2 years ago we set out on a journey that we had no idea would take over ours and Millie’s life. 2 years ago last week, Millie attended her first ever synchronised swimming lesson in Manchester. God knows why we thought it was a good idea to all troop off to Sale on a Saturday teatime, but off we went. M was soooo nervous but no word of a lie, within 10 minutes those eyes looked up at us on the viewers balcony, and we knew. We were going to be spending a LOT of time poolside!
Even then we didn’t have any concept of how life would change. I’ve mentioned Millie’s swimming on here several times but haven’t really wanted to go into it too much. I do all the proud mum stuff, but its her story really, not mine.
Within months, M was training between 5-7 times per week – sometimes we enforce a day off out of the water but you can bet your life there’s always some element of stretching, splits or dancing going on in her room.
10 months after starting synchro, M passed trials to be accepted onto the England Talent Squad which just blew our mind. She is also on the Development Squad for 2014 which makes us massively proud and makes her hugely happy.
This past weekend she went down to Sheffield to swim in the display at the #swim4Leukaemia fundraising event.
Here’s some of the stats of what 2 years in synchro has involved:
- 74 Nose Pegs (with 20 more on order)
- Approx 15 boxes of gelatine
- 21 nights in Premier Inns
- 250+ miles per week to training – This isn’t including the various trips to Leeds, Crystal Palace, Glasgow, Gloucester, Sheffield
- 312 cups of coffee whilst spectating
- 256 washed towels (ish)
- 12 pairs of goggles
- 9 Swimming Caps
- 6 Sports Water Bottles
- 17 Swimming Costumes
- Millions of sequins
- Even more tears (mostly mine)
And its all been worth it! To see our nervous 9 year old turn into a confident, happy and ambitious 11 year old is fabulous. She works incredibly hard but also applies that to her school work. She gets digs from jealous girls who cannot deal with something ‘different’. She tells no-one in school what she is up to. She gets up at the crack of dawn to go training at weekends. She spends endless hours deciding on what music she would like to swim to next. She watches programmes whilst sat in the middle of the living room in split positions. She loves the girls she swims with – it doesn’t matter whether they are 10 or 18, they are all lovely.
Yes, its all been worth it – even today.
Today being the day that every synchronised swimmer gasped as they heard that Olympic funding for Team GB has been completely stopped.
Today the day that those young girls had their dreams and ambitions crushed.
Today being the day, that M went to bed asking what would all their hard work be for.
Today being the day, that the athletes that they are, decided to work even harder to get that funding back.
My Millie is one of those kids that we all talked about when we discussed the Legacy of 2012 – We can’t give up on those kids can we?
NB: Many Thanks to Martyn Bowes for permission to use the above swimming photos.