Mama Mayhem

Lapping up swimming success

By Riverine Herald

SO IT looks like I might need to check out ticket prices to Paris in the next few years.

And not just because it is my favourite city in the world.

You see, that’s where the 2024 Olympic Games are being held.

No, no, I haven’t taken up Judo again. My daughters are proving to be little swimming superstars.

Both girls took out age champions at their school swimming carnival last week — Maya for under-9 and Ayla for under-13.

And Maya actually smashed the school butterfly record for her age group by something like 34 seconds.

In fact, the two girls who came after her also smashed the old record.

And to think — I was actually worried Maya might drown.

I mean, she’d never swum butterfly before and she was going to attempt an entire pool length.

But she was determined to do it because ‘‘I need to get points for my team’’. A real team player this one.

Ayla, bless her heart, took her under her wing the night before the big day and gave her a few pointers. But I still wasn’t convinced.

I had the lifeguard on standby as the starter pistol sounded, but Maya just kept bouncing through the water.

I could see her starting to tire in the final half and was ready to jump in — clothes, Palmairas and all — but the little fish just kept on pushing until the end.

And yes, once again, I was the embarrassing mother running down the side of the pool videoing and cheering her on like a lunatic. Isn’t that what parents are supposed to do?

Honestly, I can’t help it. It’s exhilarating to see your children do well. And despite my highly competitive spirit, it’s not just about winning. It’s about passion, sportsmanship and participation.

To see kids doing something they love, giving their fellow students a pat on the back, cheering each other on and just having a go is a beautiful thing.

And for me, swimming is not just a sport. It’s a survival skill.

We live in a country where a lot of our time is spent in the water — whether swimming in the pool, playing at the beach, boating on the river or enjoying lake life.

Drownings across Australia have jumped by 51 per cent in the past year.

According to Royal Life Saving Australia figures, 104 people have already drowned this summer, compared to 72 the previous year.

What’s worse is that an average of 30 children under the age of five have drowned in Australia each year for the past 10 years.

I put both girls in swimming lessons when they were three. And as tedious, expensive and stressful as it can be, it is so worth it.

It didn’t always seem that way — madly rushing to the pool in time for the lesson, to see your child obliviously chatting with the other kids instead of swimming while you’re sweating on the sidelines in 500 per cent humidity. And not just for half an hour — because it’s impossible to get both girls in at the same time.

So you continue to sit in your sweat-soaked clothes — your hair a ball of frizz — waiting for child two to finish.

Nowadays, I get in the pool and swim laps, which has made the experience much more bearable.

And then you’ve got to actually get the girls out of the pool, showered and dressed, which is another ordeal entirely.

It’s not the most enjoyable of activities, but that’s what you do as a parent and after nine years of doing that I can say it has paid off.

Now, I may be aiming a little high with the Olympics, but I can dream can’t I? After all, it’s Paris.