Man, talk about going out with a bang.

The girls wrapped up their swimming season Thursday at the annual invitational meet, which featured all six swimming teams that make up the conference they compete in. Fortunately, rather than being held in a four-lane, neighborhood pool, it was at a 10 lane high school pool.

Still, we arrived at 9:00 in the morning and walked out right at 4:00 pm. Believe it or not, everyone at the meet who were not first timers like us raved about how well run the meet was this year and how quickly it moved along. I hate to think what time we would have left had it not been well and quickly managed.

The girls all did well. C. had a couple times in the top half of her group of 40-50 swimmers, but didn’t crack the top ten. All the rest of the girls’ swims were in the lower quarter of total times. I didn’t share that with them, though. I just told them how they did in their heat. “You were third!” or “You were fifth but you passed two girls right at the end!” That was good enough for them.

I was a timekeeper in the 6 and under session. Those kids are fun to watch because they’re all kind of clueless. Some kids would stand there and stare at the crowd after the starting tone sounded. Others would jump in and then look around to see what direction they were supposed to go and what stroke they were supposed to use to get there. There were a few cryers who refused to get in this strange, new, giant pool. I’m going to miss seeing toothless L. in her swimming cap and goggles. Made me laugh every time I saw it at practice or a meet.

When each kid was done, we helped them out of the pool, pointed them in the right direction for the holding area, and told them they had done well. One girl looked at me and said, “Thanks. I’ve been practicing for years!” Cracked me up. She had no idea who I was but wanted to tell me all about it. I told the woman who was working my lane with me and she said, “Years? Was she swimming in the womb or something?”

Timing helped the first 45 minutes pass quickly. But once I was done it was another long day at the pool. It was a lovely day here in Indy, but I was thankful we were at an indoor pool and not dealing with the sun at all. Despite taking a bag of food for each girl, they ran out well before the end of the meet. Fortunately they were so distracted they weren’t whining about being hungry. Plus I promised them an early dinner at Dairy Queen on the way home.

One other funny thing from the day. There was this little kid, I’m pretty sure he was in the 6 and unders, who was rocking a Speedo. Despite being 6 at the oldest, he was already all muscular. I didn’t see him swim but I did see him in the gym where the kids were staged. There he had found a basketball and was dribbling around, going behind his back, crossing over between his legs, and then drilling high school 3-pointers. Again, he was 6. And wearing a Speedo. Safe to say this kid has some athletic ability and confidence already.

So now we’re done with swimming. It was a solid first year. The girls learned a lot and got better. We certainly learned a lot as parents, going through six weeks of practices and meets. It’s kind of a pain at times, but I think it was ultimately a positive experience for us all.

And now we can just go to the pool and hang out for the next month.