Sunday, February 21, 2016

Just Keep Swimming Part 2

I can't remember if I've mentioned it on the blog or not, but I have had the most marvelous opportunity this year. I got to swim on my college's DII swim team! Crazy, right? I mean, I'm a grad student, I've only swum for a year and a half, and my times are still quite slow (because I've only swum for the aforesaid year and a half). Here's the story:

Last year as swimming was becoming increasingly important to me, a few things happened. First, I read about college swimming and wished so much I had started earlier so I could have had a chance to experience it. Then, at a swim meet, someone found out I went to Converse and said, "Oh you should swim for Corey! He needs swimmers." I was like oh yeah but I'm a grad student and just a beginner swimmer and blah blah. Then, my brother asked if I had ever thought about swimming on Converse's team and I was like well you know I really don't think I could etc. But, nevertheless, the idea had been planted, and I then remembered my other brother who had walked on to a college team - he ended up quitting - but still it reminded me that these things do happen. Of course, he had been already swimming for a few years, but still. So, one day, on a whim, I looked up information about Converse's swim team. And then, I emailed the coach. I said something along the lines of I had just started swimming and I was really slow but I was really passionate about swimming and a hard worker and I wanted to get better at swimming and experience what college swimming was like and I was wondering if there was any possibility of my walking on to the team. I wrote the email, hit send, and immediately regretted it. I mean, what in the world was I thinking??! I had only been doing competitive swimming for about 6 or 7 months at this point and I knew I was a lot slower than everyone on the team and that they had all been swimming for years! The coach was going to think I was completely insane and laugh at me. I HATE being laughed at. (Well when I'm being serious that is. I am rather funny so I get laughed at a lot but that's different than made fun of about something I am completely serious about and putting myself on the line about). I comforted myself with the fact that the coach had no idea who I was and our paths weren't going to cross, so eventually he would forget about the incriminating email and that would be that. I didn't hear from him for a couple weeks, so that confirmed my fears. And then one day, I got an email that said he was having the compliance officer check into my eligibility. I was like hmmm ok! *tightly crossed fingers* Then a few days later he wrote and said it would be possible for me to compete for a year if I wanted  to come and talk about what would be involved with him. Did I ever! I basically dropped what I was doing and rushed to Converse so I could talk with him. He said he would work with me for a few weeks and see what he thought at the end of that time. I was soooo excited! I was determined to work super hard and do everything in my power to make the team. At the end of the few weeks, he said I most likely could swim with the team in the fall but he would let me know at the end of the summer. He also gave me some goals to work on over the summer. I was beyond excited. And my motivation had already been super high - now it was through the roof! I worked super hard. My coaches Mark, Carolyn, and Deb at Greenville Splash (a masters team) helped me work on my technique and gave me test sets to see where I was at with the goals that Corey had given me. At the end of the summer, I got an official letter offering me a position on the team. Such a happy day!

This year of doing college swimming (or really 7 months) has been incredible. It has been very difficult at times and I have had all kinds of setbacks I was not expecting. But it has also been such a neat experience and a lot of fun. It has stretched me and helped me to grow. Corey is a great coach and I have learned a lot from him. And I have dropped time. Not as much as I wanted to - but to be fair, probably the amount I wanted to drop wasn't realistic. Corey is always telling me it is a process - it's not going to happen overnight. I don't think patience is my strong point lol. And I have had sickness, injuries, and family crises that have slowed me down - literally. But still, I celebrate every personal best and every teeny bit of progress. I can't believe the season is over - I am incredibly sad! But I am beyond grateful to Corey (and to God!) for giving me this opportunity. I will always have these amazing memories. And just because the season is over, no way is my swimming career over! I have barely started! I want to see how good I can get at swimming - I mean who knows what I can do or how fast I can get? I am determined to find out just what I can do in the sport. I am sure I will fail and have more setbacks and injuries but as long as I keep persevering and working hard who knows what will happen! My motto? Dory said it best, "Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming."