The Ant and Bee (Angela Banner) books were, and still are, one of all-time my favorite children’s books series. I’ve read each so many times as both a child and an adult that I have them all memorized. This is probably explains why I often catch myself viewing my life from an Ant and Bee perspective.
For example, lately I’ve felt very Ant-like when returning to a Sierra Nevada Masters team practice after swimming either on my own or with the Carson Tigers Sharks because I’ve worked on different things and learned a new drill or two.
Here’s the Ant and Bee explanation: In Ant and Bee and the Secret (my favorite in the series!), Ant and Bee do various activities (draw with colored chalk, tell stories, play hopscotch, jump rope, make sandwiches for a picnic). At first, Bee excels at everything, Ant, not so much, which causes Ant to become cross and run away for the rest of the day.
But when Ant returns, he’s somehow acquired new skills. The “secret” is, of course, where Ant goes to improve himself. (Spoiler alert: Skip to the bottom of this post if you wish to know the secret.)
While I don’t often become cross at practice and run off in the middle of a set, I do benefit from mixing it up. Swimming SCM on my own (especially if I have a lane to myself) at my local gym is an automatic focus day—no rush, no crowd means I can slow down and concentrate on a ton of drills and practice “perfect” technique per turns. Swimming LCM on distance day with the Carson Tiger Sharks boosts my endurance, and thanks to the age group/Masters mash-up, I always come away with a new drill or two and often a new set perspective from the coach.
I greatly value swimming with my base team—the coaches write and guide us through terrific sets and have created such a fun, inspiring atmosphere while my teammates push and encourage me (e.g. Nadia “suggesting” we do the last repeat of any set fly when I really, really don’t want to.) But I also like learning new things, meeting new people and coming back refreshed from being in a different environment for a day, so I’ll continue my Ant-like ways, at least from a swim training perspective.
*The secret: Ant runs away to school.