A good swim with a big win

A good swim with a big win

Rachael Hajec, Editor

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming… Around sixth grade, I decided to join the Corry Otters Swim team at our local YMCA. I was very nervous because even though I knew how to swim pretty well, I had no experience with swimming competitively. Being super competitive, or even being a part of a sport, were never my favorite things, but I figured I should start off middle school right and try something new. A few weeks before practice started, my mom and I went shopping for all of the swim gear I would possibly need. Many swim caps, goggles, bathing suits, towels, and bags bought later, we headed home not realizing that these items were things I would grow to use for years to come.

Weeks flew by, and my first day of practice finally arrived. Walking in I saw all of the swimmers, (who have been swimming since they were very young) do all kinds of cool tricks and strokes that I didn’t even know existed. After talking to the couch, meeting my fellow teammates, and trying to swim correctly myself, I felt very insecure. As I went home I told my mom how much I didn’t want to join the swim team, and that I didn’t know what I was doing wrong, but that I just felt very out of place.

“Everyone feels a little scared and out of place when they try something new. Don’t give up just yet! Give it a few more days and just try your best. If you don’t like it at all in about a week, you don’t have to join the team,” said my mom.

Hearing the words of my mom ringing in my ear, I went into practice the next day giving it my all. After a few more days I realized the more I tried and understood the concepts better, I was actually pretty good. From then on, I knew being on the swim team was something I needed to stick with in order to help myself grow and stay determined with anything I participated in.

Years went by and I was only improving from there. My swim coach, Doug, continued to encourage and support me during practice, and during all of the events I would be involved in during swim meets. He later decided to put me in a relay with three other girls. Each person swims two laps (50 yards) either using backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, or freestyle. If the four people swim all eight laps (200 yards) under a certain time frame, that relay could go compete in theĀ  District Championship at Penn State main campus! After months of hard work and dedication, we finally beat the time and were headed to Districts!

As we got there and settled in while waiting for our event, so many different emotions and questions were running through my brain. Will we get a better time or a worse one? Will I be able to swim fast enough? What if I forget what I need to do? Are we capable of making it to the STATE Championships?! Our event was called and we all went up to the starting block. The first person dove in, then the second, and the third, and finally it was my turn. I stepped onto the block, dove in, and moved my arms and legs as fast as physically possible. I hit the wall, looked at the timer, and realized I just swam my best…time…EVER!

Even though we didn’t make it to States that day, I knew that moment would be one I would remember for years to come. By joining the swim team and growing a close relationship with my coach and fellow teammates, I have discovered my true personality, the importance of trying new things, believing in myself, and never giving up!