Sunday, 18 February 2018

End of the Season

Today was the close out of the short course season. It was a showdown between just 2 teams and the team with the highest percentage of personal bests got the trophy for the year. I knew it would be a fun meet because the coach put them all in events in which he was sure they could beat their old time. In the end, their team didn't win the trophy but it certainly wasn't due to the Jin kids. 9 events total and 9 PRs! 
 Here's the run-down:

50 Free: He did awesome at this, cutting off over 4.5 seconds. His new pr of 38.29 is just .2 seconds off a B time!
50 Fly: He shaved off almost a second for a time of 49.47! You can see his video below.
100 Free: He crushed his old time in this by 5.5 seconds for a time of 1:25.57 and his very first B time!! To make it all even better, his teacher stopped by to watch him swim his last 2 events. Oscar was so excited to see him there!

200 Free: The last time she swam this was about 2 years ago, so we knew that she'd crush her old time. But when she took off over 46 seconds for her new BB time of 2:53.32, it was a shock!
100 Fly: She swam this earlier in the season for the first time and really enjoyed it. Today she shaved of just .18 seconds, but a best time is a best time! 
100 Breast: She cut off over 5 seconds in the event for her second new BB time of the day: 1:43.51

50 Free: Johan started off the meet with a bang, cutting off over 4 seconds for a time of 43.73!
50 Breast: He kept up the trend by cutting off over 4 seconds in this event as well. You can see the video below. Although I was happy with his progress, it kind of made me sad because he used to swim the breaststroke with the biggest smile on his face. Now he looks more like a "real swimmer" while doing it. Not nearly as cute! 
100 Breast: He did amazing by cutting off 15 seconds for a new best time of 2:02.37. I should note that he also beat most of the 9-10 year-olds in this event as well. 

Here's the video of Johan. He's the one in the orange cap at the top.

Here's Oscar below in the orange cap.

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

My First Day

 A few months ago, we decided that it was time for me to get a real job. I'd been working almost every day at the kids' school as a substitute and, while you can't beat the hours and I enjoy being involved in the kids' school life, I decided that working basically full-time for low pay and no benefits just wasn't the wisest choice. I applied to a few places before Christmas (didn't want to risk getting a job before Christmas and missing out on the big Florida trip!) A couple of week ago I had an interview at TCEQ in the HR department. If it sounds familiar, that's because that's where Young-Hoon works. Flash forward to a week and a half ago, and I got the job! Yesterday was my first day, so I thought I'd do a "First Day" shot like I do for the kids.


I have to admit it, I wasn't anticipating actually getting a job so quickly. In fact, none of the other places I applied to have contacted me. I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out though! While yesterday was spent signing papers and not really doing anything, today I got a little taste of what I'll be doing. I'm on the staffing end of HR, so (I think) I sort through resumes and applications and pass on the ones who qualify. Not sure how exciting it will be, but I'll be nice not having to deal with 20 kindergarteners in a class, and even nicer to have a bit more financial freedom! I'm sure gonna miss summer though.

Sunday, 11 February 2018

BB Bummer

Today was Irene's BB short course meet. Although she qualified for 3 races in the 2-day meet (100 IM, 50 Free, 50 Fly), we made a decision together that she'd only swim on 1 day and she chose the day with the 50 Fly. This was because, not only was the last 2-day meet a killer, but this one was supposed to be a travel meet on top of it. Plus, she chose to swim fewer events here so that she could also participate in the regular meet with the boys next weekend. In the end, the pool where it was supposed to be held (1 hour away) was not able to host at the last minute, so it was moved to an outdoor pool about 20 minutes away. This would have been fine, since Irene and her team practice outdoors all the time, we figured they'd have an edge. But of course, today turned out to be one of the coldest days of the year. 

So Irene and I got up and out to the pool by 7am today. It was about 32 degrees and pretty windy. Not ideal. Luckily, she was in the first event of the day (50 fly) so she got to stay warm until warm-ups, do her swim almost immediately, and we were out of there! She didn't get a personal record, but her time of 41:56 was still a BB time and good enough to quailfy her for the finals later in the afternoon. She was due back around 1pm to participate in a relay, but just as we arrived, the thunder rolled in and the pool was cleared. After about 20 minutes of uncertainty, the entire rest of the meet was canceled. While it was a bummer for her to not get to swim her relay or in the finals, I think everyone was a bit relieved because it was pretty miserable out there! I'm sure she'll be back next year anyway.

Sunday, 21 January 2018

The B Champ

Irene had a big weekend. She had her first really "big" swim meet for kids who had a B time or over. Now, at the end of the last long course season in June, she got qualified for and got to swim in a meet for kids with a BB+ (which is actually faster), but she only qualified for 1 event so it was a quick 1-day meet. This weekend she was qualified to swim 9 events with her times. Swimmers were limited to 3/day, however, so she only got to swim 6. So when I say this is her first "big" meet, I mean it's the first time that she has had what basically equals 2 meets on back-to-back days. When she hits 11, this will be standard, but for 10 and under kids, usually they only have 1-day meets. Anyway, it was a big deal for her and only a handful of her teammates were there with her. She was pretty nervous on day 1, but she did great!
Here's the rundown:

50 Freestyle - She shaved off almost a second in this event, giving her a time of 35.36. She's now just .17 of a second of of a BB time.
100 IM- This has been her "white whale" this season. In her first race this season, she nabbed a BB time, but has been having trouble coming close to it again. While she didn't beat that old time yesterday, she came very close with her time of 1:31.74 and showed that she's back on track!
50 Fly- Race of the weekend for her! She knocked off 6 seconds for a time of 40.32 & her second BB time! This was an event that I didn't even consider it a possibility at this meet, but something clicked and she just flew down the lane.

Today she seemed to be much less nervous. In fact, she even took the chance to relax before warm-ups (see photo above). She was a bit more tired today though, of course, but she still managed to shave off some seconds. Here's the rundown:

100 Free - She cut of over 2 seconds for a time of a 1:21.42. Pretty good improvement!
50 Breast - While she didn't make a best time in this, her time of 47.94 is still within a half second from a BB time. Next year I'm sure she'll smash it!
50 Back - She also shaved off a second in this event with her time of 44.27. Considering it was the last event of the 2 day meet, I'd say that's pretty good!
In all, she had a great meet and is really looking forward to next month when she hits another milestone - her first travel meet where she'll swim the 3 races she qualified for!

P.S. In a "keeping it real" aside, I'm going to be honest and say that, while we really love that the kids have found something they love, and we are always proud and thrilled at their success, I don't think we knew what were getting into with this sport. And to think that we are only getting started with the travel meets, and special meets, etc. Whew! Not to mention, spending every weekend in a stuffy pool waiting for your kid to swim for 1 minute. Literally. I'm going to have to ask their coaches to put them in longer events just to make it worth it!

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Swimming with the Pros

 It's that time of year again! The Arena Pro Series visited the UT pool this weekend. This is the 3rd year that we've gone to it. The first year was just Irene and me, still relatively clueless about swimming. Last year was much more exciting as they got to meet with an Olympian and participate in the event as basket carriers. This year had its own excitements. They started off with a swim clinic with two swimmers who, I'll be honest, I'd never heard of before: Emily Escobedo and Michael Andrew. We weren't allowed by the pool, so the best shot I could get is above. They had a really great time! And afterwards they got their autographs and also got a chance to meet Ryan Lochte (I'm guessing even my non-swim readers will recognize the name...though perhaps not in a positive light following the last Olympics.) They each got his autograph, and I was able to snap a photo from the balcony.

 Then after a quick pizza party, we got to watch the main event. It turns out that Michael Andrew is an awesome swimmer! He came in second to Nathan Adrian (Olympian) in the 50 free by a hair. Below you can see Adrian, Andrew, and Ryan Held (Olympian).
 Here's a shot of Michael Andrew acknowledging his 2nd-place finish. Just so you know who to look for in the next Olympics.
And let's hope the Olympic mojo rubs off on Irene who will be swimming in her first "big" meet next weekend at this very pool, hoping to qualify her for an even bigger meet in February!

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Christmas in Florida: The Cameron-Jin Family Excursion

I'm going to squeeze one more post in about the Florida trip since I want to get all of this in the 2017 blog book. After saying goodbye to everyone on Friday morning, the Cameron-Jin clan headed north to Crystal River, where we'd heard manatees spend the winter. About a year or 2 ago Young-Hoon had applied to a job in this area and as a result, we learned quite a bit due to our research. Crystal River was one of the places we definitely wanted to see, and about 2 weeks before we left for Florida, Irene was watching a nature show which featured Three Sisters Springs - the exact place that was on our list to visit! Everyone was excited to see the manatees. After slowly making our way up there on Friday (and after a delicious seafood dinner at Charlie's) we waited until Saturday to visit the springs.  

 At first I was a little nervous that, although beautiful, the springs didn't have many manatee. After walking the boardwalk and walking trails for about 2 hours, however, we'd seen over 100 manatees.

 In the photo above, you may be able to see dots covering the surface of the water. Each one of those is a manatee. While many were sleeping, some were splashing around and flapping their tails. Unfortunately, it's pretty hard to catch one with a camera. Below is the best I could do.
 After seeing the manatee, we drove down to Tampa early, hoping to find a souvenir shop. We didn't find a shop, but we did discover that the Tampa streetcar is free on Saturdays! we decided to hop on and ride it for a couple of stops, but when we tried to get off, the driver insisted that we stay on until we got to the bay because there was absolutely nothing at the stop we'd chosen. Although we were a little concerned about time, we stayed on, and we're so glad we did! At the end was a nice boardwalk with some parks lining the bay. And that's how 2 years in a row we unexpectedly found ourselves riding streetcars in different cities.

 Although we didn't get home until almost 10pm, the kids insisted on opening presents. I'll be honest, started to panic a little on the drive home, thinking that I hadn't done nearly enough for them as far as presents go, but I needn't have worried. Irene and Oscar got clock radios and Johan got a watch from us. The boys got Star Wars legos and Irene got a new bicycle. Santa brought mostly swimming gear and some mechanical pencils. Oh yeah, and some Harry Potter-inspired (non-alcoholic) butter beer. They were thrilled!

 Today, New Year's Eve, we've been taking it easy. The boys have already assembled their Lego ships.

 Johan got a chess set from Irene. I kind of assumed it would be just another thing to litter his room with, but I awoke to hear him teaching Oscar the rules. The actual rules! Turns out he'd learned it from playing on his Amazon Fire. Here I thought he was just rotting his brain with that! Anyway, currently, Irene is drinking her butter beer in her room while listening to the radio, and the boys are in Oscar's room listening to the radio, drinking their butter beer, playing chess, and giggling like mad. Now it's time to start the traditional New Year's Eve dumplings!

Christmas in Florida: The Last Day

Our last day in paradise was spent, go figure, fishing. Technically, not everyone went fishing this time, but we all made it out to the pier to hang out and cheer on Kevin, Young-Hoon, and Oscar. 
 Oscar definitely had the most patience of the kids. I think he would have gone fishing every day if he could have. In the end, we had another couple of fish to bake for dinner.

It was an amazing week with family in a gorgeous location. The kids are now asking to move to Florida, so we'll see what happens! Maybe next year can be Christmas in Florida take 2! ;)