Club Swimming Taught Me That When Life Is Difficult You Need To 'Just Keep Swimming'

Club Swimming Taught Me That When Life Is Difficult You Need To 'Just Keep Swimming'

No matter my hardships, I've come out stronger because of them.

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I may not be the best swimmer out there, but I am the best swimmer that I can be. I'm a great swimmer.

Many terrible memories through swimming, but there are so many great ones that make up for them all.

My goal in swimming is to be able to lift my teammates up and push them past their limits. I am more than just any hard worker who puts in more than 110% of my effort into every practice. I am more than just another swimmer whose goal was to once be an Olympic athlete. I am more than just a competitor who aspires to win every race. I am a swimmer who is not afraid to lose a race if it means that I had tried my absolute best in and out of the pool. I am a swimmer that cheers the LOUDEST for her teammates as well as other swimmers without being asked. I am a swimmer who is a TEAM player and wishes nothing more than to perform at my very best so I can inspire and push OTHERS to do even better. I am the swimmer you wish you had on your team.

I struggled through swimming quite a bit from 2014 up until mid-2017 both physically and mentally. I stopped club swimming after spring break of 2016 but rejoined after the summer season. I was not as consistent and I questioned myself to whether or not I still loved the sport because I felt burnt out. Therefore, my results plummeted, but during this summer I started going for my best times again.

I know because I took time off, many people have passed me up and their progress and results are better than mine. I did take that time to realize that science and math were NOT my strong suit in school and that I should not have piled up on so many math/science courses all at once. I found my passion within liberal arts. I may be a bit behind compared to the girls my age on my club team and it is difficult to compare my times with theirs now, but I have a lot of self-motivation and I will not back down just because they are better than me right now.

I really picked myself back up over the recent summer and I have done better than I have ever before. If I were given the opportunity to restart the summer and the past few years and either do anything I wanted to or to relive everything again, I would without a doubt choose to relive everything again. Why? Because without that experience, I would not have been able to realize what I can and cannot handle with school work (like piling up a bunch of difficult classes in two years) and realize what field I want to be a part of in the future. And swimming-wise, I would not have found as much confidence in myself. I would have been swimming without a purpose.

I realized that the little girl who loved swimming so much is still inside me, but I've become a better student and athlete today. You will be impressed by how consistently I can hold my times in practice and how well I will be able to manage my schoolwork. I will be able to amaze you day in and out not only with my performance but with my attitude as well. You will not see anyone else who has a brighter smile, with so much spirit, and so much determination all at once. Because of my setback, I am more ready than ever to shine brighter than ever.

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The Coach That Killed My Passion

An open letter to the coach that made me hate a sport I once loved.
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I fell in love with the game in second grade. I lived for every practice and every game. I lived for the countless hours in the gym or my driveway perfecting every shot, every pass and every move I could think of. Every night after dinner, I would go shoot and would not allow myself to go inside until I hit a hundred shots. I had a desire to play, to get better and to be the best basketball player I could possibly be.

I had many coaches between church leagues, rec leagues, personal coaches, basketball camps, middle school and high school. Most of the coaches I had the opportunity to play for had a passion for the game like I did. They inspired me to never stop working. They would tell me I had a natural ability. I took pride in knowing that I worked hard and I took pride in the compliments that I got from my coaches and other parents. I always looked forward to the drills and, believe it or not, I even looked forward to the running. These coaches had a desire to teach, and I had a desire to learn through every good and bad thing that happened during many seasons. Thank you to the coaches that coached and supported me through the years.

SEE ALSO: My Regrets From My Time As A College Softball Player

Along with the good coaches, are a few bad coaches. These are the coaches that focused on favorites instead of the good of the entire team. I had coaches that no matter how hard I worked, it would never be good enough for them. I had coaches that would take insults too far on the court and in the classroom.

I had coaches that killed my passion and love for the game of basketball.

When a passion dies, it is quite possibly the most heartbreaking thing ever. A desire you once had to play every second of the day is gone; it turns into dreading every practice and game. It turns into leaving every game with earphones in so other parents don't talk to you about it. It meant dreading school the next day due to everyone talking about the previous game. My passion was destroyed when a coach looked at me in the eyes and said, "You could go to any other school and start varsity, but you just can't play for me."

SEE ALSO: Should College Athletes Be Limited To One Sport?

Looking back now at the amount of tears shed after practices and games, I just want to say to this coach: Making me feel bad about myself doesn't make me want to play and work hard for you, whether in the classroom or on the court. Telling me that, "Hard work always pays off" and not keeping that word doesn't make me want to work hard either. I spent every minute of the day focusing on making sure you didn't see the pain that I felt, and all of my energy was put towards that fake smile when I said I was OK with how you treated me. There are not words for the feeling I got when parents of teammates asked why I didn't play more or why I got pulled after one mistake; I simply didn't have an answer. The way you made me feel about myself and my ability to play ball made me hate myself; not only did you make me doubt my ability to play, you turned my teammates against me to where they didn't trust my abilities. I would not wish the pain you caused me on my greatest enemy. I pray that one day, eventually, when all of your players quit coming back that you realize that it isn't all about winning records. It’s about the players. You can have winning records without a good coach if you have a good team, but you won’t have a team if you can't treat players with the respect they deserve.

SEE ALSO: To The Little Girl Picking Up A Basketball For The First Time


Cover Image Credit: Equality Charter School

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7 Things You May Not Know About College Dance Teams

Commonly mistaken for cheerleaders at sporting events, we live a life pretty much unknown to most others!

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Although most of the Student Body only sees us as the girls that dance at football and basketball games, there is so much more that we do. From all of the preparations for our game day routines, workouts, working on team uniformity, a lot goes into our few minutes on the court. And for us, that's just a side hobby. Many Dance Teams nationwide compete at a National competition once a year. Most teams' goals are the same: winning a national championship. But what it takes to accomplish that is so much more than anyone sees!

We workout... a lot.

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From timed mile tests to morning workouts, we NEVER stop working out. Running, lifting, core-strengthening are just some of the things we do on the side to make sure we are always at our peak physically. And it helps us look good, too.

We practice a lot, too!

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From learning and perfecting game day routines to learning and perfecting our national's routine, practices never stop. We typically practice 3-5 times a week!

Game-day appearance is no joke!

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From the fake eyelashes to the full face of makeup, our final look must be approved by a coach before ANY performance.

Uniformity is a NECESSITY!

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From matching uniforms, to the same brand and color of lipstick, to the same exact style of eyelashes, probably the most important part of any collegiate dance team is the uniformity!

Nationals is our Super Bowl

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Game days can be fun and exciting, too, but the attention is on the players, as it should be. At nationals, however, we are the ones directly representing our school and competing for the National Title! Nothing compares to the feeling!

Fundraising, fundraising, and MORE fundraising!

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Collegiate Dance Team Nationals isn't cheap! Most Dance Teams have to fund at least the majority of their national's expenses, which is A LOT of money! From working kids' clinics, selling clothing, having GoFundMe pages, having Bingo events, the list can go on for days!! So much work is put in outside of practice just to raise enough money to compete at a national competition.

The audition process is ... brutal.

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From learning a dance off of Youtube a few days prior to the audition and performing it in front of judges, to executing all of the necessary technical skills (no matter if its YOUR cup of tea or not), to personal interviews, to a conditioning evaluation, auditions for collegiate dance teams might be some of the toughest days of the year.

Overall, being on a college Dance Team can be very overwhelming, but being surrounded by girls with similar interests as you 24/7 who are like family to you, make it all worth it!

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