Thursday, June 19, 2014

Noah’s first ever swimming competition!

Sunday, June 15th was Noah's first ever swimming competition. Here is a picture of Noah from that very day! : )
Kids had a choice to order a lunch for 800 yen, which was a pretty great price or you could bring your own lunch. Noah's not really much of a seafood eater, and not knowing what was in the lunch, I decided it would be best to pack him a lunch. So that's what I did. It was just a very simple lunch. A ham and provolone cheese sandwich inside those Costco dinner rolls. I did skillet fry the ham for a minute or two and melted the cheese a tad. The rolls were Miracle Whipped, lol. : )  Also for a class or school field trip, I don't mind putting 3 fries and some veggie in there, but for a swimming competition lunch, I didn't want any fries, because anything with grease would slow Noah down. Just a light sandwich and some mini grapes, simple and healthy. They only got 30 minutes for lunch anyways and I figured this was enough, plus time to take a bathroom break if need be and also have some time to chat with friends. : ) 

I did however pack Noah an extra sandwich, just in case. : ) And yes he ate it! : ) This is exactly what Noboru, Branden and myself also ate too. Same type sandwiches exactly and with grapes also. 
The note a month beforehand did mention to bring snack bars that give protein or energy, they also specifically said hard candy and chocolate was also allowed, because it gives swimmers energy before they swim their race. Which is why I packed these. 
The big day! There was a fairly long line to get in. The swimmers zipped in/were allowed in, it was us parents and extended family members that had to wait outside the building. There were also *many * big limousine buses from the other swimming schools. 

Yep only about 6 benches total, as I expected. : ) And yes seating was an absolute nightmare. The sign that I whited out...said the name of our specific swimming school. So these were "our" swim school benches. However, the seats were spoken for already and regardless if these people in this picture had a child swimming that particular race or not, they never shared the seats/benches with any of us. So first come first serve apparently, these folks never left the benches, not for the whole day and if they did they put a napkin or hankie down to "save" their spot. @.@ 

People brought folding chairs, leisure sheets. This is our particular swimming school where my kids swim at, however this was our first time ever swimming a competition *here* before. Yep seating sucked big time. : ( The kids in bright pink were from our swimming school. 

For the longest time we had an actual grandma type...actually sitting in front of us with a folding chair.  Visibility... totally zero! 

People were very territorial about their spot. See the blanket. 1 family even sat on their car sunshade. We could have done that too, but Noboru said..."what for, this spot sucks, why do we save and protect a spot that sucks!" I chuckled because, he was absolutely right and...had to laugh because it's sometimes just better than getting mad. And we sat on the floor sans anything. 

Many of Noah's former yochien classmates came and their mom's had no place to sit either. I am sure they were just as surprised as we were. All the kids on the far left were from our swim school. 

A couple other swimming schools right here. 

And another view/pic of the other swim schools, total swim schools were 4 swim schools total, but 1 was our swim school, so swimming against just 3 other swim schools. : )

My sweetheart Noah, I see you kiddo. And the 3 kids on the right of Noah, in this picture, 2 kids in neon and the kid in turquoise cap, are Noah's 3 friends from yochien. : ) 
Not sure if you can read their shirts but they say...Funabashi. Team Funabashi in the house!!! ; )

These kids all in pale pink are team Inzai!!! Team Chiba New Town!!! By the way, all the kids in team Inzai thought Noah was super gorgeous and he said and Branden said, every time someone from team Inzai saw Noah., they were all talking about how cute he is, blah blah blah yada yada. They learned his name and called him over all day long. @.@ Hahaha. How funny. Good kids, team Inzai!!! 

What I did and what the other 3 yochien mom's from Noah's former yochien class did was, we walked near another school's window, where there were far less people and we had a much better spot. So all these pics were taken from a different spot. Not our schools area, sorry just not enough room. 

Also here is another thing that made me upset. We were given a swim schedule a week beforehand. We highlighted Noah's races and times of race. Noah was to compete in 3 races. First one at 10:10am. Second one at 12:50pm and last one for Noah at 2:50pm. Okay, we highlighted it. Now it was 9am-ish and there we were sitting on the again, quite possibly the worst seats of the entire swim school, Father's Day morning. : ) Again it's 9am-ish, we have plenty of time before Noah's first race.. over an hour. Next thing I of Noah's former classmates/my yochien mom friend comes running over saying....Noah's about to swim!!! OMG! @.@ Really? Thanks and so I ran....Thank the lord... for my friend for informing me. And sorry this pic is blurry, but the bright side least I got a pic. If it wasn't for my friend, I wouldn't have gotten a pic at all. : ( Noah in the white swim cap. 

Look how far ahead Noah was from the other swim school swimmer. 

Noah came in 2nd place in this race. Not bad at all. : ) 

Noah walking back to his spot. This was a relay race. 2 of our yochien mom friends kids were picked to swim it too. And believe me, they were just as shocked their kid was poolside as we were about Noah. One of our mom friends was complaining to us, saying essentially..."they should have informed us" I said, "I know right, crazy" : ) 

And this was the 10:10am race. This will give you a laugh. Look at this picture again...where are Noah's goggles. @.@ Yes we packed him 2 in case of emergency and yes you can indeed see, in the blurry pic above, he was indeed wearing the pale blue pair at first. Noah was swimming this race without goggles. Our yochien friends said..."where's Noah's goggles, didn't he just have them?" Noboru and Branden also said, where's Noah's goggles? Again, we can't go ask them, we are only allowed upstairs, they are inside the swimming area. I also wondered where his goggles were, but, it's not like I could just zip downstairs and ask him. 

4 swimmers, and 1 without goggles. Hahaha. Deep breaths. Deep breaths. Just enjoy it and ask him, if you ever get the chance.  

Good luck baby. 

Noah came in 2nd place in this too, this was a 50 meter race, so back and forth. 

Noah was scheduled to swim in 3 races, however he ended up competing in about 7 total races. @.@ Same with a couple of my yochien mom friends kids'. I know right, how unexpected. This was a relay. Oh this is so funny...right about here, yet another friend of ours, walked up and said..."if Noah forgot his goggles, we have an extra pair, he can borrow" How incredibly kind really. he didn't forget his goggles and where are they? That's what I want to know too. Hahaha. That was the most wondered question of the entire day. And where is his spare pair? Again, the pool area is off limits to parents. However Noboru did walk downstairs and spoke to a coach from a totally different swimming school, he told him our son seems to have no goggles, he heard, from this coach they were lost at the bottom of the pool and would search for them during lunch. @.@ This is where you need those Bewitched powers that Samantha had, where you could just freeze the entire swimming school of people and go downstairs and find the goggles, place them in Noah's hand and them unfreeze the entire room. But just doesn't work that way. 

A confident hand on the hip, as he should. : ) Noah's been swimming since age 3 at this very school, he has some great skills. Awww. : ) 
The seating sucked, it just... honestly did. However, there's no point of letting it ruin our whole entire day and bring down our whole family vibe. And besides shouldn't we be focusing on Noah's wonderful swimming and his first time swimming at a competition ever. I think so. a certain point, we just didn't care about the seating or lack of seats or fairness from our fellow swim school folks who hogged the seats all day long. It is, what it is and you can't change that. And yes...I did worry about Noah's eyes without goggles... because he does suffer from eye allergies, especially in this season Spring/Summer, he actually gets eye drops from Branden's eye doctor every Spring. So, yeah I worried if he would be itching his eyes or if it bothered him more so... than say a person without eye allegries. But again...wasn't gonna dwell on the goggles...goggles...goggles 24/7. I just wanted to enjoy Noah swim. 5 swimmers about to compete down below. This was a relay. Noah waiting for his teammate to swim back so he could jump into the pool and get his swim on. 

This is the prettiest dive, I have ever managed to take a pic of and it come out crystal clear. Noah's dive is so beautiful here...look at that coach from our swim school in hot pink..even he had to look. Man...Noah looked like a flying squirrel or something. : ) Very cool...totally airborne. I will make a copy of this pic and put it somewhere for Noah, photo frame, charm for his backpack, something. One of the best pictures of Noah's diving. Wow, so proud of you Noah! Yes, even without your goggles, you so totally rocked it baby! A dive like that from an 8 year old, holy goodness!

Noah chatting with a team mate. 

These are like high schoolers or something. These kids had us all... in awe!

Noah finished his lunch. That's Noah's swim bag with the Spongebob charm on it to the left and the blue backpack is also his too. He was drinking a frozen Calpis pouch drink. 

Noah came up to say hi during the lunch break. The coaches were sweeping the pool for Noah's goggles (yep that's not embarrassing at all, hahaha) meanwhile and they did not find them. Branden went down there and he found Noah's goggles. Branden said...he said..."hi everyone, please check your bags and stuff because my brothers goggles are missing and with all these people down here...more than likely they were probably tossed in another bag by mistake so please if you could...please check." Branden is very polite never accusatory and yep he found them.  And so kids all checked and sure enough...Branden did track down Noah's goggles. : ) But Noah swam with the black pair for the rest of the day though, which are in this pic in his hand. : ) Branden made sure Noah was taken care of and would pop down there from time to time. Peace of mind for me, he's a kid too, so he can slip by without coach detection. Hahaha. : ) 
Hi gorgeous, I see you talking to one of your friends. So glad to see some goggles on your head though. Huge relief. Hahaha. Especially since, like I said, Noah suffers from allergy eyes. Branden has regular allergies/like normal allergies, every spring. But Noah has just allergy eyes. : ) 

The other swimming schools were given just 1 bench each, but they would share it. Like when your kid was swimming, you would sit, and then after your kid swam, next person's parent would sit down, they took turns. Shared the seating. Our swim school parents however didn't want to share the seating or take turns at all. They glued their butts basically to the seats for the whole 8 hours or however long we were there. Which is why I was here...and stood behind another school. Just easier and fewer parents. 

Another of Noah's races, with goggles. 

Noah and his graceful dive, wonderful leg extension. That other kids was more of a canon ball or flop, sorry. : ) 

And Noah's in the lead. 

Still in the lead...

Noah and the kid in the turquoise cap are getting closer. Pick up the pace kiddo. 

Noah you are in front by a hair...but he didn't smack the end of the pool fast enough the other kid smacked the pool before Noah. Bummer...but it's alright. He learned from time he'll stretch his arm super long and smack that end of the pool. Branden teased him about that and he's a swimmer too, so he knows.
At this point, I can tell the kids are getting tired. Noah has been going like a race horse all day long. I can see my baby's face and instantly know...he's tired. He's 8 years old, I think he did wonderfully and boy did he learn a lot. 

They had yet another relay race and this time they had to wear a jogging/track suit. Thank goodness Noah wasn't in this race. : )

Wet clothes are heavy as all heck, as you know and it was hard for the kids to take them off and put them on the next person. Fun to watch though. 

And this was "supposed" to be Noah's last race for the day. The 2:50pm race. 

The backstroke.

Noah came in 3rd place for this race. 

Noah siting down next to his former yochien friends. 
What is this. Well, a group of girls Branden and Noah swim with on Thursdays swam this event and they told Branden, their parents couldn't come to this event... so if we could take pics of them and then email them the pics, it would be totally appreciated. So, all day long whenever I had my camera out, I had a group of 4 girls and one 6th grade boy making funny poses and stuff at me, pretty much all day long. So, they could make pics out of them. Meaning Branden could email the pics to them and their parents could print out their pics. So all day long besides taking pics of Noah, I would be taking pics of these silly girls and 1 silly boy! Here are a few of the *many* of them that I took. I bet the other schools many kids does this western lady have now? 4 daughters and how many sons? Hahaha. : ) Here they were posing for me. 

They are like older sisters to Noah. And why didn't Branden swim this...because he's busy with studying for his final. So he had no time to train for this.  But yep this pic is funny. Noah has his older "sisters" he rides the swim bus with every Thursday and he has his former yochien friends on the other side of him. Surrounded by friends. Real good friends. 

R doing the eye pose...on another picture I took, they were doing a walking type silly pose and it reminded me of the cover of Abbey Road. Crazy kids! Hahaha. : )  Yep every time I stood up with my camera I had 4 girls posing, people seated would turn around...who is taking their picture...they'd wonder. Me...just me. : ) 

The closest bestest swimming friends, you ever did see. Noah was saying goodbye meanwhile to his yochien friends. : )  I think I will make a copy of this pic and frame it and put it on Branden's desk in his room. : ) The girl second from the left is from our town, she will be in JHS next year and she has a little brother in Noah's class/grade they are real good friends too. : )
After the swimming competition, we were all pretty exhausted and a tad hungry, so we went to the Ohsho. Noah had ramen and fried rice. Swimming makes you hungry and given Noah swam in a ton of races he was starving! He was so hungry.

Noboru waiting for his meal, he had ramen and 2 orders of gyoza. Branden and I enjoyed our meal too, man it was nice to relax after a long day like that.

Oh and you remember how on the last picture of Noah swimming I said his "last race" at 2:50. I put it into quotations. Well, the reason is because we assumed it was Noah's last race of the day, since that was what the schedule said. Also factor in, the swim school only has squatty potty type toilets. And there are only 2 toilets for girls/ladies. With so many people ( felt like a billion) it was hard as heck to try and use the restroom in there. I did go and pee once around 10:45am but I can't use squatty potty's so well and so I avoided going to pee again. Branden wanted to pee also but the boy's toilet was full most of the day @.@ So, after the last race, Branden and I walked to my regular grocery store which is only about 2 minutes away on foot. They have regular toilets there and so we both went to the restroom, and then we walked back. When we came back my yochien mom friends said, you missed Noah swim. He was in the last relay of the day. I said it wasn't on the schedule, they said, they were surprised too. So..anyway that's what happened. I felt really badly for missing that.

The pros of Noah swimming that day. I'm so glad he swam, because he has never swam in a competition before and he now has the experience under his belt. And next year... if he swims for our local elementary school, he will already have the experience from that. Also the elementary school races, they only let you swim in no more than 3 races because they worry about the kids getting exhausted. Plus seating is no problem...and we can also talk to our kids throughout the day and also we can have lunch with our kids. So if Noah decides he wants to represent our local elementary school next year when he is in the 4th grade, it won't nearly be this bad or exhausting for the kids. Another pro of Noah swimming this... was he got to spend a whole day with his former yochien friends. They had just the best day hanging with each other again. Another pro or plus of Noah swimming the competition was he enjoyed the team spirit and how cool that feels being on a team and such. Also it gave him confidence that yes...Noah you are a good swimmer and you do have skills. So for Noah it was a wonderful day.

The cons from that day. The seating. The lack of seating or taking turns or fairness was just crazy. And for that reason, we would probably... not want either of our kids to swim for our swim school like this again. You know how hot and humid it's been lately, and being upstairs with all those people breathing and sweating. It was just not the most pleasurable day we've ever spent, let's put it that way. Also, the schedule wasn't 100% correct or kid was swimming in other races not even listed. How can we be at the window ready to take a picture when my child's name isn't even listed to swim until 10:10am. I mean...hello, get it together people please! Unless you wanted to stand at the window the entire day and not go pee at all, then you could ensure you never missed a race. The schedule wasn't 100%, I felt badly for missing Noah's last race which wasn't listed, but you wasn't listed and my bladder was bursting, and I had to pee. If it was listed sure I would have held it and took pics, but you know...I'm not a mind reader or future teller either. I can't know if he's gonna swim unless they tell us and it frankly wasn't listed. 
And no, for what it's worth we didn't tell Noah at all during the day about seating or any issues we had, because he is a worry wart and he would have worried all day about us. So we didn't mention a thing, we did mention it at dinner after it was over, but it was just lightly mentioned. 

The bright and most positive silver lining from that day was our swim school actually won this thing! No medals or anything were given to individuals coming in 1st or 2nd place, this was just simply swim school versus swim school type thing and just happy and thrilled our swim school came out ahead. Although the kids and folks from the other swim schools were lovely and it was nice meeting or being near others who have also been swimming since age 3 more than likely too. So spending a whole day with like minded people was nice. Because in all, these are all swimming kids and we think swimming kids are like *the* coolest! : ) And most of all, so proud of you Noah. You did it kiddo. : )