Friday, May 29, 2009

Week 2 of practice "My muscles are Sore"

We are just now finishing the 2nd week of practice. It seems to be more like training, though. J has been watched from afar doing feats in the pool that his parents dream about but would be hard pressed to try themselves.

Earlier this week, the goal was to work on the Butterfly Stroke. The kick for Butterfly is often called a "dolphin" kick. This week however, they started out with their arms in a streamline (Hands/arms straight above the head, not moving), turned on their backs and used ONLY their dolphin kick to move them up and down the pool. The effect was like doing crunches in the water but only using the legs. The length of the pool is 25 m. J was instructed to do this the equivalent of 500 m. Yes, his stomach muscles are little sore.

The other days of practice were just as difficult but not as noteworthy. The biggest struggle for the team seems to be listening to the coaches and doing what they say; lots of chatter at the wall when instructions are being given. J is annoyed by this some, he says.

Time trials are next week. And soon the first of the weekly competitions.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Practice Woes

Unfortunately for J, the water has been too cold for the team to actually practice in the pool the first two days of practice so the team has been doing calisthenics.

J has had his lifetime fill of jumping jacks, push-ups, sit-ups, walking lunges and running laps. Land exercises have also proven to be a little difficult for him. The lunges work well on his regular leg but when the weight gets transferred to the prosthetic, it buckles at the knee, as it was designed to do. For lunges, the buckling doesn't help, causing J to fall to both knees and then having to regain his balance all over again. The coaches are aware of this, but let him try each move a few times before assisting J in an adaptation.

They seem to have adapted the running speed to accommodate J's lagging behind as well. The game they play is that if you are at the end, then you have to run up to the front. J is forever trying to run to the front so the coaches not only slow down for him but also run backwards giving him plenty of time.

Despite this type of practice being J's least favorite activity in his current stage of life, he still is coming away with a smile...and begging the coach for the water and SOON.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

2009 Summer Season Begins

This is our last day before the summer team begins real practices. For the last few weeks, we have been doing 45 minute "tune-ups" every so often, giving J a chance to return to the pool since the previous summer. There are some new kids this year, and mom thinks that this could cause problems of curiosity regarding the leg, but keeps her mouth shut, she should earn a medal, too. It is hard for her to keep her mouth shut.

Returning swimmers immediately greeted J, some with hi-5s. The new swimmers, one in particular made a comment "I bet I'm better than you with that leg of yours." J just laughed, and so did the friends he had made the season before. The coaches greeted Joseph and were so happy to see him return. They told mom and dad the previous season that J has a good work ethic and natural talent in the water.

J jumped into the pool and waited for instruction. Disappointed that they were wanting the swimmers to work on drills and not use their arms, J did it anyway, making his way across the pool. The new parents got quiet almost immediately. The new swimmers were too busy catching their breath to notice.

"The tune-ups have been really fun. It felt so good to be back in the water. I love it!" says J.

When asked about the comments from the new swimmers, "Well, I don't really care. All I want to do is swim and get better each time and have fun. They'll be my friend eventually."