Why I Am Excited For High School Swimming To Begin
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Why I Am Excited For High School Swimming To Begin

The experience of high school swimming is like nothing else.

Why I Am Excited For High School Swimming To Begin
Ean Perkins Photography

The long whistle blows. You step onto the block drowning out the screams of the fans. It's just you and the pool. This. This is the moment you have been training for. Three intense months like you've never experienced before all comes to a head at the sound of the official's words. The points matter, the relay exchanges mean everything, and it is time to hold nothing back.

If you have ever experienced high school swimming, then you know about the intensity a high school championship meet offers.

I've been around in the sport of swimming for a long time. I swam club beginning at the age eight, and am still swimming for a Master's team at the age of 27. I've coached, been on my own high school's swim team, and have had the permanent racerback tan lines of summer league. I honestly cannot get enough of the sport. Trust me, no matter what type of competitive swim platform I have been a part of, the thread of commonalities in competitive swimming runs thick. Swimming is swimming. The smell of chlorine lingers, goggle lines are forever a part of our skin, and moldy, wet towels never seem to become dry.

But, there is something unique about high school swimming.

Please believe me when I say I am a huge fan of club swimming. As stated earlier, I have been a part of the club scene since I was eight. I support, I admire, I believe in it.

However, I became a high school swim coach almost six years ago, and my mind has been blown.

So whether a parent, a high school swim coach yourself, or the high school swimmer, I hope you can relate to these anticipations of the upcoming season.

1. Team Vibes At School

When you go to school with everyone on your team, everything team related is accessible. It's within arms reach. For real. There is something special about walking down the hallway and seeing the half-dead teammate who experienced the same exact workout with you at 5:30 am that morning. You get it. You understand each other. And there is no doubt it's nice to have someone in the first period who can discuss the painful remnants of the morning's set. I think a special bond takes place when a classroom smells like chlorine due to half the class consisting of other swimmers from the team. Even though bus rides may take a toll on us individuals, the team vibe is strong as we load and unload the bus as one team with one mission. For our team, we wear a team uniform on meet days, and it is amazing how unified we feel. In our hallways, we share our experiences, we exhort one another, and we feel the weight and excitement of the season on a daily basis.

2. Shattered Times

Rarely do I see time drops in races exceeding 20 seconds--except for in high school swimming. I can never get enough celebration of a brand new swimmer shaving off 15 seconds from a 50 Freestyle in only one week's worth of time. It just rarely happens anywhere else. Or knowing that a new swimmer will drop 5 seconds the second they get a flip turn down correctly. I've witnessed a whole minute taken off of 500 freestyle races, and have witnessed the tears of joy from breaking a minute in the 100 freestyle. The celebration we experience as a team when even just one swimmer drops time is priceless. We stand by one another in the satisfaction of met goals and thrive in the victories of new times.

3. The Discovery of Something New

New exposure to up and coming swimmers is strong in the high school swimming world. This is a safe place for high school students to try out an incredible sport. I specifically love watching someone come into the sport hesitant of what it entails and then leave with a new found love and talent. I am all about promoting the general sport of swimming and am becoming a firm believer in using high school swimming to do this. It gets students exposed to the basics and opens a door for club swimming, college swimming and beyond.

4. Lessons Learned From Too Many Dual Meets

High school swimming can be a beast regarding dual meets. Twelve meets in only eight weeks? That's a lot to handle. Because of it, the time drops are inevitable to plateau. The goals become strained, and frustration of added time is a real battle to fight. But, strangely, I love it. I love having the tough conversations with my swimmers. We discuss how there are other parts of a race that can be good, even with added times. We realize there is more to swimming than the best time. We talk about how when a goal hasn't been met, there is still time to meet it. We learn how to be resilient. We learn how to take our inability to control a race from the past and channel it into our ability to control the next one. We take our added times and use it to encourage and inspire our teammates. We do NOT let a dual meet time become a stumbling block to our final destination.

5. High School Championship Meets

In all my swimming career, I never have gotten more nervous for any other meet except high school districts and state. On our team, we know that there is a specific buzz--electricity--in the air the week of districts and state. The anxiety and anticipation cannot be suppressed. It's undeniable. And in this undeniability, there is a sense of finality. These meets are the test where we prove our hard work was not accomplished in vain, where we fight doubts and fears, and where we represent the pride of our school. These championship meets are our end goal; they are what we look forward to at the very first practice; they are what brings us together as a team.

So, whatever avenue of high school swimming you are a part of--parent, coach or swimmer-- would you get excited with me for all of the hard, good and great that the season entails?

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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