For as long as I can remember, I have always been a swimmer. When I was a kid I always took swimming lessons and I loved it. I’ve always have loved the water and just feeling weight-less. Eventually, I stopped taking lessons (I’m not really sure why I did) and didn’t pick swimming back up until I joined my high school swim team. And boy, was that the best!
My first year of swimming, I can honestly say this: I SUCKED!!! I was the slowest one on the team. I could barely do a flip-turn. I could barely make it across the pool without dying and gasping for air. But, let’s be honest here, who breathes during a swim meet? No one. The adrenaline is the best. Standing on the block right before the horn goes off is so intense. It’s great.
Eventually, by the end of my sophomore year of swimming I improved so much. My first swim meet, it took me 1:18 to swim across the pool for a 50 yard race. My last 50 yard race, it took me 0:39 seconds. Guys, that’s a total drop of 39 seconds! It was amazing at how far I had come. I was so proud of myself and I couldn’t wait to hit a :32 on my 50 yard race.
My junior year of swim team was the best! The summer before my junior year, I spent as much time as I possibly could at the pool. I was determined to be one of the fastest swimmers on the team. I was determined to go to state. I was determined to get my Letterman jacket. That summer I went from a :39 on my 50 to :32. WAHOOO!!! It was amazing and I was so excited for the season to start.
The swim season always started with a swim camp and that year I helped out with it. It was so much fun teaching the other kids how to do a flip-turn and to remind them to keep their eldbows high. I really loved it (hence, why I want to be a coach)! But the best memory that I have from that swim camp was when we were teaching them how to do dive off of the starting block (that big white thing that swimmers awkwardly bend over on before they jump into the pool).
And that’s where things went south.
I didn’t hear what we were supposed to teach them because I was talking with some friends. All I heard was, “Brand! Get up on the start block. We need you!” So, I got up on the start block and waited forever. I can remember clearly a coach saying, “Swimmers, take your start.” So, I did that awkward bending over thing. Then another coach told me to fix my feet right when the horn went off. It scarred me so bad that I fell off of the start block.
My goggles filled up with water and flipped off of my face. I banged my toes on the start block as I made my grand entrance into the water. And the best part was, after I had climbed out of the pool, was the look on my coaches face. He said to me, “Well, we’ll work on your starts this year.”
Let’s just say that it took another experience like this for me to get my starts just right. Thankfully, by the end of the season, I had killer starts because of that one time at swim camp.