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Hey there,

I thought it'd be nice to share a story I wrote in 9th grade. It's a short story of course, but it just means alot personally and well I don't know, I'm still quite proud of it though :D Hope you enjoy it whether you're a swimmer or not! ^o^


“Swimming, from the outside you won't get it, from the inside, you just can't explain it”

What a warm-up! Grabbed by the ankles, slapped in the face, swum on top of, violated and scratched, I think this could be a new record! Still rubbing my cheek where I was hit, I made my way to the marshaling table where a huge crowd was overwhelming the card-handler. I climbed over a couple people using their heads as leverage. I then spotted my card.

While walking to the benches, I tripped on a pull buoy that was lying around. What a way to start a day... I sat down, it was still a long wait before my turn. I closed my eyes, I could feel my heart beat getting louder and harder, my stomach was turned upside down, my fingers trembled, my breathing was deep and frantic and my mind trying to figure out what in the world my coach lectured me. All I remembered was BLAH BLAH BLAH. Not good.

My turn to swim was coming soon, I walked to the next row where I uncomfortably sat down on the hard, cold, wet chair. AH! Who had the idea to force swimmers into 8 year old-size bathing suits?! It felt like my legs were sealed in vacuum-packed tubes. While attempting to let my legs breath in agony, the guy beside me asked:
So, how do you feel?

I feel great... I replied although my legs were still fidgeting and my voice got a tad high when I said that. It was what my coach always told me to say.

“I don't care if you can barely walk because of last night's dryland, or if your arms feel rock-solid. It might be 5:30 am and you still have to swim. Swimmers work harder than any other sport runs, longer than any who skate around on ice, better than anyone who flings a bat in the air. So, I expect you to be in that water practicing with a gigantic grin on your face, and when I ask you how do you feel? You say... I feel great!”

I always wondered if my coach was truly evil. She was the kind of person who you love to hate, the kind of person who is nice but scares the crap out of you.

This lady in a funny fluorescent construction worker vest signaled us to move behind the blocks. It was game time. I looked at my crumpled card, I forgot I was holding it. I find it weird how it always managed to get ripped, crumpled, and wet. I gave my half-torn card to the official, he didn't seem to happy about that fact...

I stared blankly at the lane. I had to concentrate. I had to get my spastic muscles to relax. I started moving my arms in a wind-mill motion. Suddenly, I hit a woman's hand that was carrying a pack of marshaling cards. Pieces of paper went flying everywhere and landed on the very wet pool deck. Not good. This wasn't my day.

TWEET! That was my queue to climb on the block. I slapped my thighs to make sure they were awake, a traditional ritual all swimmers do. I grabbed the edge of the block and curled my toes around it.

“At your marks, *electronic beep*” I dived in a good two seconds after everyone, I could just picture my coach glaring at me... just keep swimming. As I entered the water, I could feel the cold water on my face and the world just disappearing. It was like I was alone, just me in the water, I treasured the feeling of a dive. A loud smack followed my dive, my stomach was officially in a great deal of pain. I pushed the pain away, the water ripped off my goggles, but it didn't matter. Race the clock, surpass your limits, I was here to win. As I came close to the surface for my first stroke I thought of all the things I've trained so hard for.

Stroke, stroke, stroke, I was approaching the wall for my first flip turn. I took my last breath and did on last stroke. Upside down and around, I pushed of the wall. I did a couple dolphin kicks, my lungs pleading for a breath. I broke the surface. I kicked harder, I pulled faster. Every stroke was not taken for granted, every breath was like a present. I finally got to the wall, only two more lengths of torture I told myself. It felt like my lungs were going to burst. I forced that feeling aside. The chlorine was burning my eyes, the air became more and more hard to breath. I needed to breath, I needed to see, I needed the pain to go away.

I gave my all on the last length and touched the wall. It was over. Or was it? Catching my breath, I looked up to see the horror. Sure, I had come first...for one simple reason. I was swimming the wrong stroke. I had been so blinded by the burning chlorine in my eyes, I didn't notice everyone was swimming a different event let alone a whole different stroke!

How could I have made such a huge mistake? But what preoccupied me most was: What will my coach say? Speaking of coach, I looked over to where she was standing. She didn't look overjoyed. In fact, I could see her mouthing me her thoughts. If I was closer, she probably would have thrown something at me.

I struggled to climb out of the pool. I was dead; literally. What a great day! Waking up a 6am to get to the pool in time, getting absolutely battered and violated during warm-up, tripping on a pull buoy, wearing a skin-tight swim suit, getting muscle spasms before a race, losing my goggles, having a huge red mark on my stomach, and better yet, having my coach screaming at me in the early morning. But you know what? I feel great...