Claire had a swim meet tonight and her first event did not go well, to say the least. She swam the 200 Individual Medley, which is 50 yards of butterfly, 50 backstroke, 50 breast stroke and 50 freestyle. I think her time included an extra five seconds she didn’t have before. She was butt naked last. To say she was devastated when she got out of the pool is an understatement.

She told her friend, Emma, it was her worst swim ever and she would never swim that event again. Before the event started she was more nervous than I have seen her in a long time. She did not want to swim this event. I went to calm some pre-swim nerves but I think I made it worse. Usually, when I tell her to swim fast, swim hard and have fun she relaxes a little. Today my words had the opposite effect. She was a bundle of nerves and she was convinced she was going to do poorly. It was a self fulfilling prophecy for her. She believed she was not going to do well and she didn’t. She started out great but she lost it going into the second turn and she kept losing ground from there. It was, indeed, one of her worst swims ever but I have to believe she will swim it again.

She went on to swim the 50 yard freestyle and dropped 3 seconds from her time. It gave her a boost in confidence and helped her through a tough spot. When I told her to have fun in this event she said her goal was to make me proud. Her first question to me after she swam was “Are you proud of me?” What she needs to realize is I am proud of her no matter how she performs, in or out of the pool.

I figured out the reason she was so worked up on the 200 Individual Medley ~ Claire was too worried about making me proud to focus on swimming. My guilt meter is spinning fast tonight. She and I had a long talk on the way home. I told her she started swimming because it was fun for her and she was good at it. She needs to keep focusing on the fun of it or she will get burned out before she can even prove how good she can be. I want her to focus on making herself proud with her swimming ~ my pride is always there for her. Claire can be intense and scary in her goals to be better and better. I think my job with her is to keep her focused on pride in herself.

Oh, for the love of my children…

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