The Swim Meet

December 20, 2009
The Swim Meet

The whistle blows
Panting swimmers exhale wet breaths
One foot up, then the other
Standing on the blocks- 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
We glance down at the upside-down T
It beckons us
“Dive!” It screams, “The water waits!”
We must ignore it
As a thousand other thoughts race through our minds
Caps covering all our hair?
Goggles clear and dry?
Muscles relaxed?

The second whistle blows
We bend down and touch rough boards
Our thoughts flow faster
Beat your seed times!
Get first place!
Swim until your muscles ache
And you want to breathe in the water
Get there fast, faster, fastest
The announcer prepares us
“Take your mark!”

Thoughts slow
The time is here!
Beep! White light flashes
We fly off the blocks
Heads snap up then face down
Quicker than it takes everyone else to blink
We hit the water

Thoughts stop
And we become machines
We hear the cheers from the stands
“Go! Faster!” They scream at us
We see the walls
Flip! Last lap
Faster we go, faster
And we drain our energy
As we hit a final sprint
Legs kicking up tidal waves
Arms blurring with intensity
One . . . last . . . stroke

We hit
Screams erupt in severe amplification
Our heads snap up to the board
Where our times are displayed
Some frown or grind their teeth
Some beat their fists in the air

We’ve done it.

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