Team, a group of people with a common goal. Starting off sophomore year, I was determined to join the swim team. Freshman year I had an opportunity to attend a lot of swim meets and I got really taken back with the strength all the swimmers had, and I wanted to be a part of that. The memories made are for life. The family that you acquire from the swim team is unsurpassed and your friends are inspirations.
For the first time walking into the swim area I heard the water splashing, coach yelling, and swimmers gasping for air as if it was being sucked out. I knew this was where I would get my strengths and learn my weaknesses.
As coach and I talked, he explained this would be the highest endeavor I would be put through in my life. That phrase slammed it all in my face, “I am not going to quit”, I said to myself. He explained that if I gave up I would miss out on something spectacular, the muti-colored inside jokes that no one else understands; the horribly messy hair after morning practices and not giving a flip about what you look like; the joy you get when you beat a record; all the restaurants in Smyrna banning us because of the scene we would make after winning a meet; having pride walking down the halls with that swim team sweater on; and finally the times you get to spend with the friends you love the most.
The smell of chlorine always lingered for hours after practice. The girls’ locker room was always a mess, clothes drawn everywhere, and sharing brushes like our moms always told us not to. We always have red-hot faces after practice, just as farmers always do after a day in the field. As girls, we always love to have fun, so crazy songs would come to mind and we would belt them out as Brittany Spears tries to overawe her fans. That’s what the locker room was all about.
When I walk down the halls of our school and I spot a fellow swimmer, I know that only they understand what I’m going through and all the people that form the crowds in the halls have not a clue. You see that’s what unites the swimmers, a determination to do their best and to not give up no matter how tough it gets. Coach always says that if something is hard, you keep working at it until its perfect, and then he’ll give you something harder to do. When your swimming, all your struggles and tribulations of the day seem so small. It takes you away from distress, away from the drama of high school, away from falling short of homework assignments, away from the financial problems at home. It’s a daily escape.
The excitement of a swim meet is an amazing feeling. Waking up early for 6:30 A.M. practices is what Smyrna High swim team is all about. That’s what helps us get into state. On that long day when you are in class, all you can think about it the meet after school. As each class goes by you get closer and closer to beating that record. The teacher is talking in his monotone voice and all you can hear is the crowd cheering and you see your friends on the side of the pool telling you that you have to do more than your best. As the class creeps slowly by and the teacher keeps on writing notes on the board, your heart feels warm. As the day ages, your moment has come to shine. As you slip on your way-too-tight-I’m-not-going-to-be-able-to-breath swimsuit your palms start to get sweaty, and you get slightly nervous. You walk out and the spotlight is on you. The all you hear is the announcer calling off the names and the crowd screaming and yelling, cheering and belting. You try to gather your thoughts but then the horn goes off and you slam into the water.
“Kayse, Kayse, wake up. It’s time to go to swim practice. The bell just rang.” That’s when I know swimming is for me.
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