Monday, October 26, 2009

Can you take the HEAT??

Exciting weekend in the Sykes' household this weekend - Connor competed in his very first swim meet, hosted by the Richmond Hill Aquatic Centre!

Since it was his first, we chose to limit the events to two: the 100m Freestyle and the 50m Backstroke, two of his strongest events at this stage.  Since Connor has never been officially "timed" in his events, his coaches decided to put a standard time in with his registration, which put him in the 7th heat in both of his events.

We drove up to Erin on Friday night, arriving later than we had hoped, due to a few delays relating to laundry and packing (ladies, please tell me you can relate...!)  Gary anticipated leaving work a bit earlier since we wanted to arrive in time for Connor to get a good night's rest.  Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans....

We arrived at Gary's parents' place at around 9:30pm and immediately put both kids to bed.  Connor had been coughing and sniffling for most of the trip so I was concerned that he'd wake up too sick to participate.

Well, he did wake up sick, but not from his cold - he came into our bedroom around 4am, complaining of nausea!  I think it was more a case of nerves, rather than a virus, but he crawled into bed with me anyways, while Gary retreated up to his bed for a few more hours of sleep.

Connor was in his glory the next morning - Gary made the mistake of telling him that he had to rest and take it easy... I've never seen a bigger smile on him!  He, of course, milked it for the WHOLE morning... :D

During the ride into Richmond Hill, about 1h15min from Erin, Connor was quiet and reserved.  Knowing that he was nervous, Gary pulled up Connor's favourite song, New Divide by Linkin Park and pumped up the volume - OVER and OVER...

It worked, though.  After belting out that song at the top of our lungs, we all felt better! :D

Once we arrived, not having participated in a swim meet, we were unsure of the process, but I flagged down one of the officials and she advised us to find our coach and go from there.  Gary took Connor into the change rooms and Aili and I went in search of seats in the viewing gallery.

As they practiced, I watched Connor - he seemed quiet and not as animated so I wondered what was going through his mind.  He also seemed to be putting very little into his practice so I fretted that he was not quite ready for this meet.  As the heats progressed, through first the girls, then the boys, I watched a few stragglers in several heats - children who clearly struggled through the event but valiantly finished, to a resounding cheer from the bleachers for their efforts!  At least, I consoled myself, that if he didn't do well, at least he would hear support from the crowd (his mother, loudest of all!)

Then the time came for Connor's 100m freestyle swim.  I was so nervous that I wasn't sure if I wanted to hide my eyes or puke over the balcony!  He walked up to the platform and looked our way for encouragement.

The whistle blew and the official called the swimmers to their marks.

The whistle blew again and the swimmers were asked to step down.

"Would all spectators please refrain from taking flash photos during the start?  All spectators, refrain from taking flash photos during the start."

Apparently some crazy mom was using her Speedlight to snap photos of her son, who was competing in his first swim meet... not that I know anything about that, of course...

*grins sheepishly*

The whistle blew AGAIN and the swimmers were called to the mark.  My stomach roiled and gurgled and threated to share its' contents with everyone within a projectile vicinity of at least 4 feet...

And they were off!!

Connor had a great start and came up clean, with a nice strong stroke.  He was a length ahead for the first lap (25m).

He did slow his kicking down for a length and he was neck in neck with another swimmer until his coach shouted at him from the sidelines, "KICK!"  That propeled him forward and after a clean turn, he pulled away and came in FIRST in his heat, with a(n unofficial) time of 1:36.05!!! 


The same crazy mom was jumping up and down and shouting so loudly that she forgot to take a picture of him touching the wall. *rolls eyes*

Who let that woman out of the house??

Official results will be posted on the Swimming Canada website shortly after the meet, but we used Taunia's IPod to time him so we had an idea of where he'd place. 

Here's a quick video that Gary edited together of Connor's 100m Freestyle.

Anyhow, with his confidence boosted, Connor cheered on his WEST teammates until it was time for his second event, the 50m backstroke. 

I called him over as he waited for his heat to congratulate him on his first swim and to remind him that his next heat was only 50m (2 lengths) so he needed to pour it on hard and fast.  My heart melted when I saw that as I was talking, he couldn't stop smiling! :)  What a wonderful confidence booster that race was!

As the heat before him came to a close, he centred himself (probably singing the Linkin Park song, which was running through ALL of our heads after hearing it seven or eight times...) ...

He had another great start and pulled ahead quickly in this race.

We were so happy to see him come in first again in this heat - I think his time was 0:56.01, but that is unofficial as well until we hear the results.


I'm so very proud of Connor!!  This meet was exactly what he needed to remind him that he excels at swimming and that although his swim practices (now up to four nights a week) take up alot of his free time, they're paying off!

I did learned several things this weekend, though:

1) Remember to bring a blanket or pillow to sit on... concrete bleachers can wreak havoc on your nether regions after 4 hours.

2) Wear light, layered clothing.  It's hot and humid in a pool setting for that long!

3) On that same note, don't bother spending 30 minutes with a flat iron, trying to tame curly hair.  It really was a waste of time.

4) Bring a pencil/pen/crayon/lipstick so you can cross off the heats as they progress towards your child's event, so you're not constantly asking the poor woman next to you, "What heat is this again?"

5) If you're going to travel 4 hours to a swim meet, register your child in more than two events so there is less time waiting in between events!

6) If you have your five year old with you, remember to bring more that just a colouring book and pencil crayons to fill a four hour period.  And snacks, too!

7) Remember to test your camera settings and bump your ISO up BEFORE you get your panties in a knot and forget even the most basic photography lessons.  Embrace the grain in your current photos and remember to bring a monopod next time!!

8)  Don't use your flash during the starts, lest you offend the official... ;)

Congratulations to Connor!!  Love you, buddy!! And a special thanks to my nephew, Cory, and his girlfriend, Taunia, for driving to Richmond Hill from Toronto to cheer Connor on - I'm sorry that our dinner plans were foiled! Wendy's is not my idea of fine dining!! Next time!!

And speaking of congratulations, I used my trusty site,, and chose a winner for my RAK last week:

The lucky winner is:

Angela said...
I love Calvin and Hobbes too. I am going to print the one off that you posted for my desk at work. I'm a graphic designer and I swear that is my life!
I love your layouts and I'm so glad you've found time for yourself.
October 21, 2009 7:20 PM

Angela, please email me your info and your preference of RAK (in-stock Just Cre8 standard stamp set, Tim Horton's or Shoppers Drug Mart gift card).  Thanks to all who participated - keep visiting as this was so much fun that I think I will do it more often! :D

Thanks for reading!


  1. Congratulations, Connor! The hard work sure does pay off. That's a funny story of the mom in the stands with her speedlight! Who let her into the bleachers? ;-}

    It was sure great seeing you and your family this weekend. I had a ton of fun and can't wait to do it again, hopefully soon!

    You must have been up late last night editing and posting! It was great to see the video of Connor's swim. Awesome post.

  2. Congratulations Connor! Awesome job! I had a lump in my throat just reading it and watching the video.


Thank you for your comments - I appreciate the feedback!

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