The kids you see on these teams were pretty much like any group of kids. There are some of them who cannot let pass any opportunity to grab another swimmer's leg, or mess with them while they are trying to work on their streamlines. There are some who never listen and then always ask, "What are we doing?" There are others who cannot get the hang of blowing out through their nose. There are the budding Jacques Cousteaux who try on each underwater pullout to break the world record for greatest distance traveled without breathing. There are those who hang on your every word because they want to be the best streamliner evar. And there are always those who really seem to have some skills, who might have a future in the sport.
But my very favorite thing about summer-league kids (and this was true back in the 1980s, too), is that for some reason, unlike their USA Swimming counterparts, they do not call butterfly "fly"--they call it "butter." "Do we get to swim butter now?" they ask. "I can't swim butter," they warn me before I have even told them what we are doing.
It's a great image, isn't it, swimming butter?
Well, true to my summer-league roots, I can now announce (picture me jumping up and down) that last night I swam some butter. Our pool is temporary back in its short-course configuration (we are hosting the summer-league championships this weekend), so practice was in 25-yard format. We had an open warm-up, so I decided that this was the time for me to try to swim a little butterfly, since I did not have an entire 50-meter lane looming before me. (And let me tell you: nothing looks shorter than a 25-yard lane when you see it for the first time after long-course season. It felt pretty good! The recovery was not a problem at all, and I think that is an indication of how much my mobility has come back. I could definitely feel my diminished strength during the pull phase of the stroke, but still.
And because he always chooses to show up for these momentous occasions, my shoulder doctor was at the pool again, this time not swimming but there with his 11-year-old daughter, who was practicing with her summer-league team for this weekend's championships.