Six days of hard work puts family in the swim
The Rudman-Roberts family spends a lot of time in their car. Teddy Roberts and Ben and Jessica Rudman keep their parents busy driving to two different pools, six days a week for practice, but parents and children alike say the sacrifice is worthwhile.
One look at their trophy case confirms that the nearly 12 hours a week the siblings devote to practice is paying off.
Teddy, age 9, returned from the recent Seekonk regional meet with seven first place and three second place finishes in the 8 and under division.
The Melrose school third grader said that his favorite thing about being on the Rams Swimming Club is that he likes to be active.
"I like to swim and it doesn't matter if it is at meets or during practice," he said.
His favorite stroke is the breaststroke, an event which he dominated at regionals with a time of 23.62 in the 25-meter swim.
The pool is not the only place he shows his sports prowess.
"Baseball is actually my best sport, but I also play soccer and basketball," he explained.
He has made it to the Hit, Pitch and Run competition held at Foxboro Stadium three times.
Ben Roberts, age 10, learned to swim when he was two and his father Ken put him on the South County YMCA swim team when he was five. He was eligible to join the team a year earlier than normal because he had a sibling on the team, and his dad said that he was definitely ready.
"My favorite stroke is the butterfly, but I am faster in freestyle," Ben explained. "I have been working on my butterfly because I used to have an illegal kick, but now it is getting much better."
He showed his determination at the Seekonk regionals when he moved from last place to first place in the final lap of his 200- meter free race.
"I just saved all of my energy and used it at the end," he said.
He is also a baseball player and isn't ashamed to admit that he is a Yankees fan, proudly displaying his Yankees poster for everyone to see.
Jessica Rudman is more softspoken than her brothers, and does not like to call attention to herself.
Although the 12 year old said that her favorite thing about swimming on a team is making friends, she is also a serious competitor. Some swimmers were hoping to qualify for the New England meet at regionals in February, but Jessica had already swum her qualifying times in her first meet of the season in October.
"She doesn't dwell in numbers. She is competitive with herself," her dad explained. "She never misses a practice and she is an exceptional student."
Jessica likes to run cross-country, something that has helped her when competing in the New England Youth Triathlon.
She is in her last eligible year for the youth series, but has been competing, along with Ben and Teddy, for the last four years.
"I am amazed at how hard these kids work, how disciplined they are," Ann Rudman said.
"I couldn't do what they do. I am so proud of them," she added.