November 2, 2009

There's an App for that

This past weekend Danielle had her first Canada Swimming meet. After taking a year off from competitive swimming to dive into water polo, she decided to get back into the sport she has done year round since she was nine.
The meet took place in a “French part of town.” No problem, we’ve learned to negotiate street signs and we have our French lessons to help us. I brought my French homework with me to work on for the five hours I had to sit in the hot, chlorinated pool arena.

Danielle starts her warm up and I buy the psych sheet, which is like the program and listing of events for the day. This is a swim parent ritual, you get the sheet, highlight your kid’s events and figure out how much time you have in between the events to step outside for some fresh air or run and get a decent cup of coffee. I open the psych sheet and yes, every thing is in French. How the heck do you say 200 individual medley in French? I easily figured out that Serie means heat (there’s an accent over the first e but I have not figured that out on this computer).  A good swim parent would suggest looking at the times listed and then figure out the event that way. Not in my case though. First, the events in Canada are all metres. We used to swim in 50 metre pool events in the summer in the states, but winter swimming in Canada is in 25 metres. Danielle tells me the extra “yardage” makes a difference.

So instead, I did what anyone would do, right? I pulled out my iPhone and posted an S.O.S. on my Facebook profile. Within minutes I got a message from Paul’s brother Dan who told me that indeed, there was an App for that. As it turns out my current iPhone French translator only included phrases like “where is the washroom?” and “I would like a glass of red wine please” and nothing for “what event number is the 100 metre butterfly?”

With the help of this handy App I was able to figure out the psych sheet. In case you want to know fly is “papillon” and individual medley is “quatre nages.” Danielle was the one in need of translation before she was DQ’d for swimming all papillon during the quatre nages. She figured it out and did a great job at the meet, even after taking a year off of swimming. Swimming is not the sport to take a year off without consequences. Just ask Michael Phelps.

The translation issues aside, this city of Montreal pool was outstanding. Yes, we pay high taxes up north, but the facilities are unbelievable and I must mention extremely clean --  like I had no problem sitting on the floor clean. And unlike what we have been used to, we didn’t have to pay an admission to watch our own kid swim. I wish more communities in the US could replicate this type of positive building. The pool rivaled anything we have seen in the States. Also in the same complex were  large gyms for indoor soccer, track, tennis and gymnastics and several ice rinks. The building was beautiful and filled with athletes of every age going to their sporting events. And another great benefit we have in Canada – we can submit receipts and receive up to a $500 tax credit/deduction for enrolling our kids in sports. The US has a lot to learn from Canada. 

This photo of the pool area was taken with the iPhone. There's an App for that too.

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