All I could think was “How could this happen?” “How could I have a result like this after I had trained for countless hours and had put my body to the limit every day I entered the pool. I didn’t even get the best time.
It all started on January 22nd at a home swim meet against West Genny. Before the race, I can remember walking up to the blocks getting ready for my specialty the 500-yard freestyle having a very positive feeling about this race. In addition, as I wandered up I can recollect smelling that strong odor of chlorine as the song “Soundtrack to My Life” by my favorite musician Kid Cudi was blasting through my headphones and into my ears. The next thing I known my Cap and Goggles are on and the official blows, his whistle and it is time to step up onto the blocks. Once I put my feet onto the course sandpaper grip of the blocks, the official informs us to take are marks and then the buzzer goes off and all six of us dive into the pool to start the race.
Like most of my races that one was a blur, all I can remember is what happened after the finish. The moment I lift my head out of the water all I can hear is the roar of the crowd and all I am thinking to myself is “That’s a lot of people clapping, I mean I don’t think I swam that well.” Then I turn my head around rapidly at the scoreboard and see it. A 4:52.25; that was a Varsity state cut and a top time in the section by over 10 seconds. So many emotions came across me as I got out of the water and gave my mom a big hug, then I threw my arms into the air to celebrate my accomplishment. This was a goal I had set out for my whole high school career, and it was finally a reality. At that time I was as happy as a kid in a candy store.
After I had cruised to a strong finish of the regular season and the first place at sectionals I was ready for the meet of my life. The NYSPHSAA Boy’s Swimming Championships. Before my race, I had done my usual meet warm up and listened to music as I awaited patiently for my coach to tell me to go up to the blocks. As soon as he told me to go up there I took off my headphones and my parka and ran up there because I was ready to swim.The race was about to begin, I went over my gameplan in my head, and was getting really nervous as time went by until they called me up to step onto the blocks. But, something was off. I was getting into my own head and I had a bad feeling about the race as if I were going to do bad. Then, the next thing I know we all took our marks and the race had begun. Directly after my finish, I knew I didn’t do my best and then I looked up onto the board as it read “J. Whiting 4:51.97.” This wasn’t even my personal best. All I can remember is running straight out of the pool and didn’t speak for a half-hour as I let emotions get out of me. I can recall all the rage and disappointment that came across from me at that time. A little while afterwards I realized that I had another meet later for my club team where I would swim the same event and put my mindset onto that one and only meet.
This time going into this race I was being very positive for a good result. I did my usual pre-race routine of a warm up and music, but something was different this time. I had a sense that I knew I was going to do well and failure was not an option. And this message carried over into the race where I went a personal best time by over 3 seconds. I was so happy that I was able to accomplish this goal and finish my season out on my own terms. So in the end what I realized is that as long as you're positive you can achieve anything you set your mind to.