Picture of a picture, classy I know!
For the first few years of my swimming career I think that my lane mates didn't take me as serious competition and they were probably right! My brother and I first joined one local YMCA team but we only stayed with the team for one year. Around the end of our first year swimming, another local swim team's pool roof collapsed leaving them without a pool! Luckily for us, that team had to come practice at our pool. We fell in love with them and we, along with a few others, made the switch and never looked back!
Backstroke, my favorite!
We were later told by our coach, or my mom through our coach I can't really remember, that our first "coach" was fine with the handful of us who made the switch because we weren't that good. Oh how wrong he was! Most of us went on to do great things with our swimming careers because we had a great coach who saw our potential and we worked hard to achieve it.
I worked my BUTT off to become the best swimmer on my YMCA team and my high school team. The change was gradual at first and then I just took off! My favorite moment as a swimmer was not when I broke 1 minute in the 100 free, not even when I swam to 56:06 in the 100 free (yea I still remember that time). It also wasn't when I was the 100 backstroke State Champion my senior year of high school.
Oh look, another picture of a picture
My favorite moment as a swimmer was something entirely more special. Every year we would have a banquet for my YMCA team and our coach, Lenny (he was later replaced by Jim the last few years of my swimming career but he will always be my coach), would hand out trophies for the "most improved" and "most valuable" swimmers for each age group. The first time that I was given "most valuable", I wasn't the fastest swimmer in my age group so I was shocked! He had given it to me because of my determination, my drive, my passion for the sport and for encouraging others around me.
Almost every year after that I received the "most valuable" honor for my age group and while they were all special, the first time was the most memorable for me.
That was when I started to work hard to achieve my goals and it wasn't going unnoticed.
Although I worked hard to achieve my goals as a swimmer, I did cut corners here and there. I stopped "cross-training", basically I quit cross country after my freshman year and softball after my sophomore year (I got hit in the face by a line drive and I didn't want to play anymore), I would try to get through the weight lifting workouts as quickly as possibly and I probably could have focused on my nutrition a little bit more.
I did swim 8 times a week, though, and I had the determination. Now, I have that determination but I am doing things a little bit differently. I am working the hardest I have EVER worked in my life for something and I can't wait to see the results. There will be no cutting corners, ever again!
I hope to live up to Lenny's perception of me as "most valuable".