My High School State Swim Meet Weekend

It all started when my mom insisted that we drive over grandmaʼs house to watch television which did not make any sense to me because we have a television but she said we had to go because we couldnʼt get the signal for KPAX on our television. Anyway, we drove to grandmaʼs house and there I was on T.V. I was swimming at the Grizzly Pool and they showed me swimming and diving; later Coach Helen talked about me and my friend Hailey talked about me and my mom talked about me (click here to read her thoughts of the interview).

Then we went home and went to bed . . . and the next morning I wore my Big Sky Swimming warm-ups outfit and everyone was talking to me and saying that they saw me on T.V. and `way to go, Mathaliaʼ and `have fun at State, Mathaliaʼ and `Good Luck,Mathalia.ʼ My mom picked me up from school and laughed when a friend encouraging me to swim fast asked about PED’s and going to Florida.  I said `yes, I want to swim fast, take PED’s and fly to Florida!’   Mom said, `Well, you had better hope Coach Helen doesn’t find out.’

Good Luck, Mathalia and have fun!my locker decorated for the State Swim Meet

Good Luck, Mathalia and have fun!
my locker decorated for the State Swim Meet

On Thursday, we drove all the way to Hardin on the big Beachliner buses: wow it was a long drive. All the swimmers–ninety of us—got a little bag with breakfast and then later we got a bag with lunch.

6:00 a.m. boarding the busses

6:00 a.m. boarding the buses

We had lots of time: time for napping and time for talking and laughing with friends; and time for listening to music. In Hardin I remembered the pool; I had been there before. The first time was five years ago when I went with my mom to watch Matthan swim.  Matthan was a sophomore and I was still in middle school.  I sat up by the announcer where it was quiet and not very many people and I watched the swim meet and made lots of pot holders while my mom officiated and Matthan was swimming.  The second time I was there was three years ago when I was a freshman and I got to go to the State Swim Meet. My mom came on the bus with the whole team and we stayed in the same hotel room together. This time is a lot different because I am a senior and I came all by myself with friends!

alone in swim meet chaos

negotiating swim meet chaos all by myself

My mom says she is so proud; maybe that is why she is crying all the time. Anyway, it felt really good to warm up in the nice pool and then go back to the hotel for a delicious taco bar supper. I stayed in the hotel all by myself with friends!

In the morning on Friday I went down to breakfast and my mom was there making eggs. I talked to my mom but I ate breakfast with my friends. Then we got on the bus to go to the meet. My friend Jenny wrote my races on my hand with black ink. I got ready for my races all by myself. I swam 50 free, 100 breast, and then the 400 free relay.  I got ready and was on-time for all of my races.

waiting for my heat, getting mentally ready for my race

waiting for my heat, getting mentally ready for my race

beautiful, legal breast stroke!

nice, legal breast stroke!

enjoying my swim and all the cheers

enjoying my swim and all the cheers

race is done!  well swum!

race is done! well swum!

getting read for the anchor leg of the 400 Free Relay Race

getting ready for the anchor leg of the 400 Free Relay Race

The relay was really fun because I  had never swum the 400 Free Relay. I got to swim the anchor leg and everyone was cheering and clapping and shouting: `go Mathaliaʼ and my mom was taking pictures and crying. Silly mom. After the race she took more pictures of me and of me with friends and then I took a shower and got dressed.  I went back to the hotel and ate a fancy Olive Garden dinner with salad and bread sticks.  I hung out with friends and High School Swimming was all done for meSaturday I got to watch my friends swim in finals and I got to cheer them on in their races: Go Kate from Big Sky. She got a medal in the Award Ceremony just like Matthan when he was a Senior and got a medal. It was fun. We got on the bus and drove to a grocery store. I bought chicken and potatoes for three dollars. Then I hung out with friends on the bus until we got home.

My dad picked me up and at home I scrubbed my hand really hard to get the black ink off my hand. High School Swimming is all done! Well, we have one more thing: High School Swim Banquet on February 19. I put it on my calendar; I am really excited because I am a senior. This year is my turn!

At church everybody was talking to me: good job, Mathalia! I saw you on KPAX News, Mathalia! I was so proud of you, Mathalia! Way to Go Mathalia!  This year is my turn: graduation is June 1, 2013! Thank you Coach Helen and High School Swimming, Thank you Missoula Aquatic Club, Thank you Grizzly Pool, Thank you KPAX, Thank you Missoula, Thank you Montana; thank you God.

p.s. If you see my mom, tell her to stop being silly and just give thanks for the past four years of high school and know that His faithfulness will continue to be new every morning in the years to come. Then tell her to go chill with her favorite book:  To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven . . . He has made everything beautiful in its time . . .[therefore]  nothing is better for [her] than to rejoice . . . and enjoy the good of all [her] labor—it is a gift of God.

My Very Fun Missoula Invitational Swim Meet Weekend!

100 meter breast stroke race

100 meter breast stroke race

Missoula Invitational Swim Meet 2013 is my turn! I remember when it was Matthan’s turn: 2010. I remember taking a picture with Matthan, mom and Mathalia. It was fun! This year it was my turn to take a picture with mom and dad. Grandma and grandpa were there too. Grandma was taking pictures with friends: Mathalia and Jenny; Mathalia and Caelin. And then they called my name and Kathleen Ward took my picture with mom and dad and by myself and with my senior friends.  It was so fun!

And then Dan at KPAX took my picture with a big camera and he clipped a little microphone on my sweatshirt and then he talked to me about swimming and about violin and then he talked to my mom about swimming and about violin and about everybody cheering for me. She cried a little. silly mom.

Jenny wrote my races on my arm so I was on-time: 50-free, 200 relay, 100 breast. I remembered swoosh—no poufs. My mom was happy about that–no D.Q.’s. silly mom–it doesn’t matter!

On Sunday I went to church and everybody was talking about the newspaper and I didn’t understand until we got home and my mom showed me my name in the newspaper about Hellgate Girls! I was so proud and excited! I read the newspaper with my mom and then I took it to grandma and grandpa’s house and they read the newspaper and grandma made a copy and then my dad read the newspaper. Everybody was talking about it at swim practice Monday morning. So this year it is my turn and it is fun!

On Monday I got up at 5:00 to swim then I practiced violin and made 10 pot holders. I worked on my Senior Project paper work with my mom. Then we went cross-country skiing. I fell down and I got back up all by myself. Then we went to Joseph’s Coat and my mom bought me a button for my new hat. It’s cute. Then I read The Hobbit with my mom. It was a crazy fast day! The one thing I wanted to do was to read The Hobbit and we did! The one thing my mom wanted to do was to go skiing and we did! And then I went to bed early: 6:30!

And this . . . from mom . . .

I knew the senior recognition was coming and I knew the KPAX interview was coming; I just didn’t want them to come—somehow block them out or cut me out of the picture. Saturday morning I read a very meaningful blog from Morielle in China wondering about her future and of course, I immediately transferred her thoughts to my worries about Mathalia’s future after high school: all the concerns packed into my little brain AND this being her last high school swim meet in Missoula, AND wishing they could do the T.V. interview without me. Hah! So the simple prayer from James, may we do the right thing and may you use Mathalia and her story as it goes to a wider audience.

Interestingly, the KPAX reporter asked me about her disability: what is her disability? Huh? I don’t know . . . yes, I have to fill in paperwork about her disability but I rarely talk about it: it is written on her face. So maybe I said something like: Down Syndrome, Cognitive Delay, low-muscle tone, speech issues, impairment? not sure what I said.

Then he asked me about her name! Wow! Okay, dear Lord, here you are working: `it took three months; we wanted something meaningful for her. Athalia means the LORD has shown His strength . . . through her weakness. This certainly has been the case and can be seen clearly with her presence on the team.’ So far, so good until he asked me about my thoughts regarding the cheers and response from the crowd irrespective of team loyalties. . . . well, you know, silly mom.

Anyway, I’m not done with the story: another example of how very very present I have been experiencing my Heavenly Father this year: Sunday morning reading the Old Testament Lectionary Reading for the second Sunday after The Epiphany, Isaiah 62

. . . and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD shall give.

You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of your God.

You shall no more be termed Forsaken,/Disability

     and your land no more be termed Desolate/cognitive delay

but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her and your land Married;

       for the LORD delights in you . . .

as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,

           so shall your God rejoice over you.

So present, so very very present. My mind was filled with unpleasant labels and misgivings about not being able to keep my composure in front of the camera. And thinking, wondering about Mathalia’s future. Yes, this is her Senior Year and it is a lot of fun and very exciting but after this, then what? She has a disability very much so. My heart is worried and troubled about many things. AND he knew this and he prepared a reading for me, just for ME because we did not read that passage in church. Mathalia shall be called `My Delight Is in Her’ and the Lord delights in her and her God shall rejoice over her. No need for me to be anxious and trouble. He has got Mathalia covered in his wings. So well primed my tears that you can imagine what happened in church when we sang the line: He lives to calm trouble hearts in I know that My Redeemer Lives and when my pastor read the newspaper article in the adult Sunday school class. I am a complete basket-case this year AND Mathalia takes it all in stride: `2013 is my turn.’ Surrounded by ten thousand gifts and I am worried and troubled about many things. silly mom.

May I be given the power to enjoy them; the power to see and enjoy is also a gift of God. Ecclesiastes chapter 5 🙂