For his first meet, we had to choose what events he wanted to swim. With some hesitation, he decided on the 100 yard freestyle - four times his normal distance. He also chose the 50-yard backstroke (twice his normal distance) and the 25-yard butterfly. This was a big jump into a pool with some really fast fish, but we figured we would let him try it, see how he does. Well, swimming against kids who've been swimming year round since they could walk, he didn't place anywhere near where he was used to. As he came over to me, I was preparing to give him the "good try" speech to ward off any upset. To my surprise, he was smiling.
"I've improved my time. I've dropped some seconds off my best times," he said.
I couldn't help but smile at his excitement. He later said that he was surprised by the speed of the other swimmers, but he was still proud of his own improvements. I loved it. I was excited for him that he could see beyond a "loss", realize his own accomplishments, and take pride in himself.
My little fish is going to be a wonderful big fish one day.