Ninety Percent Mental

Tony - Missouri City, Texas
Entered on October 21, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

Heading into the eighth grade, I had nothing going for me except for school. However, swimming was going to make that all change. As I introduced swimming into my life, many doors opened changing my overall view towards life.

I was a latecomer in the world of swimming, joining at the age of thirteen. Many have been swimming since they can remember. However, I still aspired to be the best. Flip turn after flip turn, or lack thereof, I gained experience and in a few short months, I manage to learn all four Olympic strokes taking me my first competition. Standing behind the blocks, adrenaline pumps through my veins and my body goes into a state of fight-or-flight. I step up for my race and there is no turning back, I really do have to “fly.” Stroke after stroke, turn after turn, I gain momentum and lead the race. Then, the piano drops and I know that I have taken it out too fast. With a full lap remaining, the competition slowly creeps up behind me like a shadow in scary movie. In the seconds it took me to gain the lead, half is required for me to almost completely lose it.

I believe that whether or not you succeed depends completely on your mental attitude. I would like you to know that I did not win that race. As a matter of fact, I did not come in second or even third, but dead last. However, I did learn from the experience. I recall the competition tailing me in the last twenty-five yards, I let go and gave up as if I were allowing a thief into my house. Although this was most likely the least important meet in terms of grandeur, it is the most important meet of my career. I still remember the exact remark my coach made following my race as if she had said it yesterday. “Swimming is 90% mental and 10% physical,” she calmly said to me after blowing a huge lead. What she said stuck. Many meet and countless amounts of yards follow, and I qualify for the 2006 Texas Age Group Championships also known as TAGS. This meet is regarded as the highest level meet for swimmers under the age of 15 (less than 10% of swimmers make it to this level). To the coaches, this is an

unbelievable endeavor, but to me, it was just a matter of mind over body. I race and placed 53rd. To even make it to that level was a major accomplishment; however, to me the first meet where I placed DFL (Dead Freaking Last) has had a more lasting impact in my life. Although, swimming pretty much taken control of my life, leaving me with barely enough time to finish homework, I still maintain a higher GPA than my peers. I swim with passion and excel in whatever I put my mind to. Whether it is in swimming, school, or life, a positive mental outlook will always prevail, and this, I truly believe. I was a latecomer in the world of swimming, joining at the age of thirteen. Many have been swimming since they can remember. However, I still aspired to be the best. Flip turn after flip turn, or lack thereof, I gained experience and in a few short months, I manage to learn all four Olympic strokes taking me my first competition. Standing behind the blocks, adrenaline pumps through my veins and my body goes into a state of fight-or-flight. I step up for my race and there is no turning back, I really do have to “fly.” Stroke after stroke, turn after turn, I gain momentum and lead the race. Then, the piano drops and I know that I have taken it out too fast. With a full lap remaining, the competition slowly creeps up behind me like a shadow in scary movie. In the seconds it took me to gain the lead, half is required for me to almost completely lose it.

I believe that whether or not you succeed depends completely on your mental attitude. I would like you to know that I did not win that race. As a matter of fact, I did not come in second or even third, but dead last. However, I did learn from the experience. I recall the competition tailing me in the last twenty-five yards, I let go and gave up as if I were allowing a thief into my house. Although this was most likely the least important meet in terms of grandeur, it is the most important meet of my career. I still remember the exact remark my coach made following my race as if she had said it yesterday. “Swimming is 90% mental and 10% physical,” she calmly said to me after blowing a huge lead. What she said stuck. Many meet and countless amounts of yards follow, and I qualify for the 2006 Texas Age Group Championships also known as TAGS. This meet is regarded as the highest level meet for swimmers under the age of 15 (less than 10% of swimmers make it to this level). To the coaches, this is an unbelievable endeavor, but to me, it was just a matter of mind over body. I race and placed 53rd. To even make it to that level was a major accomplishment; however, to me the first meet where I placed DFL (Dead Freaking Last) has had a more lasting impact in my life. Although, swimming pretty much taken control of my life, leaving me with barely enough time to finish homework, I still maintain a higher GPA than my peers. I swim with passion and excel in whatever I put my mind to. Whether it is in swimming, school, or life, a positive mental outlook will always prevail, and this, I truly believe.