Speedo Junior Champs and Seagulls SC 2017

Speedo Junior Champs and Seagulls Short Course 2017

Looking strong at Seagulls SC champs

Speedo Junior Champs and Seagulls Short Course 2017

eThikwini Speedo Junior Champs acts as the official opening of the swim season.  This is a championship for swimmers in the 13 & Under age group.

2017 Championship dates, 22-24 September.  It is a tradition that we create childhood cancer awareness at this particular swim meet.  We make our gold awareness ribbons, cook for the three days of the gala and on 22 September we set off to Kings Park swimming pool for the first day of Speedo Junior Champs.

September is Spring-time in Durban and we this year we experience extreme tropical weather.  Weather builds up, a storm breaks just to start another build-up after the rains. High seas, strong winds, and flooding in and around Durban is at the order of the day.

We arrive at the pool and settle in after warm-up.  50-meter freestyle heats and the 200 IM (timed final) are on the program for the first day.

Monica secures lane 4 in the Women 10-10 50 freestyle, in a time of 31:98.

KZN Junior Champs 2017 tropical storm damage stadium

Damage at Kings Park pool after the tropical storm

Extreme heat and humidity build-up throughout the day.  By the time we arrive at the pool, a strong wind is blowing.  We are just happy that we are inside the stadium as stormy weather is brewing.  Next moment our hearts nearly stopped as we hear a loud BANG!  A stadium window blew out.  Fortunately, there are no injuries.

Swimmers continue with the heats.  Monica gets ready to swim the 200 IM when the master of ceremonies calls Officials to a meeting.  The maintenance supervisor advised that the building is not safe to continue with the gala.  The wind is blowing so strong that it lifted a roof sheet and it blew out the glass window mentioned above.  We have to evacuate.

We learn later that some roof sheets fell into the pool just after we left.  Imagine that there are swimmers in the pool when these roof sheets come tumbling down!  We are all relieved that we left when we did and kudos to the stadium’s management for making the call in time.

A future date for the KZN Junior Championship will be announced.  The storm builds up while we drive home.  Soon after we arrive, it breaks with howling winds, lightning and rain not seen before.

Severe damage to several buildings and flash flooding. Kings Park Swimming Pool did not escape.  Roof sheets and several windows were blown out.  The stadium is closed pending repairs.

Swim meets will take place at the 25-meter outdoor pool until Maintenance finish roof and window repairs.

Seagulls SC Champs 2017

Swim to inspire friend

Meeting up with an old friend from Gauteng at Seagulls 2017

We swim Seagulls SC Champs 2017 three weeks after the indoor pool at Kings Park closed for repairs.  The gala is, as usual, packed with clubs arriving from all over South Africa.

It is always good to meet up with old friends. Monica and one of her 2015 Swim to inspire medal recipients to run into each other at Seagulls and it is clear that this friendship is here to stay. Our swim friend still looks up to Mica for inspiration. She changed clubs and swims in a difficult age group. It is good to see how our friend takes a stand with swimming as she progresses through the age groups.

Seagulls SC is one of two short-course meets we swim every year.  However, with Kings Park long-course pool closed for repairs, we are set to swim more short-course than long-course galas.

Monica is hungry to race after scratching from other meets due to a recurring respiratory infection.  The one thing about being ill is that you get a lot of rest.  Our little Seabiscuit is ready to race and it shows at this swim meet.

Unforgettable swims:

Seagulls SC champs silver relay medal

Four ten-year-old NCDST female swimmers taking on the eleven-year-olds at Seagulls SC champs 4 x 50 SCM freestyle relay

Mica competes in the 10-10 age group.  The exciting part of Seagulls is the relays.

It is the first time that Mica joins her club to swim relays and the girls place second in the Girls 11&U 4 x 50 SCM relay in a time of 2:20:43.  Our team consists of four 10-year-old swimmers competing against two teams with four 11-year-old swimmers each.  Quite a proud moment for the club, I would say!

Monica swims the first leg (50-meters) in 30:85!  We are ecstatic about her time!

Relays always fire Monica up.  We do sometimes forget that she is just 10-years-old as she normally competes with the eleven or twelve-year-old swimmers.

Mica does not disappoint.  Besides being fast she continues to display some savvy, thinking on her feet (so to speak) in the pool.

We will always remember Seagulls SC 2017 for two races.  The first is the 100m backstroke.  Monica holds back in the first part of the race and keeps the best for the last length with great underwater work. This earns her first place.  She swims a personal best in a time of 1:20:22.  (For our US friends, that is a 1:12:22 yards time.)

Best of this is that Monica made this decision on her own – it was not part of the race game plan.

The second race is the Girls 9-10 200 SCM IM, which Monica swims in a personal best of 2:50:14.  (USA short course yards time of 2:33:28.)

Why did Monica fall ill every six weeks?

Seagulls SC Champs 2017 medals

Personal bests and gold for Mica at Seagulls

On day three disaster hits.  Monica wakes up congested with a tight chest.  We administer our normal preventative medication (yes we do have a TUE but the medication is cleared and on Drug-free sport’s green list).

We leave for the pool hoping that her condition improves as the day progress.  Sadly, it did not.  By lunchtime, Monica was really not feeling well and we scratched the 100 Butterfly event to go home early and attend to her needs.

We will decide on the last day whether or not we need to scratch or swim.  The last event is 50 backstroke.  Monica’s chest clears up, she has no fever during the night and we leave to finish Seagulls SC champs on Friday.

As mentioned in our previous post, we face this issue every six weeks.  There is clearly a pattern.  The weekend after Seagulls  Monica develops a fever and we just keep her in bed sleeping as it is the best medicine.

This is it! We really had it with this recurring infections.  Back to our GP as Mica’s fever is a concern.  Following testing and an investigation, it appears as if Mica picked up a swine flu strain at Prestige Championships.  Doctor prescribe Tamiflu and some rest.  We have three weeks to recover as KZN Junior Champs moved to 29 October 2017.

Speedo Junior Champs 2017
Speedo Junior Champs 2017

Monica with her favorite Senior at Speedo Junior Champs

29 September – 3 days of swimming.  Age group Women 10-10.

We are nervous of this gala as Mica has one week of training after recovering from swine flu.  We are however dead set on swimming it and will deal with any chest infections later.  Monica is super excited to swim with her team, especially the relays.

The Gold in September ribbons is a hit with all our friends supporting the Childhood Cancer Awareness campaign.  It is the first year that we have people asking us what the Gold ribbons are for as they see everybody wearing it.

We start off with 200 IM as a timed final.  The freestyle heats completed on 22 September and swimmers will just swim the finals.  Monica misjudged her distance from the wall with back to breaststroke turn and she is disqualified as she has a slight glide before the turn.  It happens to the best of the best.  We do query it as we need to understand what she is doing wrong in order for us to work on it and not get disqualified in future.  Moving on the rest of the gala lies ahead.

Competition is strong and the mixed relay teams (100 SCM Mixed Medley and 200 Freestyle relays) place 5th and 6th respectively. In all fairness, our team members are 10 swimming against 11-year-old swimmers.

Special bond Speedo Junior Champs

building special bonds at Speedo Junior Champs

We do not expect Monica to do as well as she did due to her time from recovery.  Monica podium with every race with a mix of gold and silver medals.  She wins the best female 10-10-year old swimmer trophy.  Her friends place second and third and we have a very touching moment on the podium.

The best of is yet to come.  These swimmers might compete inside the pool but when they are done, at the end of the day, they share something special which is hard to describe.  A lot is written about the special bond swimmers share.

I always say to Monica that it does not matter which club you swim for.  At the end of the day, we all swim for KZN Province and ultimately, when these swimmers reach that stage, the country.