I'm part of the club swim team at my university because swimming was something I couldn't give up when I came to college, and it's the only form of exercise I don't completely hate. This past weekend, we went on a road trip for one of our final meets before Nationals in April. This wasn't our first travel meet, it was actually our fourth travel meet, but this one definitely was the most memorable one.
The drive to the meet was four hours long, and we were leaving our school to go to another school to swim. We had to be ready for the long drive ( we had snacks in the car and blankets). The car I rode in had the team's president and two of my other teammates, but our president (who is also one of my closest friends) was deemed the DJ because she had the front seat. The trip started smoothly - we talked about nearly everything and listened to some One Direction and then some country music. We were about half way through the drive when we hit traffic, as well as all of us needing to pee, so we took a pit stop and got off at a gas station to use the bathroom. After making the stop, we got back on the road, and my teammate and I got control of the music. We struggled to pick music to listen to until we all agreed upon Disney music. We got to the hotel to check-in, but we were ravenous for food because we're swimmers and had been sitting in a car for awhile. We went to Olive Garden but then quickly realized that we should go somewhere else, so we went to a Carrabba's. While we were at dinner, we all talked and made jokes, and prepared for the meet the next day. We then decided to go get ice cream before going back to the hotel, which was an adventure because we ended up getting rear ended, but it didn't cause any damage. Don't worry, we are okay.
We made our way back to the hotel and got ready and settled for bed. Well... that was the idea, but we ended up trying on our competition suits to make sure that they fit okay, making funny videos on Snapchat, and watching Tik Toks until about midnight. Eventually, though, we decided to go to sleep because we had to get up to get breakfast and drive to the pool in the morning.
We woke up and quickly got ready to go and eat breakfast and head to the pool. On the way there, my phone disconnected from my headphones and ended up connecting to the car so everyone got to enjoy my pre-meet playlist which features music from Linkin Park as well as various Disney movies. After going through security at the pool and finding a place to take over with all of our stuff, it was time to change and then warm up so the meet could begin. I squeezed myself into my competition suit and got ready to warm up. I warmed up and got out of the pool to sit with my teammates as well as my parents.
When the meet finally began, I went and took pictures of my teammates who were swimming and then waited for my events to come around by sitting on my phone and talking to my parents and friends. My first event was the 50m backstroke. I went up and swam it with all my strength (and the energy gummies that I ate before). I finished my 50m backstroke and didn't have another event for awhile, but while walking back to my seat, I learned I had made a nationals cut for that event. It was the first cut I had made this whole season and in my college career. I was buzzing with excitement and couldn't believe that I had finally made a cut.
I continued taking pictures and waiting for my next events. I swam the 100m freestyle and did okay, but I didn't make the nationals cut for that so I went back to taking pictures and supporting my team. My old teammate from my club team at home showed up and watched me swim and talked to me for a bit. I swam in a relay, and then it was time to get ready for my last event - the 50m fly. I had been chasing the nationals cut for this event all season, barely missing it every time I swam it. So, before I went behind the block, I ate about five energy chews and hyped myself up. I don't remember much of the event, but I remember looking at the board and hearing the announcer say that I made the cut I had been chasing. I nearly screamed and got out of the pool with so much excitement because I achieved what I had been chasing the whole season.
After telling nearly everyone I knew that I had made it while I cooled down, I took even more pictures with my teammates and finished taking pictures of the team swimming for the day and the meet. I changed into my clothes and we all went to dinner, having another bonding moment. On the way home, I got to control the music, and for some reason everyone was okay with the semi-angry music that I was playing. But at that point, we were also all so tired and drained that it didn't matter that much.
On the way back, I realized that out of all of the team trips, this one was the most memorable. We spent so much time with each other and made so many jokes and memories that we all grew closer to each other as teammates and friends. This meet helped me grow closer to some of my closest friends that I've made during my freshman year of college, and I grew so much as a person and a swimmer. I achieved something that had seemed so unreachable for me, and my friends and parents were there to witness it, making it something I'll always remember.
Next stop for our team: Nationals.