A pool overlooking the Gulf of California in Puerto Penasco.
What was I thinking when I named my blog “Bleuwater” back in 2014? Today, I’m wondering why did I come up with such a difficult, hard to spell name?
I blame it on Mom, may she rest in peace.
Her favorite color was blue. She was intense about her likes and usually dressed in navy blue. Everyone who knew her also knew blue was her color. Her favorite restaurant, where my mom and dad went for special occasions, was called the Bleu Dolphin, with the French spelling of blue.
She took me there a couple times for a cup of chowder and Dungeness crab cocktail. I was wildly impressed as a child by the restaurant, the food and the name. My mom thought the name was “highbrow.” Her world was defined by things and people she’d call highbrow or lowbrow.
When I started by blog, I was living in a world of water. Summers at the beach and six days a week at the pool as a swim mom. I was so involved with my kids’ swim team that I earned a polo shirt embroidered with the team logo and “Extreme Swim Parent.” I loved to wear that shirt to parent teacher meetings at my kids’ school. The look on the teacher’s face was well worth it!
There’s the story of the name of my blog. Nine years later, perhaps I’d like to change it, but I’ll hang onto “Bleuwater” in memory of Mom and my love of the ocean, lakes and pools.
If you’re a blogger what’s the story behind your blog’s name?
On again, off again with swimming. Looking back through my old posts, I see I’ve been in this loop before. I try to be consistent with swimming, then something — mostly weather — gets me off track. This year it was called winter. Last two times I went lap swimming, I was cold the entire time. I felt it in my bones. Then I was up to Seattle and back home with COVID.
I wrote “Consistently Inconsistent” HERE. It’s one of many similar posts I’ve written since I began lap swimming and US Masters after my kids left for college. As a dedicated swim mom, I missed being around the pool and my swim friends. I dove in scared to death and learned to swim four strokes with my kids’ team, but at noon Master’s, which is for anyone over age 18.
My first practice, I was terrified and thought I’d sink halfway across the pool. I couldn’t breathe. I was about to have a panic attack when the coach assured me he wouldn’t let me drown. He gave me a drill called Six-Kick Switch. It evened my breathing, gave me something to focus on, helped my balance — and basically calmed me down. He told me to use that drill anytime in practice I needed. He also let me use fins, which is akin to training wheels. (You kick on your side, take a breath after six kicks while taking a stroke to switch sides and repeat.)
Later today, I’m back in the pool at the YMCA. I tried to go last week and as luck would have it, the pool was closed due to filter and pump issues. I’m feeling flutters in my stomach and a bit shaky. But I’ve got the tool of Six-Kick Switch. I’ll let you know how it goes.
What activities are you consistent with and which ones do you start and stop?
As a swim parent, I saw my share of obnoxious swim parents. And I had my own moments of not being able to contain myself — although not to the point of punching a ref out — or yelling at a coach.
I saw so many parents taking over their kids’ sports, coaching from the stands, and yelling at their children when they had a less than awesome swim, that I wrote weekly articles with sports parenting tips. You can read them on SwimSwam Parent Tips on my blog or on SwimSwam HERE.
We hear about “those” parents in the news. Their videos of violence on the field or gym go viral.
I saw an article today that had the perfect solution. Duct tape.
Last July, a woman on a flight from Dallas to Charlotte bit a flight attendant, then tried to open a door to the plane while screaming. Crisis was averted when she was duct-taped to her seat.
An excellent start! Now let’s get out the duct tape for sports parents, who need to sit down, shut up and remember that Pee Wee football is not the Super Bowl. In Mississippi this month, an umpire presiding over a ballgame played by 12-year-olds was punched in the face and given a black eye by a woman wearing a Mother of the Year shirt who had been thrown out of the stands for cursing. “It gets harder and harder to staff these tournaments because no one wants to listen to the verbal abuse and run the risk of what happened to me happening to them,” the umpire, Kristie More, told WLBT.
Like other forms of bad behavior (deaths in car crashes are way up), hyper-reactive-sports-parenting seems to have spiked during the pandemic, when tempers have been running as hot as Bidenflation. Even before that, anyone who was thinking about helping out the kids by signing up to be an umpire or a referee would have been smart to buy a Kevlar jacket and make sure his insurance was paid up. “There has been a huge drop off in the number of available referees and officials in youth sports due to the obnoxious behavior of parents,” Rick Wolff host of WFAN radio’s “The Sports Edge” told The Washington Post in 2020.
You’ve all heard about the controversy swirling around transgender Lia Thomas winning events at the Ivy League and NCAA championships.
First, as Kaitlyn Jenner said, Thomas isn’t breaking any rules — she followed NCAA stated rules. Jenner also said it’s not fair for someone who went through male puberty to compete against women. They are taller and stronger. They have bigger hearts, lungs, feet and hands. Those things don’t change with hormone suppression.
The swimmer who got bumped out of finals by one place (she was 17th and there are only 16 spots) wrote a letter to the NCAA. She’s supportive of Thomas but thinks the NCAA rules are not fair. I read she was banned from Twitter for expressing her opinion.
I know several women swimmers who competed against Thomas at the Ivy League champs and NCAAs. I watched them when they were young race against my daughter. The woman who got second place at the Ivy Leagues Champs to Lia Thomas in the 1,650 (the mile) used to race my daughter in So Cal. She was younger and would be in the lane next to my daughter, drafting at her hip. My daughter couldn’t shake her but would touch her out in the end and say “Who is that?!”
I feel for this young woman who lost the title of Ivy League Champion. I wonder how her parents feel?
Prior to 1972 and Title IX, there were few opportunities for women in college sports. Since then, we’ve taken women’s athletics for granted. Yet 50 years ago, most colleges didn’t have women’s sports.
Her freshman year of college was pre-Title IX, and there were limited opportunities and college programs for women. She was training with Jim Montrella for the ’72 Olympic Trials and didn’t want to change up her training regime, so her freshman year she was a commuter at UC Irvine and lived at home with her parents. She said during those days she swam 11 practices a week and lifted weights.
Looking back, she said it was unfair that the women stayed at home and didn’t get to experience college life.
“All of a sudden when school began, there would be all girls in our training group. The fast guys went off to swim at UCLA and USC. We were freshmen and sophomores in college, and we stayed with our club team to train. We lost that experience of being a freshman away at college.”
Prior to the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, women weren’t allowed to compete in the marathon.
When I was in high school, one of my friends and I joined the Boys Golf Team because there wasn’t a girls team. We went to practice every day, but we never once got to compete in a match. We were not the worst players, either.
My daughter and her friends who swam, put in years of hard work and sacrifice beginning at age five. They benefitted so much from swimming and being part of a team. I’m glad my daughter had that experience. I hope that other women get the same experience, too.
What are your thoughts on women’s sports? Did you know how limited the opportunities were 50 years ago?What are your experiences with women’s sports as a mom or competitor?
I am guilty of over planning vacations. I did this when I was first married and my husband and I would leave Palm Springs to return to my home state of Washington. I’d bring my Daytimer with me and schedule visits with friends and relatives — sometimes on the half hour.
Honestly, I’m not that bad anymore. But this year, after moving from our former home of 28 years in December 2020, we decided to stop for two days in Palm Springs. It’s on the way to the coast after all. We stayed with my dad, took him out to dinner and spent the next morning with him. My husband had meetings with his boss and met with others (they’re still working remotely). These were the first in-person encounters since March 2020. I visited with one of my former swim parents who remains a close friend. I got my hair done by my hairdresser who needs to move to Arizona. That’s a lot to pack into the “start to our vacation.”
Once at the coast, our VRBO was still 24 hours away. We stopped in with other dear friends that we haven’t seen in a year. We had dinner with them, spent the night and hung out until check-in time.
FINALLY — we made it into our VRBO and said “Whew! It’s time for vacation.” My husband set up his remote station and immediately the phone began to ring. It’s his “week off” which turned into days of driving, meetings and no down time. The rest of the time he’ll be working remotely.
I had scheduled an interview. It’s for a story I’m writing about a swim mom of a 14-year-old who is breaking Missy Franklin’s records. I figured if my husband is working, I can squeeze a little work in, too.
Then I got an invitation to a luncheon tomorrow. My friend said I have to go because it’s in a historical landmark and it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. I told her I can’t go because although I packed a few sundresses, I only brought a pair of flip flops and running shoes. She told me either one is fine. I begged to differ for a fancy ladies’ luncheon. She told me to check out the two boutiques in Summerland, which are two blocks from our VRBO.
I told her they wouldn’t have my size. I have very big feet for a 5’4″ frame. Guess what? I found two pairs of sandals that fit. They are a bit dressier than my beach flip flops, but probably not dressy enough. I’ll be gone from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. tomorrow. We have dinner scheduled with friends tonight and over the weekend.
When is it truly vacation? What is vacation? I’m ready for the beach and a good book. I’ve brought a stack of them. If I keep up at this rate, I’ll need a vacation from my vacation. Maybe after a year of mostly solitude, being with friends and family is the vacation?
How do you vacation? Do you over schedule? Or are you able to check out and relax?
I wrote a an article called Why Isn’t Caeleb Dressel a Household Name? for SwimSwam in 2018. Dressel had competed in NCAA championships and had broken barriers like the 40-second mark in the 100-yard freestyle. But at the time, only swim nerds knew his name.
After this past week, I’m sure he will be better known, but after the Olympic’s fades away will his name fade, too?
Swimming like gymnastics are collegiate sports and there’s not much attention to them until Olympic years. It all comes down to money in my opinion. Football and basketball are money makers for schools. Swimming loses revenue. No fans are buying tickets, the meets are free and sparsely attended. The pool costs money to maintain.
During my years as a swim parent, I wondered how to get swimming to be more popular. In 2019 the International Swimming League began holding competitions. Have you heard about it? There are teams in the US and abroad filled with the world’s swimming stars. The teams compete against each other and it gives swimmers a chance to earn money, race and hopefully get more fans to appreciate swimming. But it isn’t televised, at least I haven’t seen it. I think it’s livestreamed.
Here’s the article I wrote that mentions Caeleb Dressel and wonders how to get more people into swimming:
We witnessed amazing things this past weekend watching the 2018 Men’s D1 NCAA meet. Who can believe that a human being broke 40 seconds in the 100 free, or 18 seconds in the 50 free—not to mention 43 seconds in the 100 fly? Caeleb Dressel should be a household name this week after breaking through these barriers at his final meet as a senior swimming for the University of Florida.
We watched from home on the computer, something that wasn’t possible years ago. The livestream was clear, the narration entertaining and professional. I remember trying to watch one of our friend’s kids at Trials in 2008 and the production quality wasn’t great and the livestream paused repeatedly. Swim coverage has improved significantly through the years, but I wonder if the audience has increased?
Of course, Olympic sports don’t get the attention at the collegiate level as the big money sports, like football and basketball. In addition, we hear heartbreaking news of universities canceling swim programs regardless of high GPAs or how many times the teams win conference meets, like the recent news of Eastern Michigan University. We have to wait every four years for the Olympics to come around to show the nation how great our swimmers are. Is there anything we can do as swim enthusiasts to change this? In all reality, probably not much. I personally don’t have the power to change TV schedules or viewing habits, but I can work on several little things.
Here are a few ideas about how we can help the popularity of swimming:
Scorekeeping. We’ve had friends come to meets and they don’t know what’s going on because there’s never a score posted. In other sports, you know which team is winning. Is it possible to post scores often and prominently at meets where they are keeping team scores?
Bring a friend to the pool. Whether your team has a “bring a friend day” or you ask one of your child’s friends to visit practice, we can reach out to more kids and introduce them to swimming.
Keep swimming fun. One reason why kids quit swimming is it’s “not fun anymore.” By allowing our kids time to goof off with their friends around the pool deck, either before or after practice, and keeping our attitudes light, we may keep our kids in the pool for more years.
Invite friends and family to a meet. We can share our excitement and enthusiasm with our friends and family. Maybe not ask them to sit on the deck with us for two or three days, but have them stop by for an hour or two. Explain what’s going on so they can follow along and maybe they’ll catch the swimming bug.
Be an ambassador. Talk about swimming with your non-swimming friends and share how much the sport has helped your kids. Encourage friends at any age to get into the pool and enjoy the great feeling of floating in the water. It’s never too late to join a Masters team.
Are you watching the Olympics? What are your favorite sports to watch? Do you keep track of those sports on off Olympic years? Also, what do you think of this year’s Olympics with all the ups, downs, and drama?
The excitement comes from all the personal stories. As a swim mom for more than 15 years, I get swimming. I understand all the sacrifice, hard work and life choices these swimmers and families have gone through.
I’m caught up watching the US Olympic Trials for swimming — Wave 2. Because of COVID they broke Trials into Wave 1 and Wave 2 to have less swimmers in the stadium as well as spectators. Wave 2 — the faster wave — is going on now.
In addition to the famous Olympic swimmers in the meet trying to punch their ticket to Tokyo, I still know a few of the swimmers personally. That makes it incredible to watch.
Here’s one of the personal stories that has touched me. We’re watching a Cal swimmer who grew up in Southern California named Trenton Julian. He had a 200 fly swim last night that was the gutsiest swim I’d ever witnessed. The 200 fly is grueling and swimmers pace and control themselves so they can make it all the way through and finish strong. Trenton let it rip. He went all out as hard as he could the entire time. He had a huge lead until his body started to slow down during the final lap. He got touched out by a few tenths of a second and he ended up third overall — which was were he was seeded at the start. Tonight is finals for the 200 fly. The top eight swimmers will compete for the top two spots and a ticket to Tokyo.
What gets my heart about his story is his family. His dad Jeff Julian is a well-liked and respected coach in Southern California of the Rose Bowl Aquatics. I interviewed him for a story HERE. Jeff is best friend’s with my daughter’s club coach — who later became my Masters coach. We’ve known Jeff Julian as an acquaintance on the pool deck for years. Trenton’s mother is Olympic medalist, Kristine Quance-Julian.
Jeff, who was also a 200 flyer himself, has been battling stage four cancer and has a WordPress blog of his story HERE. He’s currently cancer free but it’s been a road of ups and downs. I can only imagine how it’s affected Trenton during his college and high school years. I’ll tell you what. It’s given him grit and courage. He’s faced a lot harder things than a race at Olympic Trials. He swims like he’s not afraid of anything. Just like his father.
Best of luck to Trenton tonight! Along with our other friends swimming for their spot on the Olympic team — or just going after their lifelong dreams and enjoying the big stage.
Here’s a recap of this morning’s swims. This is a link to the livestream for Olympic Trials. Prelims are every morning, with semis and finals at night through the end of the week. Finals are broadcast on NBC.
I’m curious, how much to you follow the Olympics? What’s your favorite sport to watch? Do you know the swimmers?Or athletes?