A Helping She-Devil

Joshua - Highlands Ranch, Colorado
Entered on April 8, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe in my coach.

“Don’t make me throw my chair in there!” shouted my coach if I was not swimming how I was supposed to be.

Caty was her name. She would make us do the most ridiculous workouts. She would push us as much as our bodies could handle and then some. I remember seeing the bottom of the pool fade into black as I started to pass out from holding my breath swimming underwater.

She taught me strict discipline. Every single start, every turn, and every stroke had to be perfect during practice and meets. I remember getting pelted with icy water when I messed up on one of my turns during practice. I remember kick boards and tennis balls pelting me in the back from not kicking hard enough. Caty’s whistle was so loud that I could hear it in the water. That meant swim faster.

It was very hard to impress Caty. I was a sprinter. As a sprinter, every tenth and hundredth of a second counted. I remember after race, my coach chastised me for my flip-turn saying, “Your turn was slow and ugly. You could have one the race if it was a faster turn!.” Even my senior year at the last meet she would tell me what I could have done better.

Caty would not let us drink carbonation during the swim season, and she was very strict about that. It was my birthday and I asked if I could have a soda with my family as we celebrated my birthday. She said, “No!” I asked again pleading because it was my birthday. The answer was still no. I went to my party and my mother said that it would not be a big deal if I just had one can. I decided that it was only one; how much damage can one can do?

The next day at swim practice, the laps seemed much longer than I remembered them. I was struggling just doing the warm ups. During practice that day was one of the hardest times in my swimming career. I was wincing in pain for every stroke I took because my muscles were so fatigued.

Principles I learned during my swimming career apply to me now. Instead of discipline in the water, I have discipline in life. I am good at sitting down and doing my homework. I am one of the hardest workers when I work, and I owe it all to my coach for teaching me discipline.