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Varsity Swimiming This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   It was my first year of varsity swimming. I was a sophomore, a little late to start a high school sport by most standards. I don't remember if it was a Tuesday or a Wednesday or how much yardage we actually did but that day I learned a very important lesson.

I was still tired and sore from practice the day before and the pool was not where I wanted to be. Nevertheless, there I was. The coach had quite a reputation. Some people hated him but others said that he was the best swim coach they ever had. Everyone agreed he had really tough practices.

I did a flip turn and slowly pushed off the wall. I hoped he wasn't looking. Each arm ached as I dragged it out of the chlorine. I looked to the lanes next to me; everyone else was getting out. My goggles were starting to fog up and I couldn't see very much. I still had a 500 left to go (twenty laps).

I wanted to stop. Every muscle was screaming. I glanced up during a breath to see that all the other swimmers had left the deck and headed to the locker room. I kept swimming. I looked again. The coach was still pacing the deck. I noticed that the next swim team had arrived and were standing at the end of the lanes. They were waiting for me to get out. After a few laps they jumped in every lane except mine. I figured that this was the perfect excuse for me to get out. I stopped in the shallow end.

"Are you done?" the looming figure on the deck asked. I could say yes and get away with it. The coach would never know that I had not finish all my laps. But I would.

"No," I answered, fighting back the tears. I dunked my head under and pushed off the wall. I had another 300 yards to go and I did them all. The oxygen rushed into my lungs when I finally stopped. My body was limp and I had trouble hoisting myself out of the pool but I was done and that was all that mattered. The coach was standing by the locker room. I grabbed my towel.

"Good practice," he said. I summoned up all my energy but all I could answer was a mumble. I realized something important that day. I made the commitment to join the team and I was going to stick with it. No longer could I weasel and whine my way out of things like I had when I was younger. I think back to that day a lot now, especially because I am a better swimmer, and remember how I got that way. -


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





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This article has 6 comments. Post your own!

HanaDubb said...
Oct. 11, 2011 at 12:00 am:
Great work! This helped me a lot with my essay:) I was wondering, is that the right way to break up the essay into paragraphs? Or should my essay have bigger paragraphs but less of them?
 
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LanaH said...
Oct. 10, 2011 at 10:27 pm:
Great writing! I think you used great grammar and word choice in your piece.
 
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Sabrina D. said...
Oct. 10, 2011 at 11:57 am:
This was really good, to make it even better you could have added what it felt like to count down each lap. I swim the 500 as my event so I know exactly what you are talking about. Great writing!
 
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S&Mcat said...
Aug. 6, 2011 at 11:57 am:
Great start. You should add more detail and fill out exactly what you were feeling. Perhaps that getting out before finishing the set was only cheating yourself. Elaborate! I'm sure it'll turn into something great :D
 
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Flipturner :) said...
Apr. 3, 2011 at 6:58 pm:

Haha i loved this! i always try to do the same when i go to Varsity practice! I am on a couple of different swim teams and i honestly have to say that i hate when other people slack off while you do the whole set! i have some pretty hard coaches and if you forget to lift one arm out of the pool during a fly set-you're done. i was once told-"i don;t care if your arms fall off-put them back on and get back in the pool!" Your story is really well-written and i can totally relate! Keep on ... (more »)

 
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Caty C. said...
Sept. 9, 2009 at 8:29 pm:
This is really good.. it could teach a lot of people including myself to be positive.. i love it can't wait to read more
 
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