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Exceeding Expectations

January 18, 2010


Five years ago, nine of the Exceeding Expectations kids swam as many laps as they could in an hour to raise money for the program and to try to win a trip to the 2005 Competitor Magazine Endurance Sports Awards (ESA) banquet at Sea World in San Diego. 

The Exceeding Expectations Swimathon has since become our premier annual fundraising event. What makes it special is that it's the kids themselves who have to step up and call friends of the program (who have already offered to participate), introduce themselves, explain what the Swimathon is all about and ask for support in the form of at least a quarter a lap.

This year we made a few changes: First, we added an entirely new event, the Runathon, so our newer and younger kids could participate without having to swim. Also, these events themselves would not determine the winners, but would be the last of a year-long series in which grade improvement and team participation would count as much as athletic performance. Finally, because of the need to do some belt-tightening and ensure that as many kids as possible could do as much as possible, we decided that instead of taking kids to the ESA, they'd compete for a day of skiing up in Big Bear.

As always, we had wonderful support from Loma Linda University's Drayson Center, which for the sixth year allowed us free use of their beautiful aquatic facility. Thanks also to our splendid volunteers, who showed up despite some rotten weather to make this a special day. There was also an extra treat in the form of the kids' great friend, two-time Paralympics gold medalist Rudy Garcia-Tolson, who swam with the participants and dispensed some valuable instruction along the way.

With the kids from Lankershim Elementary now officialy part of the EE team, we had a record 32 kids taking part and it made for a pretty wild day. Despite the rain, everyone had a blast and the kids raised close to $4,500 for the foundation.

Enjoy the pictures, and once again thanks so much for your contributions and support.



Rudy dispensed some racing wisdom...


...along with goggles. ("If I wear 'em. they ain't dorky!")

Meli and daughter Karen, Miguel and Isi's sister


Pre-swim briefing by the coach. Not that anybody was trying to stay in because of the cold or anything.


"Rain? What rain? Let's git 'er done!"


It wasn't easy to get this shot: The water was 260 warmer than the air and everyone wanted in.


Rudy's memento from the 2004 Paralympic Games.


Close to post-time


Last minute adjustments


Final calibration of the lap counters


And they're sort off! Sort of.


Jacque and Craig discuss lap counting technique


Heidi and Kylie


A surprise visit: EE team member and UC San Diego student Nik Keller shows up to lend a hand, one of
two of our oldest members who "came back to give back." (See Carlos, further down.)


Damien demonstrating the flip turn.


Rudy swam a few laps with each kid and helped hone technique.
Here he is watching Josh's stroke from underwater.


"Not bad, but keep your heads down a little more."


Mandatory halfway GU-and-water stop.


Karen figured out how to stay warm: Steal the swimmers' clothes while they're in the water.


At the end, the coach debriefs current and future champions.


Volunteer Leann and Marlene. Women celebrate one way...


...the guys another. "Men, men, men, men..."




Back at Jacque's, the Runathon kids get their shot at glory. The challenge is to run as many 1/3-mile
laps as possible in thirty minutes. Just one problem:


The break we caught with the weather back at the pool didn't last.


Carlos shows off his macho umbrella. Always gratifying when our veterans show up to help out.


Cold, wet and miserable. Hey, if it was easy, the photographer would be doing it.


Note the tongue depressers. These are not for checking the health of the runners.



They're lap counters. The more you get, the more laps are credited to you.


You could also pick up some warm clothes...without an "outside assistance" penalty.


Then it's back into the rain.


Happy finishers. Or at least happy to be inside and warm.



Miguel's piano playing always spices up the festivities


The serious business of toting up the lap counters.


The chief auditor inspects all the raw results.


We definitely set a record for cramming Jacque's house full of people.


Luckily, the garage was there to serve as an overflow area.


Then it was off to the secure bunker to work up the final results. Lankershim teacher Jennifer Noel
puts a sharp pencil to the numbers while the Coach makes sure all is accounted for.


Jacque is an old hand at this.


Are you done yet?
Are you done yet?
Are you done yet?


Meanwhile, the kids write thank you letters to their sponsors.


Nothing like expressing your gratitude from an electric massage chair.


The kids worked hard and it showed in their appetites.


At last!



Before announcing the winners, Coach Cherie told the kids about the new
made possible through the generosity of Bob and Mary Ann Blais.
Read all the details of this great new program here.


To be awarded each December, it's open to all EE members of high school age.


It's also open to Na'vi from the planet Pandora.


And here are the kids who get to go skiing in Big Bear!
From left to right, after Lankershim teacher Jennifer Noel:
Cheyenne, Anthony L, Jose, Archie, Anthony W, Marlene, James in front of Cherie, Dorian and Bryan.


A splendid time was had by all!





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