Imagine a little girl just touching the wall of the neighborhood pool. She pulls herself out in one smooth motion, while everyone else is just reaching the flags. She doesn’t even acknowledge the blue, 1st place ribbon placed in her hand, slightly shaking from the less than 10% body fat that doesn’t tend to provide a lot of insolation on a cool summer night, and immediately asks for her time. She barely has time to listen to the last tenth of a second when she turns and walks away, looks directly into the camera of her #1 fan (her mom) and recites her time: 26.6 seconds.
That little girl….was not me in the least!
Instead, I was the rosy-cheeked 6-year-old sister of that first, would be a division 1 athlete, little girl who touched the wall not last, but definitely not first. I was the one who always made sure her cap was off and her hair smoothed out before she would even dare to crawl her way out of the pool to receive, yet another tie dye colored “participant ribbon”.
So was it worth it for this Participant Swimmer to spend countless Tuesday nights (around 180 nights over the course of her summer swim league career) at the neighborhood pool, practicing five days a week without always being on top? Absolutely!
For me, summer swimming was a place to stay social, stay active and stay cool. Summer wouldn’t be the same without it. I am grateful for every year I spent my summers at the pool, how it enabled me to stay active in an increasingly inactive world and occasionally feel a sense of victory when getting out of the pool and receiving that blue ribbon (relays still count)!