The Conference Meet

June 25, 2012
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Swimming has always been my passion. I loved the stench of chlorine come out of the pool. I came to enjoy the ache in my throat from swallowing pool water because it means that I’m doing something that I love. The freshman year of high school I joined the girls' swim team. The season was coming to a close far too soon and conference was quickly approaching. I was nervous because I didn’t know what events I was competing in until the day of conference. I learned that I was swimming in 4 events, 100 backstroke, 50 free, 200 medley relay and 400 free relay. The only event I was worried about was the 50 free. Only down and back in the pool and that was it. I have never been good at short distances. I knew I wasn’t as fast as the other girls, but I had the endurance to do this event without breathing once.

When the 50 free event was up I knew I could win. I was standing right behind the starting block and went into my zone. There were no screams or distractions, only me and the water. The whistle blew its ear piercing trill; I slowly got onto the starting block. I couldn’t hear anyone at all. This was the moment that I had trained for all season, all the 4 hour practices were meant for this exact moment. I took a deep breath and focused every more.

“TAKE YOUR MARKS” said the official.

I tightened my grip and leaned back so I could throw myself off the block as soon the beep sounded. Looking back it was probably only a couple seconds that went by but I felt like I was up there for an hour.

BEEP.

I launched myself off the block into a perfect dive. I pierced the water and held my position until I started to slow down. I began kicking to the surface, fast. I was halfway to the other side and started stroking. I was going so fast and I was at the wall in record time. I did my flip turn perfectly and got extremely far from the wall.

This is it,
I’m going to win this and all of my hard work will pay off. I got to the flags and switched into extreme mode. I hit the wall with earth scattering pressure. I was done; I looked at the record board and saw what I will always remember for the rest of my life. LANE 4, 29.45 seconds, 1st place, I was in lane 4!

I got out of the pool and was attacked by all of my friends who came to congratulate me. I looked at my coach from across the pool and saw her smiling like she was just told she won the lottery, and then I saw him. The man who made this entire experience the worst I’ve ever had. He took one look at me and said the dreaded words “You took a false start. You’re disqualified”. The official didn’t say it with sadness or sympathy. He said it with arrogance and rudeness. He walked away as I stood standing there in total shock.

I didn’t know what to do.

There was nothing I could do or say because if I argued with him he could disqualify me for the rest of my events. My friends tried to comfort me but nothing that they could make me feel better. The one thing that I tried to do my best on I couldn’t do because the official thought I took a false start.

I cried.

This was the most terrible thing that had ever happened to me in my entire swimming life. I later learned that I broke my finger by hitting the wall too hard when I was coming in to finish. I didn’t feel the pain because I was too happy and then too sad. I never took a false start ever again.





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