Disclaimer: This post is long and sappy and mostly void of pictures. Hopefully that won’t scare you away!
If you’ve ever been bored enough to read my Road to Health page, you’ll know that I used to swim in high school.
I was never really an active kid. I did swim a few summers as a kid on a swim team of a local pool (Go Churchland Swim Club!) I was so slow. I was that kid who was the last one in the pool during a swim meet…all the others finished 20 seconds ahead of me. Every would cheer super loud for me so I’d hurry up and finish! Ok, that’s a little bit of an exaggeration. I wasn’t always that slow, but I was definitely not the fastest.
Fast forward about 8 years when I got to high school and I had a really rough freshman year. My friends in my grade turned out to not be so wonderful But despite this, I was blessed with some really incredible friends who were juniors (yay freshman me for having older friends!) and they were into swimming.
Sophomore year, I came home one day and told my mom I was going to try out for the swim team. I wanted to try something new and get new friends, but mostly I wanted to hang out with a junior named Nick who was so cute. Our little brothers were best friends, and so consequently we hung out a lot, and I wanted to hang out more. Naturally, joining the swim team was the next logical step!
Mom laughed when I told her, but was cautiously supportive. It was so completely out of the realm of what I would normally do. Much to everyone’s surprise (especially mine!), I made the team and was involved with it for the rest of my high school career. I was never really that fast, but it didn’t seem to matter. I have so many memories about so many great people that I swam with (It was there that I met Hollie!) I stopped caring so much about the cute boy and started focusing more on the great swimming community.
The three years that I was involved in swimming were some of the best of my life. It was there that I really started to learn what encouraging and supporting others looked like. Although we were on a team, and had team relay races, it was really an individual sport. And sure, we compete with/against each other. Despite all that, we were so amazingly encouraging and supportive of each other. I will never forget what it felt like to have a crowd of my teammates cheering me on during an individual race. Or seeing the faces of my relay team as I finished strong…or encouraging me on the rare occasions I was the anchor of the relay. I will never forget my teammates who did the boards for me on my 500 free so I didn’t lose track of my laps.
When my brother got to high school, he joined the team too. At first I was a little upset. I mean, swimming was my thing. I got really annoyed when he was much better than me. In retrospect, I wish I had been a little more supportive. It was really cool when we got to do the lap count for each other on our 500 free races. I really believe that swimming brought us closer together.
Once I went off to college, I stopped swimming competitively (not that I was ever fast). I still miss it, and love when I get an opportunity to swim some laps for cross training.
What I love about running is its very much like swimming. It is an individual sport, but you are never alone. The running community (and running/blogging community) allows me to feel the support that I used to get in my swimming days. And it is oh so sweet!
What sports did you participate in growing up? How have others encouraged or supported you?