Seadragon of the Year

heat winner ribbons at City Championships

heat winner ribbons at City Championships

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate,

You scooted over closer to me, shuffled your feet on the concrete floor, took a sip of the Sprite can, and hid behind it nervously.

“I didn’t get a towel this year, Dad,” you whispered into my ear. We sat together on the picnic table while your swim team coaches passed out the year end awards, Izzy. Max and Kate played nearby – screaming, laughing, running with the other team little brothers and sisters. They caused a general commotion, as usual. Next year they’ll swim too.

Your team won the city and county championship and your medley relay won the city championship. I’ll admit that watching your relay swim that final event against the other top teams in the city was one of the most nerve wracking athletic moments I’ve ever witnessed. People screamed all around us, stood on tip-toes to see the result. You and your 3 team mates pulled it out by tenths of a second.  It was a great swim season – but not free of drama.

Your coach talked to us at the City Meet and told us how great you did this year. You placed in the upper echelon in every event – along side the year-round swimmers (generally a different caliber of swimmer) – despite you having made the decision to only do summer swim team for the last several years. Your coaches are adamant that you swim year round from now on and have finally convinced you. We’re happy about that as you have a natural ability.

You’re getting older, sweet Izzy. There were mornings when you wanted to sleep, mornings when you had a stomach ache. a headache, a pain in your ankle, the list goes on.  But through the moments of drama you still made it to practice each day. Bed head and all. 

“You still might, baby,” I whispered back. The coaches hand out special awards each year for “high point” for the kid who scores the most team points, “most improved” for the kid who makes the most progress during the year, and finally the coveted “Seadragon of the Year” award for the kid who exemplifies all of the qualities necessary – dedication, attitude, leadership, and results. 

All of the awards had been passed out when you whispered to me – except for the Seadragon award.

“You still might,” I whispered again.

As soon as I said it your coach called your name as the 9-10 year old girls Seadragon of the Year. I winked at you even as my heart swelled with pride. You smiled, blushed, pushed your hair behind your ear. “Go get it!” I nudged you.


Your coach made a short speech about you – how you exude all of the best qualities of a swimmer and a leader. How your bubbly personality raises not only your lane, but the team up. 

This is your second Seadragon of the Year award in the last 4 years. 

As always, sweet Izzy, you make us proud. I’ll never push you to be something you’re not. But in so many ways you’re becoming everything I wasn’t. While I was always a good athlete and generally a good kid, I’m not sure I was ever the sort who raised others up and made them better. I want to be that. I try to be that in my adult life, but to see you already doing that in sport, in school, and in church makes Mommy and I so proud.

I love you,

– Daddy

TRAINING: my own fitness is finally starting to come around. It took a little longer this year, and patience isn’t my strong suit, but I’m starting to feel like my old self on some days.

Sat: Rode 60 miles followed by a 2 mile transition run

Sun: Ran 13.3 miles


Tues: Ran 4.5 miles

Wed: Swam 2000 yards / Rode 17 miles


ps. I got a new ELITE In-R-Cool tri suit from Pearl Izumi to wear in Toughman Alabama. I’ve been wearing two-piece race suits for the last several seasons, so I wasn’t sure about going back to a one-piece – but I’m extremely happy with this suit. It fits like paint, is cool on hot days, and provides lots of muscles support. I’ll write a review soon.