke or simply coming away with an improved time.  Or the teammates who may not have had the privilege of diving into the luke warm water and warming up – but were there to cheer on their fellow Kingfish.  And the Kingfish, who may not have been present in body, but were there in spirit.  What an amazing group.

And the parents engrossed in their summer conversations – the parents of the 6 year olds who will be doing this for many summers to come; as well as the parents of the 18 year olds who are doing this for their last summer.  The parents who have volunteered countless hours, put together more costumes in a 6-week period than all their prior Halloweens, and had many a conversation convincing their swimmer that even Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky added time.  So as I stared out at the swimmers in the pool warming up it hit me as to just how lucky I am.  And I smiled.  Because where else would I want to be on a beautiful Wednesday night in the summer. 

Go Kingfish!