11 Seconds Faster

Chloe - Signal Mountain/ Chattanooga, Tennessee
Entered on January 26, 2009
Age Group: Under 18

When I first heard my swim coach tell me that I was going to swim the 500 freestyle, I thought I might pass out. The 500 freestyle was the swimming event that no one wanted to get put in at a swim meet and this would be my first time doing it. I was worried that my coach would be disappointed if I didn’t do well. Needless to say, I didn’t sleep well that night.

I woke up feeling nervous. The school day seemed to fly by, and all too soon, it was time to get on the bus. A few hours later, we arrived. Even the pool seemed scary, and our opponents looked intimidating, but that might have been because I’m so short. I looked at the meet line-up, to see when I was swimming my other events. I had a relay, the 500 freestyle, 100 breaststroke, and another relay. I felt a little better knowing I had 100 breaststroke to look forward to, because that was my best event.

The meet progressed, and I swam my first relay, and a little while later, it was time do what I had been stressing about for the past 24 hours. My heart was beating fast, I was so nervous! Just 20 laps… I could do this. I got up on the block, took my mark, and dove in. I kept up with the others for the first half, but then I started falling behind. I ended up getting 7th out of the 8 other swimmers. I was a little disappointed in myself. I kept thinking about it until it was time to swim the 100 breast stroke.

I was feeling confident about this event, but my previous swim was still nagging at the back of my head. I hopped onto the starting block, took my mark, and shot off. Right away, I could feel myself moving faster than usual through the cool water. I glanced both ways, and I was ahead of most of the swimmers through all the 4 laps, going faster and faster. I was going to place, no matter how bad it hurt. And I did it! I got 2nd, and I later found out that I dropped 11 seconds off my best time! I hadn’t improved that much since I was pretty much 8 years old, so I was really surprised!

From this meet, I learned that even if you mess up, it can work out in the end. You just have to work for it. The quote “Every cloud has a silver lining” is true. To get to the reward at the end, you have to get though the hard things first, even if it feels like you might pass out.