Lessons learned at a swimming carnival

As the children marched up to the blocks, you danced.
As the children stood awaiting instructions, you pirouetted.

In your pink swimming hat, goggles and swimming costume with frills around your legs you turned and turned.  Arms in the air, outspread and wide. Revelling in that moment of excitement.

The whistle blew breaking you from your revery and into the water you jumped, with bubbles and splashes resurfacing and ready to swim.

We had placed you in Lane 8 closest to the edge of the pool "just in case" you got tired and wanted an easy way out but our expected outcome was not yours - in fact I doubt escaping and taking the easy way out has ever been a part of your life.

It didn't matter that the race in question was breaststroke.  You paddled your way up that lane all 50 metres of it.

You would pause momentarily to smile and even wave as you swam up that lane. Your teachers encouraging you, and your school friends cheering loudly each time you raised your head above the water line.  Not once did you rest against the side, hang onto the lane marker or indeed put your feet on the bottom of the pool.  You swam with joy and delightful determination.

While I was the time keeper for Lane 8 and I had pressed the start button on that stopwatch, time stood still for me as I watched you make your way up the lane.  You smiled at me and as tears welled in my eyes and flowed down my face, I smiled and waved and cajoled and did all that I could do to encourage every stroke you made.

Anyone who understands school carnivals will know that the rules are pretty strict and when swimming breaststroke, one must not break the water with their feet and one must touch the end wall with both hands.

So when you finally made it to the end of the pool and joined the other 7 children, there was a joyous cacophony of cheers and screams that erupted at your single touch of the wall.

The young pool official, came up to me and said "You realize that due to the single touch and breaking of water that she is disqualified",  I turned, smiled and said actually I disagree.

I explained to him in that moment that she was in fact a victorious champion. That one does not necessarily have to touch the wall first to win, one just needs to be brave enough to try.

Love Sallianne

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