A Highly Underestimated Bunch | Teen Ink

A Highly Underestimated Bunch

January 21, 2016
By CianaB GOLD, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania
CianaB GOLD, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania
12 articles 0 photos 34 comments

I feel my heart beating nervously, and there are butterflies in my stomach. When the coaches tell me to, I walk up to to the block. I slowly inch forward, and all too soon, it’s my turn. I make sure my goggles are on tight, and I pull my cap down all the way over my ears so there’s no chance of it falling off. “Swimmers, step up.” My heart pounds. “Take your mark.” The butterflies in my stomach start to rise. “Go away.” I hiss at them. “BEEP!” The buzzer sounds, and we’re off.

The summer between 5th and 6th grade is when I started doing swimteam for my country club. Each morning for about the first 2 months of summer vacation, I would get up and dread going to practice, knowing that I was the slowest person there.

As the year went on, I grew faster, and at the end of the year banquet, I got the most improved swimmer award for 10 and under girls since I had dropped so much time from the beginning of that season.

Despite the things they have to go through, swimmers are highly underestimated by most. I would be one to know. A lot of people think swimming is for non athletic individuals since it’s not a contact sport and basically everyone can do it, but they don't know the reality of the sport. 

I admit, swimming isn’t a contact sport sport where you’re physically working with your team, which makes it easier in a way. However in swimming, people are counting on you to win your race heat, and you can't just pass the responsibility off to someone else on your team the way you pass a soccer ball to a teammate. In contact sports such as soccer, basketball, football, etc. the coach can switch players out during the game if there are enough players to do so. But in swimming, even if you’re losing, you have to finish the race.

Also, just because almost everyone can do swimming, that doesn't mean they've endured hour to hour and a half long practices that at times go by really quickly, but usually feel like an eternity. During swim practice, the only time you rest is when the coaches are telling you what to do, and then you’re swimming again. This is something most people would struggle with.

“Keep. Going. Until. The. End.” My arms, legs, and chest all burn, and I know I can’t last much longer, but if I give up now I let my team down, and that is something I can’t live with. “ALMOST! THERE!” I take the final few strokes, not daring to breathe until I’m at the wall, and then the race is over. I look around. Sure, I didn’t come in first place, but I didn’t get last place either, and that’s good enough for me.


Now that I’m getting older, swimming is becoming more competitive, but the one thing I’ve learned since I first started swimming and am still trying to fully accept is that in the long run, it doesn’t matter if you come in first or last as long as you tried your hardest.

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