Over the past eleven years twenty-five yard pool with six lap lanes has consumed my life. It first began with lessons; but as I saw my brother swimming competitively, I became inspired. On the first day I signed up for the New Bedford YMCA Hurricane Swim Team, I was shocked and petrified. I didn’t think I would possibly be able to make it the whole length of the pool; but I quickly developed a good group of friends, now my second family, and it became a little easier. They pushed and cheered me along. My coaches and teammates encouraged my success, and I was determined to win first place as much as possible.
I believe that determination is key to success. As I jumped into the water the first day I looked out to the other end and thought, “How will I ever manage this?” Then I saw all the other kids doing it. So why not me? I became the fastest “eight- year- old and under” girl on my team, but I wanted more. “The farther ahead you get the harder you push,” my coach told me. As my determination to become a winner increased my success soared.
As the years went on, so did the amount of laps. The strenuous two lap event increased to twenty. “Twenty laps?!” I would mutter to myself. My coach continued to encourage me saying I would do fine and entered me in the race. As far as I was concerned, he had grown three heads. How would I, Allison, complete this five-hundred yard event?
I stepped up to the block and turned to look at my competition. Being merely 5’4”, I realized I was no match for the 5’8” or 5’9” girls. I was more than a little hesitant. My coaches reminded me I could do it. “Determination is the key to success.” I thought and dove in, knowing I swam a lot, but never this much. I knew I had to try harder than ever if I wanted to succeed.
As the race came to a close I was so tired I could hardly stand. My arms and legs felt like lead as I finished and noticed no one was near me. Did everyone finish and leave? I looked over to my friends and I saw them cheering for me. Are they clapping for me because I was so slow? They pointed to the middle of the pool. My competition had not finished. I WON!? I should have listened to my coach more often, I suppose. I may have done this sooner as my swimming career comes to a close next year, I realize I have learned my lessons to another aspect of my life. Determination is the key to success.
This belief has resulted in teaching future Hurricane swimmers. I see children at the YMCA each day who have the same thoughts and fears as I did. As their coach it is my responsibility to pass on not only my passion but also my key to success. I believe determination is the key to life even the impossible can be made possible.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.