This I Believe

Avery - Provo, Utah
Entered on January 10, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

Working towards a Dream

I believe in hard work.

It all started when I was in 6th grade and I began swimming on a swim team. I would swim a couple hours a day every day a week. I liked it, swimming gave me the opportunity to think and concentrate. Because of this I began to set goals for myself. One workout I began thinking of reasons why I was swimming. I didn’t feel like I had anything great I wanted to accomplish and I wanted to do something that seemed impossible. So I decided to set a goal to swim for BYU. This goal gave me a great desire to swim at practice and swim hard.

Over the next four years I worked to drop my times to accomplish this dream. I sacrificed sleep, having friends, and many other fun things. But I had a dream and it wasn’t something I wouldn’t let go of. There were many times when I would falter and almost give up. Sometimes I would get the feeling that the water had won the battle and that maybe I wasn’t cut out to be a swimmer. I would think of all the other sports I could have done; the ones that consist of playing games, not swimming back and forth for hours on end. But I kept persisting. I kept fighting the mental battles of discouragement and defeat, picking myself up every time. When my senior year rolled around I had a state championship and had swum in Junior Nations. I decided to contact the BYU swim coach and ask him if I had a chance to make the team. After about six of my emails I received an answer. He told me that he would give me every opportunity to swim and tryout. This was encouraging. All I wanted was the chance for me to show the coach I was willing to do what ever it takes.

I didn’t want to sell myself short of any chance; I had to make it on the swim team. So I went out to BYU two months before the beginning of the school year and began training with the swim team. I hit many more barriers, feelings of weakness and inadequacy. Also I realized college athletes have to sacrifice a lot: many opportunities to hang out and make friends; dating because of competitions, and a sleep schedule opposite to everyone else. But I decided it was worth it and persisted. After four months of training with the team the coach came up to me and told me that I had made it. I had fought the battle and won.

Even if I hadn’t made the team I wouldn’t have had any regrets. I had worked hard and had done everything I could possibly do. Swimming teaches the value of hard work and I have seen how it has shaped my life. Persisting to fulfill goals in swimming has taught me to persist in everything in life.