This I Believe

Andy - Knoxville, Tennessee
Entered on January 8, 2009
Age Group: Under 18

I believe that nothing can stop you from following

your dreams. I love to swim. I think I knew I could swim before I could walk. When I

swim I am at peace with the world. I have broken nine records in the Smoky Mountain

and City Meet. My dreams are to go to the Olympics, face Michel Phelps, and break his

records and more. But there is something that has been holding me back that has affected

my life so much. I have been injured seven times in the past three years. When I was in

7th grade and I was swimming on blast, my first year round swim team, I felt a severe

amount of pain in my left shoulder. The week of my injury some time in November, we

were swimming over 6,000 yards per a day, mostly all butterfly. Other parents told my

My mother took me into the doctor, and we had some x-ray done. The doctor told

me the scariest thing that I will always remember; he said I had a fractured growth plate.

This injury is extremely serious. He said if the fracture healed correctly I might be able to

swim again. This is a very common injury and it occurs from too much repetition. He told

me that I will have to let this injury heal for 6 months and then I will have to take another

x-ray to see if it has healed correctly. This type of injury can cause problems later in life.

My doctor told me that there was a possibility that you way never be able to swim again.Those words caused my heart to stop. The fracturing of my growth plate could have

ultimately caused me to have to quit swimming,

For 3 i onths after that doctor’s visit I was in depression. Without swimming,

there seemed to nothing to live for. I have never really cried over too many things in my

life, but I cried so much that year it was somewhat embarrassing. If any of you have ever

competed in a sport, and you loved it with all your heart you would understand.

Aftei’ 6 ni,nths my arm was almost back to normal, and I was able to swim again.

I cried when I found this out. My dream was not impossible to reach. After that I was

injured 5 more times. I fractured my right growth plate, dislocated both my shoulders,

and pulled both my knees. And then had a minor dislocation in my right shoulder. These

injuries weren’t as bad as my first one. I felt somewhat unhappy, but then something

amazing happened; I met Mike Bowman. Mike Bowman is my new coach and has been

trying to help me recover from my injuries on his year round team ACAC. I am now

faster than ever have been. I am so close to breaking even harder records than before. My

spirits were crushed after having so many injuries, but Mike, my family, and friends,

have been there for me. My dream is to be an Olympian; I would like to not only break

Michel Phelps records but also race him myself. I believe

that nothing can stop you from following your dreams.