Swimming is a sport that takes hard work, patience, and lots of dedication. Swimming can increase your physical ability, be a great outlet for you to meet new people, and have good effects on your emotional health. When you join competitive or professional swimming there will be sweat, blood, and tears shed, however you will know that this is all going to help you progress as a swimmer. Us swimmers go through days after day of training to get to where we are. But why do we do this? Why do we put ourselves through agonizing practices every day just for one big meet a year?
It’s because that is who we are. Swimming is not just a sport for us, it’s a lifestyle. We look for hard work rather than run away from it. We are a special breed of human who do not look at work as torture but as a blessing. Some people may think that swimming isn’t a sport, and they might forget about it until the Olympics, but that’s only because they’ve never tried it before. Every swimmer has a story, and mine is unlike any other.
My story started out where any other swimmer’s story would, at the pool. My first team was the JCH Stingrays. It was a small team for kids who were just starting out in their swimming career. There, I learned the basic swimming strokes and techniques. At around age eight I started competitively swimming. On my JCH swim team, I learned the value of sportsmanship and teammates. I stayed on this team for three years practicing my swimming. At age eleven I transferred to a more competitive team. The switch was definitely not easy. I still remember crying every day not wanting to go to practices and whining about the hard workouts. Looking back at this now I realize how mistaken I was about my new team.
This new team opened up a whole new level of swimming that I would have never imagined at my old team. I got sponsored by Arena and became a member of the USA Swim Club. This meant that I would be able to participate in national meets and swim for New York State. I made so many new friends and lots of memories to go with them. I love my team and I would never replace them with anything in the whole world. We understand each other as swimmers, and over the past year we have become a family. I swim on this team now and I have to say that even though I have practice for three hours every day, have to maintain a stable diet, and keep a strict bedtime, it’s all worth it.
Us swimmers fight through the pain of long, exhausting practices and work-till-our-faces-are-red drylands to get results. Swimming is not just about being faster than the person next to you, it’s about racing time. The time represents generations before us who were striving to do the same things, but it can also represent generations after us who are striving to accomplish what we have done. Swimming is not just about touching the wall before anyone else does, but what you did to get there. Albert Einstein was once quoted as saying that insanity is “doing something over and over again and expecting different results.” Well then I guess you can call us crazy. Every day we jump into into a cold pool and repeat the things we have done the days before hoping to make progress. We push ourselves to extreme levels of exhaustion just to get our times, and when we look back at the clock, it’s all over…until the cycle starts again.