This I Believe

Sarah - Burr Ridge, Illinois
Entered on February 23, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

Swimming to Your Center

I am jerked awake by a loud, irritating buzzing sound. It is the dreaded sound of my alarm clock on Monday morning calling me to swim practice at 6 a.m. I drag myself out of my cozy, warm bed, pull on my sweats and walk out into the bitter, cold air. I drag my feet on the pool deck, not wanting to start the 3,000 yard workout. My mind races ahead to the tasks that lay before me. “Oh, no! I have three tests today and that huge Biology project is due. When am I going to get all of my homework done? We have another practice until six and then work lasts until 7:30.” As I jump in the pool, avoiding the stern lecture my coach is about to deliver, I start to feel as though I am alone in my own watery little world and all my other concerns just slip away. I start to feel energized, almost invincible. I believe that in order to achieve mental clarity, one must make room everyday to swim in circles for a couple thousand yards.

This is the most exhilarating, yet most stressful, sport ever to be invented! Sometimes, when I hit rock bottom during practice, I wonder why I chose this sport. I say I am going to quit… yet I keep coming back. The ice cold water rushing over my body numbs me and all my stress slips away. Mindlessly, I swim back and forth from one wall to another. The stress of the real world like homework, school, and boys is left to deal with when I get back on dry land.

While I swim, I get back into a positive mindset, unclouded by thoughts of the challenges waiting for me outside. I am alone with my thoughts and know that decisions will have to wait until I dry off and step out of the natatorium. Two and a half hours in the pool is definitely enough time to think about my choices. While I swim, I try to make a schedule for myself of how I will get everything done. I find that I am so stressed out upon arriving to practice, that it feels good to relax with knowing I have no where to be for a couple of hours. The pool is where I truly find “the Zone”. I just glide through the water and contemplate what is yet to come.

As I fall asleep at night, I know that I will soon be awakened by my alarm clock giving my body the signal that it is time to start the cycle over again. Even though swimming is stressful in its own right, it allows me time to evaluate and regroup. I am one of the many people in the swimming world who firmly believe more than anything that a good strong dose of chlorine will always clear your head.