Determination as defined by the almighty


1. firmness of purpose; resoluteness.
“he advanced with an unflinching determination”
synonyms: resolution, resolve, willpower, strength of character, single-mindedness, purposefulness, intentness; staunchness, perseverance, persistence, tenacity, staying power; strong-mindedness, backbone; stubbornness, doggedness, obstinacy; spirit, courage, pluck, grit, stout-heartedness; informalguts, spunk, balls, moxie; formalpertinacity
“it took great determination to win”

I’ve seen a lot of what I call “spunk” or “spirit” in these past few weeks.  These observations have been made on a ball field, in a swimming pool and in the stands.  The subjects are ball players, swimmers and fans. Lastly, it should be noted that none of these folks are over the age of 18 and most of them were under the age of 15.

I’d like to focus on the most recent case of determination I’ve witnessed. It was the SCC Dolphins swim team in the Valley Swim League at the end of season CHAMPS Competition, which was held at JMU’s Savage Natatorium.  Yes, my children are on the team, and yes they are determined people, and yes they make me proud.

BUT I am talking about four kids in particular and not one is my child. It was tough writing this because I feel like I am ignoring the rest of the team.  No worries I am not forgetting or dismissing the other children.  I am, instead, focusing on a relay team that did something special and did it extraordinarily well. To put it bluntly, they showed an extreme desire, with a major dose of will-power and courage, to compete and win their events.  Not only did they win their events, but they crushed the 100 mixed free-style relay for the 8 and under division of the Valley Swim League.  See? Determination.

I don’t use the word “crushed” lightly either. I am not exaggerating, nor embellishing the story. It is the truth. I heard the term from others: coaches, fellow competitors, opponents, officials…EVERYBODY.

If you weren’t there, it’s OK. Here’s the rundown.

The relay team is in lane 4 with a seed time of 1:12.06.  Lillye Monger is on the block.

The beginning...
The beginning…

Lillye has a great start and establishes a strong lead.

…the lead begins...
…the lead begins…

After her 25 yards is complete Parker Lenz dives in for the second leg.

…Parker Lenz  is into the water...
…Parker Lenz is into the water…

The lead continued to grow and was increased even more when Ross Iudica entered the water.

...2nd to 3rd leg take off...
…2nd to 3rd leg take off…

The lead at this point was rather substantial.

All other competitors are at the wall to the left out of the frame.
All other competitors are at the wall to the left out of the frame.

Waiting at the wall for the anchor leg is Noah Gabriele.

Noah waiting with some encouragement behind him.
Noah waiting with some encouragement behind him.

As he swims for the wall, he passes the next closest competitor…going the other way.

Noahs swim to the finish.
Noahs swim to the finish.

He makes it to the wall and looks around, then up at the timers’ board.

Noah looking at their time.
Noah looking at their time.

We all looked toward the board.  Everyone KNEW something special had happened. The record was broken, beaten, some would even say…crushed.

Picture of the scoreboard 5 seconds after Noah touched for the finish.
Picture of the scoreboard 5 seconds after Noah touched for the finish.

They did it.  Most records are beaten by tenths of a second.  Maybe a second. But to beat a record that has stood for 11 years by 3.41 seconds was amazing!

The excitement was palpable. The entire pool deck was a buzz with the energy that these four children just created. I heard a lot of “WOW’s” “OMG’s” “Did you SEE that’s?!?!!” and “Holy COWs!”  But not really from the swimmers who did the work.  They were too busy smiling and being congratulated, not to mention being herded off to get back to the clerk so they could swim their next event.

These four were all smiles.  Actually they are usually smiling anyway, however, these smiles were different.

Ross Iudica, Noah Gabriele, Parker Lenz & Lillye Monger.(Thank you Mark Gabriele for the photo bomb. A first, if you believe him.)
Ross Iudica, Noah Gabriele, Parker Lenz & Lillye Monger.

DBE Photography would like to congratulate these swimmers and their teammates, who put up some incredible numbers at the CHAMPS meet. The Spotswood Country Club Dolphins set 11 team records.  They had twenty top-5 finishes. And…the Dolphins team had 73 athletes compete against teams with 114, 101, 101, 97 and 76 athletes.  They were a DETERMINED little team.

Hard work. Perseverance. Drive. Tenacity.

They had a firmness of purpose.

They had determination.


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