The Black Bag

October 10, 2017
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Most people carry around small things that have a big meaning in their pockets or on their keychain, but I carry my swim bag. It’s definitely not the smallest or lightest thing in the world to be carrying around all the time, but it has the heaviest emotional and physical burden on me. To me, swimming is much more than a sport, it’s my life. My whole world revolves around swimming and everything in it. It connects all of my family and friends in it too. All the people that have been there cheering for me and rooting me on. Now I don’t always like swimming, but I still always do it. It’s so good for me physically and mentally that I feel like it prepares me for whatever life throws at me that day.

My swim bag is a black speedo bag. It’s bigger than my backpack and weighs more but it carries the stuff I need to be successful in swimming. When you open the bag, the smell of heavy chlorine hits you in the face. You see goggles, caps, suits and a towel, plus plenty of garbage that I throw in there after swim meets. You can see lots of red and gray things relating to my school colors. You can hear the sound of the crunching from old water bottles resting at the bottom of my bag from after practice.

The heavily chlorinated pool looked awfully calm that day while it waited for me to dive in and start swimming. The black crosses on the wall, that signal when you should flipturn, were already peeling away. The white blocks sit still on the edge of the pool with small, orange cones sitting on top of them. The white-board reads our practice for the day, including a warm-up, a pre-set, a main-set, and a cool-down. Swimmers sit along the edge of the pool dreading getting in the water because they know it means hard work. Our coach laughs as she sits on the bench knowing our practice is going to be extra hard that day. As the timer in the corner of the room reads 00:00 we all know it's time to get in. The white water splashes up all around the swimmers as they jumped in. The pool is now awake from its long rest.

I stood behind the block stretching my arms out. I stood 5’3 with a determined face. I was preparing myself for the upcoming race. My gray cap stuck tightly to my head with a giant red B on either side. My goggles sucked so closely to my eyes it hurt. My black suit with red stripes down the side was still wet from the last event I was in. Two of my teammates were also behind the block, along with three other girls from the opposing school. While we were all stretching and preparing for the race, the starter called us to step up. The stands went quiet. I was breathing lightly now, knowing I was going to come up breathing very heavily. As he said “Take your mark”, I grabbed the end of the block and held on tightly, while we all wished ourselves good luck.

Some people may wonder why I carry that black swim bag, and it’s more that just for practice, it’s part of me. Swimming has been everything to me since I was a little girl, and now it somehow means even more. I try my best to succeed everyday in doing everything I possibly can to reach my full potential. Anyways, the black bag on my back means more than my cap, goggles and towel, it means the most to me.

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