If you expected "Season End" to refer to Winter you'd be mistaken. Highs in the 30's and chill-me-to-the-bone rain still feels like winter to me, even if the calendar says tomorrow is April. It's been a long, annoying winter..........anyway on to the fun stuff!

You may have noticed I mention swim practice here and there. Our swim season ended last week. No more practices…sniff sniff… NOT. The kids are thrilled, because let’s face it winter swim is a long grueling season and they are just plain burned out! Swim team has been a big part of our life for the past 7 months, for better or worse, so I thought it fitting to sit back and reflect on the kids’ accomplishments.
We summarized our swim season at the dinner table using the “back of the envelope” method, literally. I don’t expect you to be able to read that though.

Swim practices started back on September 14, 2010, so the kids were at it for 27 weeks. For most of the season we attended 3 practices per week. There were a few weeks we only made 1 or 2 practices due to sickness, holidays, swimmers ear, bad weather, etc. We also attended two meets (yes, only 2 all season, so what!?) in addition to the practices.

We decided to estimate the total number of practices (we’re getting good at estimation now!). Let’s see if I can decipher the envelope… out of 27 weeks we said there were 4 weeks when we only attended 2 practices, so 27 – 4 = 23 (thanks Wanda).

23 weeks times 3 practices per week = 69 practices (good job Bart). Add those (estimated) 4 weeks when we only went 2 times to make 8 more practices:

69 + 8 = 77 practices (impressive!)

Then we subtracted 2 more practices because honestly there were probably a couple other times we skipped. So, 75 practices.

Next we tried to figure out how many laps were swum (swam?) during each practice. Bart and Wanda had no idea but fortunately I had observed at Monday’s session that the kids did about 10 laps every 15 minutes, so we used that number.   Each practice is at least 45 minutes long (sometimes longer). Bart helped us calculate that 10 laps every 15 minutes for 45 minutes is 30 laps per practice. I think it’s a conservative estimate, but 30 is a nice number to work with.

OK stay with me, just a couple more calculations:

30 laps per practice X 75 practices = 2250 laps.

Each lap is 25 meters, amounting to 2250 X 25 = 56,250 meters (had to use a calculator there). Phew!

If there are 1609 meters in a mile, how many miles did these kids each swim since September?!

“I don’t really care” was one reply. He just wanted me to stop talking and get some dessert I’m sure.

Anyway, these guys swam about 35 miles since September, which is about the distance from here to Philadelphia! That little fact got their attention. So, how many miles did you swim when you were 7 years old?  How about when you were 5?!  

They weren’t overly excited about the results of our calculations, but in my eyes this is a considerable accomplishment and I’m proud that they stuck it out all fall and winter. I think it’s important to recognize the hard work they put in all season, and even though they are sick of swimming for now, I commend them for making it through with minimal complaints. 

Sports provides parents so many excuses to talk about math with our kids. Regardless of your child's sport, I'm sure you can think of some way to quantify their achievements and recognize their hard work (and if you can't think of an example send me an email with your kid's sport and I'll come up with something for you!). Get your child involved in making the calculations with you, and they will feel an even greater sense of pride.   

The next morning Bart asked over breakfast, “How many miles did I swim again?”  So, for sure he’s going to boast about this to someone at school. That’s OK with me, in this case I think he earned some bragging rights. π

Eva Santelli
04/05/2011 20:23

Here's one for you... Iris can easily play two 45 minute halves of an intense soccer game (okay, not so easily, but she can do it). That's a full hour and a half of running. So tell me why, when we go for a leisurely hike in the the beautiful woods on flat terrain she cannot go longer than 15 minutes before she turns to me and says, okay I'm done, I'm tired. Math me up that one!!!


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