October 20, 2010
By , Gahanna, OH
1:03.59. The numbers flash in my mind. It is the time that will prove my efforts were not in vain. It is the time that will decide if I end up on top. It is the time that will make me a winner. 1:03.59. The numbers flash in my mind once again. I am ready to make it happen.

Swimming has always been a part of my life. I started learning when I was five at Highlands Pool and progressed to competitive swimming at the Aquatic Center and Tuttle Pool three years later. It was not until my freshman year at South, however, did I experience real swimming. That year I joined the high school team as well as the Gahanna YMCA club team. Since then, nine months out of twelve, I am swimming, conditioning, and racing; it is a never ending cycle. But to me, it is more than just stretching, swimming back and forth, and shaving time. Instead, it is about learning life lessons, changing and becoming a better individual.

One of the most important aspects of swimming for me is the bond I form with my teams. During swim season, I spend, on average, four hours with my teammates every day. We have been to Hell and back. We have seen each other on our worst and best days, and we know exactly what we are each capable of. We push each other to the absolute limit with our competitiveness and we support each other through thick and thin. My teams are my second family. The value of such a strong support group is not beneath me. It has taught me to build connections wherever I go and to create long lasting friendships. It is the people that I surround myself with in life that will help bring me to success.

Henry David Thoreau once said, “Do what you love. Know your own bone; gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw it still.” The underlying message behind his words? BE PASSIONATE. Without passion, there is no oomph; there is no specialness. I found passion within swimming. When I swim, I pour my heart and soul into it. I see every mistake as a learning experience and see every accomplishment as an opportunity to make a new goal. I “gnaw at it...and gnaw at it still.” This feeling I get when I swim is something I have learned to look for in everything I do. Whether it is teaching little kids how to swim, volunteering at Key Club, or merely fixing my bed in the morning. I make sure that it is something I want to do, and that it is something I am willing to put work into to do it to the best of my capabilities.

Starting something is one thing, but finishing? That is an entirely different story. I can join all the clubs and teams in the world, but it takes my utmost determination to truly commit. Swimming has trained me to be that determined, committed individual. During the hardest workouts of my life, the infamous 36 100s to be exact, I grit my teeth, dig my heels in, and swim until my hand touches that wall. When I feel as if my arms are about to fall off, I suck it up and keep going until I finish. This mentality I have come to develop is one I apply to everything in my life. Without drive, nothing will be accomplished. It is my will to push forward past the obstacles that will give me a leg up above the rest.

The emotional high of winning is perhaps the best feeling the world. When I swim a personal best, win a heat, or even better, win an event, I am on top of the universe and no one can bring me down. When I accomplish a goal, no matter big or small, it is a celebratory matter. The whole idea of trying my hardest and putting in every ounce of my effort in everything I do is pointless if there are no results. Swimming has taught me to fight for a place on top. I am a warrior and I can achieve anything I put my mind to. I am victorious in both the literal and figurative sense. Literally, I am swimming a faster time. Figuratively, I am overcoming flaws, setting myself apart, being a more unique person, and becoming a stronger individual.

I have heard more than one positive influence in my life say, “If winning were easy, everyone would be doing it.” There is absolute truth to those words. Everything I do in life is geared towards bringing me closer and closer to triumph. My goal is to become the best possible person I can be and to gain the most out of my life. Swimming has become an especially significant part of who I am. It has already made me a better person, and all my experiences with this grueling, yet fantastic sport are among the most valuable and memorable I have ever had. Swimming is my passion; it makes me determined. It has shown me the power of teamwork and it has led me to victory.

The roaring of the crowd starts to fade away. I shut my eyes and listen to my pounding heartbeat as the sounds fade into silence. As I climb onto the starting block I see the water below me beginning to settle. I envision myself overpowering the clock stroke by stroke; the water pulsating past me, urging me forward. The official’s whistle pierces the atmosphere, bringing me back to reality.

“Swimmers! Take your mark!”

I curl my toes over the edge and crouch down low. I grip the block with steady hands and wait with bated breath. I see a flash of light as a resounding gunshot electrifies the still air. I instantly leap forward, launching myself out into the pristine, cool water. There is no turning back.

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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

SMcat1994 said...
Aug. 6, 2011 at 8:17 pm
this is very good writing but isn't it a little too long?
WSHS2011 said...
Nov. 7, 2010 at 12:29 pm
Nice job! :)
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