I’ve been watching the Olympics, specifically the swimming and I can’t help but feel a little nostalgic. As the competitors dive into the pool, make the turn at the end of the pool and head for the touch pad I can’t help but miss the feeling. No, I never was as fast as a world class Olympian, but swimming was still my life.
I was on a swim team from about the age of 10 till I graduated high school. When I was younger, I was a part of a competitive swim team which continued through middle school and high school. In high school, I was a part of the school swim team and the summer league, so there was never a vacation, except for a little time right after school started each fall.
I lived and breathed swimming as a kid. I had the chance to swim in college, but I turned it down because I was just so burned out. After what felt like a long eight years, I was ready to hang up my goggles and swim cap.
But now, I realize how phenomenal an experience that truly was. And it’s funny the things I miss about it. I miss the strong smell of chlorine that hit you when you walked into our high schools indoor pool. I miss putting on a swim cap (and how exciting it was to learn how to put it on by yourself) and the rush you got on the block waiting for the race to start. I even kind of miss the 6 am practices before school (yeah, crazy considering I’m not a morning person).
I was not a freestyle swimmer really (although I frequently swam the 500 freestyle…didn’t enjoy it though). I was a back stroke and butterfly girl (I had the back muscles to prove it). I loved butterfly and back stroke, because they both allowed you to be graceful in a sense. Not that being graceful was the name of the game, when all that mattered was who touched the wall first.
I think the reason I loved the grace was because I truly wanted to be a diver. I can remember being in practice up on the block, diving into the pool and trying to make sure it was a “pretty” dive. I can also remember my coach telling me that my dives were beautiful and all, but they weren’t fast starts.
Our school didn’t have a dive team, so I settled for competitive swimming because I loved the water. I loved the quietness in your head as you did laps up and down the pool. It was such a great time to think and let go of all the worries of the day. By the time you got out of the pool your were physically exhausted, but mentally I always felt refreshed.
If only I had appreciated it more at the time. Now, as I try to get into the routine of running for fitness, I think back to my years in the pool and the fact that I will always be better at “running” in the pool.
I think it’s time to give up trying to make myself into a runner and be the swimmer (or diver) I’ll always be at heart.