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Fast Lane This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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My freshman year, someone told me that asthma and the sport of swimming don’t mix. After that first season, I was pretty sure they were right. I suffered through week after week, attack after attack, too proud to quit but too tired to continue. There were too many people to let down and too many ­expectations to live up to for me to give up.

So I stuck with it. A teammate became my mentor, talking me calmly through each lung-busting attack, coaxing me gently back into the water, just one more time. I ­became a backstroker, where you have pretty much unlimited opportunity to breathe. I was pathetic, but I wasn’t giving up.

The season ended, and with its close came new determination. Six other girls on the team suffered from my affliction, but I didn’t see them whining. So I changed.

I swam every chance I had, working not only on lung capacity but stroke mechanics, turns, starts, and muscle-building. When I couldn’t get to a pool, I ran until my lungs burst and my legs burned.

Sophomore season rolled around. I got in the pool for the first meet expecting more of myself, while everyone else was wondering what I was still doing there. The 100-yard backstroke, my best race, came up, and I gave it my all. At the start, I remembered what I’d practiced, holding my body straight as an arrow as I streamlined through the water. In the middle, I moved with perfect rotation and strong, certain pulls. On the turn, I flipped at the right time, pushing off the wall with a force I had never felt before. This continued for four lengths, air struggling through my gasping lips as my mind told me I’d be okay. After all, I had more than coaches to prove wrong. I slammed into the wall with a perfect finish, looking at the lanes around me.

Suddenly I was very confused. No one else was at the wall. I heard cheers from my teammates and saw the jaw-dropped look on my coach’s face. I spun around to see five girls still swimming. My eyes darted to the time board.

Seven seconds faster than my end of season time, something nearly unheard of in the sport of swimming. And my first first place ever!

I’ve swam varsity ever since.

Every day I struggle, every length I gasp, every turn I ask myself why. But when I see improved times, when I win races, and when I take four medals at a league meet no one ­expected me even to qualify for, I know the struggle was worth it.

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 32 comments. Post your own!

EeBRA said...
May 27, 2012 at 12:49 am:

I play soccer and i suck at at swimming, this article is so inspiring that it makes me want to go out with my soccer ball and dont come back home till midnight

 

 
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IAmWhoIWantToBe said...
Apr. 16, 2012 at 8:32 pm:
This is very inspirational. I'm not a swimmer but you make work out harder. Thanks, fella!
 
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mybestfriendisJesusThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Nov. 11, 2011 at 12:18 am:

wow, that's so inspiring!

i'm a track runner, but i know what you mean..

haha.. running till your legs burn and lungs burst:D

that's like, my life..

thank you,

i needed that PUSH!

 
McVee replied...
Jan. 16, 2012 at 8:39 pm :
I'm a runner too. I know what it feels like to want to give up so bad. Perseverance is key, and wanting it as much as the guy in front of you is too.
 
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Spike9110 said...
Sept. 28, 2011 at 12:28 pm:
That story was so intresting. I stopped swimming team because I always came in 4th place. But I'm going to keep on practicing
 
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Jaeda R. said...
Jul. 2, 2011 at 10:10 pm:
That was amzing. I love to swim. Now I'm annoyed at myself for not trying hard enough to go to the pool. Remebering this will make me all the more dedicated to practicing more. <3
 
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WickedStarcatcherThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Apr. 5, 2011 at 2:22 pm:

This is awesome !!!! I'm also a varsity swimmer and I used to have a hard time in the pool with coughing. Last year, i was definately the WORST on the team! But after the season ended i did just what you did-i practiced nonstop. This year, I am proud to say that I am one of the better swimmers on my team because of my practice and that I have lost time and even placed second in a race! The coaches pay more attention when you put more efort in! Thank you so much for sharing your story-its so e... (more »)

 
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ABronson said...
Mar. 14, 2011 at 10:09 am:
I loved how u used words to make a picture in your readers mind.
 
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qefwefa said...
Dec. 6, 2010 at 1:48 pm:
SA S'ÉCRIT: shut up!!!!
 
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allo XD said...
Dec. 6, 2010 at 1:47 pm:
en fait, j'encule mon chat :)
 
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kalim said...
Dec. 8, 2010 at 7:19 am:

Wow, je ne sais de quoi vous parlez moi ceci n'a pas de sens... Imaginez si la personne mentioner ce rencontre que son nom est écrit et en plus, insulter!...

Anyways...

 
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sccas said...
Dec. 3, 2010 at 9:18 am:
Men c parce quy a plusieurs personne nono
 
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Thomas555 said...
Dec. 2, 2010 at 7:47 pm:

Heille, pour qui tu me prend, bin oui je parle français. Ta aucune raison de me dire tagueule, arrête de marquer des niéseris passe ça doit gosser en maudit l'auteur (en se moment je me demande, quest-cé que ça me fais.)

Thomas555

P.S. arrête d'arreter

 
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chibougamau said...
Dec. 2, 2010 at 2:02 pm:
No it was a joke. THIS TEXT IS VERY GOOD AND INTERESTING. CONTINU LIKE THAT
 
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Thomas555 said...
Dec. 2, 2010 at 2:02 pm:
Stop, Its not a place to play!
 
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Chibougamau said...
Dec. 2, 2010 at 2:00 pm:
C ben bizzare ce texte là  et même plus  bizzare que les caroténoïde :P
 
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wfuowa said...
Dec. 2, 2010 at 1:55 pm:
Sorry :(    
 
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parle said...
Dec. 2, 2010 at 1:55 pm:
c vrm tanant de toujours lire en anglais quand on li une histoire anglaise
 
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Thomas555 said...
Dec. 2, 2010 at 1:54 pm:

Stop to do bad comments, we want to read you, go somewhere else.

Thanks you

 
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ncisapds said...
Dec. 2, 2010 at 1:45 pm:
Merci quand même!
 
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