The Other Daughter

A blog by Lara Jackson’s sister

Posts Tagged ‘Lara Jackson’

quick update

Posted by Carly Rose Jackson on March 12, 2009

parents & craig in Seattle photo by Craig.JPGHi all,

Thanks to everybody who has emailed or posted comments on Facebook about the blog.  I’m glad people are enjoying it!

Last night I tried to watch Lara break the Pac-10 meet record via live webstream, but CBS College Sports had technical difficulties.  Boo.

Anyway, if you want meet highlights, read my mom’s blog.  She posts every morning about the meet and visiting Seattle.

In the photo, my parents enjoying gray northwestern skies.

Also check out this Swimming World Magazine article with Lara in the headline.

Three more posts to go for the homework assignment!  Then I will move the blog to a more accomodating content manager, so that people can actually comment on the blog.

Thanks again for reading!

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Pac-10 and The Swim Meet Schedule

Posted by Carly Rose Jackson on March 12, 2009

NCAA 2008 Champ.jpgI have only been to one of my sister’s college meets, but it was the big one: NCAA 2008.

To the left: Lara accepted her 1st place medal for the 50 free at NCAA 2008.  She’s making a “WC” with her hand, for Wildcats.

My parents, as I have mentioned before, are experienced swimmeet cheerleaders.  By 2008 Lara was a junior and Mom and Dad had the schedule down pat.

This week, Lara and her teammates are swimming in the Pac-10 Conference in Seattle.  When you click on this (fourth photo in), you can see a picture of the 200 medley relay team, Hailey DeGolia, Annie Chandler, Lara Jackson and Lindsey Kelly.  Click here for UofA Pac-10 coverage.

If you’re very excited about Lara swimming, or if you don’t have anything else to do, you can watch live streaming of Lara’s best event, the 50 freestyle.  Just go to this website, and a screen will appear during the meet at the bottom right-hand corner.  Lara’s 50-free will begin at approximately 10 p.m. EST on Thursday, February 26.

Here’s what my parents’  Thursday will look like:

Early in the a.m., Mom will gather with other swim parents to assemble gift bags for all the doing goodie bags.jpggirls.  Parents collect little things like headbands, worry stones, removable tatoos, other goodies.  Anything in school colors is highly valuable.The parents leave the gift bags outside the girls’ hotel rooms.  This is a picture of me and the swim moms.

Mom and Dad will go to preliminaries and sit through many many heats.

From this glossary I found on the USA Swimming site:

 

 

Heats 

After preliminaries, Mom and Dad will go out to lunch.  Sometimes Lara goes too, but she won’t on Thursday.  So my parents will get food and bring it to her at the hotel.  During a meet, the swimmer’s needs come first.  I didn’t realize this when I went to NCAAs.  I didn’t realize that I would have no access to any food until Lara had everything she needed.  This year, I’m bringing a stash of Kashi bars.

Afternoon is rest time.

 In the evening, all the parents wait for the swimmers to come down to go warm up before finals. Parents cheering.jpg

 To the right is a picture of U of A parents cheering, waiting for that first swimmer to step off the elevator.

 The parents sing the Arizona fight song, wave pom-poms and generally try to embarrass their daughters.

 Finals will begin at 6 p.m. in Seattle, on Thursday.  They may continue until after 9 p.m.  Then my parents will congratulate Lara and the other swimmers and parents, collect Lara’s first place trophy, and only then can anyone who’s not a swimmer get dinner.

I’m bringing lots of Kashi bars.

– the division of an event in which there are too many swimmers to compete at one time. For example, an event with thirty swimmers in a six-lane pool would require five heats.In other words: there are eight lanes in a pool.  An event is the stroke and length (e.g. 50 meter freestyle).  A heat is a round of eight swimmers within an event.  The fastest 16 swimmers will swim in finals that evening.

 

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Out in the West Texas town of El Paso

Posted by Carly Rose Jackson on March 12, 2009

cristo rey el paso from citydatadotcom.jpgEl Paso, Texas.  The Sun City.  Imagine the state of Texas in your mind.  See that far left pointy bit? That’s El Paso, squished between New Mexico and old Mexico.
Famous El Pasoans:

Don Haskins led the first basketball team with five black starters to NCAA victory, and then they made a movie about it.

Lee Trevino got his start at a golf tournament in El Paso.

Debbie Reynolds was born in El Paso.

And don’t forget Marty Robbins:

Though technically within Texas borders, El Paso does not, like every other major Texas city, claim to be home to the only “True Texans.”
Fun facts about El Paso:
It has a slightly larger population than Boston.
It is the fourth largest city in Texas.
It is the home of Chico’s Tacos.  NOT for the amateur.
Most El Paso residents are of Mexican descent.

When we were little babies, my parents put Lara and me in the care of a Mexican lady, Toni.  Toni weaned us on refried beans and Spanish rice and homemade tortillas, and menudo.  Mmm menudo, and I don’t mean the Ricky Martin band.  Here’s a site with more information than you will ever need about menudo.
desert pic el paso planetwaredotcom.jpgDespite four years each in her care, Lara and I do not speak Spanish.  It’s probably the biggest shame in my life.
Lara has not forgotten her home town — she mentions it whenever the press ask where she’s from.  And her home town has not forgotten her.

Lara was nominated to the El Paso Athletic Hall of Fame on February 18, 2009.  Flip Lyle, triathlete and Hall of Fame treasurer, nominated her.  In Lara’s category three out of 10 to 15 athletes are chosen per year.

“I was excited and delighted to nominate Lara,” Lyle said over the phone.  “She is obviously an extraordinary swimmer.”
Three people must speak on the nominee’s behalf.  Lara’s high school coaches, including Wright Stanton, spoke for her and my parents assembled a resume of her achievements.
view from franklins.jpgLara still finds it “surreal” to think that so many people pay attention to her career.  Lara doesn’t think of herself as bigtime yet, but she said, “It feels good to be supported by your hometown.”

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The Great Black Suit Debate

Posted by Carly Rose Jackson on March 11, 2009

LZR design.jpg

In the past year, Speedo introduced the LZR Racer suit, a full-body, technologically constructed super swim suit. (pictured left)

Speedo has one of my favorite websites, because you just feel cooler after you look at it.

 There now, don’t you feel cooler? 

This past week, the Federation Internationale de Natation (FINA) met with suit manufacturers to clarify the restrictions on competition suits.  You can read all the intricate details here

Speedo is not the only manufacturer of full-body, high-tech suits.  Lara wore a Blue Seventy at Olympic Trials, and a TYR— oops, no I meant this TYR — at the international meet in Japan.

The team suits at 2008 NCAAs were Nike.  Below, Annie Chandler, Hailey DeGolia, and Lara celebrate their 200 medley relay victory.  Notice the Nike. 

NCAA 2008 celebration.jpg How we know there’s a suit issue:

Over 100 world records were broken in the past year, and most of the record breakers were wearing one of these high-tech suits.

Studies determined that the suits help stocky swimmers more than tall swimmers.

At over 500 dollars, the suits are not accessible to every swimmer.  Lara said her team and coaches had to jump through hoops to get suits for all the swimmers who qualified for Olympic Trials.

In Lara’s words, “The suit thing turned out to be kind of a mess.”  She said the records have been broken, so what would happen to the records if the suits are declared to be “technological doping”?

She said, “How do you undo letting go floodgates?”

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Bad-Ass

Posted by Carly Rose Jackson on March 11, 2009

No high school athlete can get very far without her parents.  parents shirts front10.08 003.jpg

My parents have always hovered over the line between “supportive” and “pushy.”

In high school, it seemed like Lara wanted to quit swimming every few months.  She wanted to hang out with friends or visit her horse rather than go to practice.

My father knew what potential Lara had, he knew that if she toughed it out, the glory and recognition would come.  You try to explain that to a 16-year-old.

When Lara found it especially irksome to go to practice, they would let her have some time off.  My parents wanted her to succeed, but they didn’t want her to burn out.

When Lara was 18, I came home from college for spring break.  I watched her compete in a city meet.  I remember watching all the swimmers step onto the blocks.

Dara Torres lots of women diving.jpgCan you tell them apart?  I wished there was some big distinguishing mark on Lara’s back so I could pick her out from the bleachers.

Later that week, Lara disappeared for an afternoon.  When she came home, she showed me her stinging-new, blue, star tattoos on her shoulder blades.  I promised not to tell our parents.

Here’s a little background about my father and what he calls “body mutilation.”  When I was 12, I really wanted my ears pierced.  My dad refused, and my mom agreed.  I kept begging.  Finally my dad said I could get my ears pierced if I wrote a report on the infections and allergies assoiciated with cutting holes in one’s flesh and driving bits of metal through.  Well, before the internet, it was too hard for me to find research on “The Dangers of Ear Piercing,” so my father finally relented.

Nevertheless, you can imagine what he felt about tattoos.

Lara didn’t tell my parents about her tattoos.

Lara at block in Tucson.jpg She let my mom discover the tattoos when they went on vacation together the next week.  I was safe at school.  None of the Jackson womenfolk knew how Dad would react.

 He took it pretty well.  Lara was 18, there was nothing he could do.  He said as far as tattoos go, there are worse things she could have gotten, in worse places.

 When Lara joined the Arizona Wildcats that fall, my parents met other swim parents at orientation.  Swimmers are generally cleancut; Lara has a lipring, her hair was dyed black, and she had tattoos.  The swimmers and their parents didn’t know how to react.

 When they told the others that Lara Jackson was their daughter, the common response was, “Oh, she’s actually pretty nice.” 

 My parents responded, “Well, we always thought so.”

 When my parents went to the first dual meet, my dad noticed that families of swimmers wore Arizona t-shirts with their names on it.  Dad said to Mom, “We don’t have to put our name, we can just put Lara’s tattoos.”  And the brand was born. 

parents shirts back10.08 004.jpg

 So much for the rebellious teenage act.

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The trodden path

Posted by Carly Rose Jackson on March 11, 2009

Lara has been swimming since she was 10 and a half. Lara & Melissa.jpg

Her first coach, Melissa Lomeli, is still a part of our family.  Lara was a bridesmaid at her wedding.  My mom has a dog that once belong to Melissa.

When Lara got older, she found coach Wright Stanton.

He started a USA Swimming club team: the Barracudas.

He had to start his own team because of major drama with the other swim teams in El Paso.

You thought the Desperate Housewives were dram-queens.  They got nothing on private team rivalry in El Paso, Texas.

Part of the rift was caused by Coach Stanton’s style.  He focused on form, not necessarily on speed.  If Lara had a bad habit, he would pull apart her stroke until her habits improved.  Sometimes this meant that Lara didn’t swim as fast.  Another coach may have ignored the little flaws in Lara’s technique because she was so fast.  Not Wright.

When Lara went to college, she did not have the same impressive swim resume as most of her fellow freshmen swimmers.  She felt she was the slowest, shortest, weakest on her team.  She didn’t get a fancy scholarship.

But her sprint coach, Rick DeMont, has said that she has no bad habits.  She has grown into her strength.

As a senior this year, Lara is one of two team captains.  She has become an anchor on the team, bringing home a National Championship will do that.

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Lara: The Competitor

Posted by Carly Rose Jackson on March 10, 2009

Hi, nice to meet you.

No, I’m not the swimmer.  I’m the other daughter.

This is how I have introduced myself to my parents’ friends for 10 years.

My sister began swimming on a city league when she was 10 and a half, and began winning medals shortly after.

little lara with medals.jpgWe stopped Girl Scouts and the church youth group.  We never went camping again.  Most weekends, my parents and sister were busy at swimmeets.  Swimmeets in dark, musty, humid public pools.  Loud music echoed off cement walls, Adidas sandals slapped wetly on the cement floor.  Kids of all ages ran around in Speedos, caps and goggles.

Swimming was fun for the whole family.  My mom brought snacks and socialized with other parents.  My dad often volunteered to be dj.  Once, I even helped keep track of race times on a database.

I didn’t mind going to out-of-town meets.  Every year Lara competed in Tucson, Ariz.  We would drive five hours, see The Thing and then spend three days trying to sit comfortably on bleachers in 100 degree weather.  Fun times.

No really, I’m very proud of my sister.  I always wear Arizona shirts when she swims, well, when my parents remember to tell me she’s swimming.

In March 2008, I saw my sister swim in her third NCAAs competition.

sisters.jpg

Here we are in Ohio at the Aquatic Center.

She was a junior a University of Arizona, in Tucson.  Lara was part of the first women’s team to bring U of A and Coach Frank Busch the NCAA championship.  Lara took home four gold medals, one for her individual race, the 50-freestyle; and three as part of relay teams.

One thing I learned about my sister at my first college-level swimmeet:

She’s a bad-ass.

 competitor.jpgYes sirs & madams, that muscular, composed swimmer with the skeleton on her warm-up suit and tattoos on her shoulder blades, that’s my baby sister.

Lara like every athlete, brings her toughest face to the competition pool.

I was shocked at the stress level Lara dealt with at NCAAs.  Before that, she was just my sister.  We talked about boys and pets and clothes and school; and how crazy our parents are getting.  At a meet, though, my sister becomes The Competitor.  She swims with Olympians.  She does not let them see her sweat.  I know about her life away from the pool, because swimming is not her whole life.  For now, swimming is her focus.

She’s like me; when she decides to do something, she’s going to be the best.

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