An Ode To My Swim Teammates, From A Senior

An Ode To My Swim Teammates, From A Senior

Four years of swimming and one thing has remained constant — the love I have for my girls.

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Swimming, especially at the collegiate level, is vastly different from any other competitive sport. Aside from relays, it's mainly an individual sport — or at least it seems individual. At the meet, the outcome depends on you. But the journey to get to that competition is arguably one of the most unified training schedules of any other sport. Imagine just swimming, by yourself in an empty lane for two hours straight.

No one to race, motivate you or correct any technical issues you may be having — it's almost impossible to improve as a swimmer if you are going at it alone.

Being surrounded by dedicated, inspirational, hard-working teammates can help an athlete succeed much farther than if they were to train alone. So as I venture into my last few months of collegiate swimming, I'm going to take time and reflect on why my girls on the team have helped me accomplish so more much inside and outside of the pool than I ever could have done by myself.

I came into college feeling scared yet confident at the same time. I was terrified for practice and training but I knew that the other freshman coming in with me were feeling the exact same way. I followed my fellow teammates on Insta and I was excited to have them be a part of my life for the next four years (I was completely unaware of how large of a part they would be).

Since the first day, my class of girls and I met we created a bond as strong as if we were actually sisters. We live together, we swim together for 20+ hours a week and sometimes may even have classes together. By having this intense family-like feeling toward my teammates it made the seemingly endless practices manageable. It's easier to conquer an intense week of training knowing that all those around you are probably feeling the exact same fatigue, stress and exhaustion that you are feeling. Being apart of a team of women who put their whole hearts into training makes me remember why I fell in love with the sport to begin with. But don't get me wrong, there are many times I can recall thinking to myself "I'm going to quit swimming." But being around these people makes the hard times seem simple and the fun times much easier to cherish.

Outside of the pool, these girls are strong, resilient, intelligent, encouraging, kind, dramatic, loving and so many more positive adjectives that I won't make you read. The excessive amounts of hours we spend in the pool are often times shadowed by what we are doing together outside of it. It's not just teammates that make college memorable, but the close friendships that you've created. Cherish these women, because they are going to be apart of your story for the rest of your life.

I'm entering my final semester of college and swimming. The number of insecurities, doubt and just straight-up awful experiences I've had during my tenure on the team can be easily forgotten when I remember the amount of love I was surrounded with on the team.

And for the bonds that I've created all four years of college, I will always be thankful.

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To The Coach Who Ruined The Game For Me

We can't blame you completely, but no one has ever stood up to you before.
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I know you never gave it a second thought, the idea that you're the reason I and many others, never went any farther in our athletic careers.

I know you didn’t sincerely care about our mental health, as long as we were physically healthy and our bodies were working enough to play. It’s obvious your calling wasn’t coaching and you weren’t meant to work with young adults, some who look to you as a parent figure or a confidant.

I also know that if we were to express our concerns about the empty feeling we began to feel when we stepped onto the court, you wouldn’t have taken the conversation seriously because it wasn’t your problem.

I know we can't blame you completely, no one has ever stood up to you before. No one said anything when girls would spend their time in the locker room crying because of something that was said or when half the team considered quitting because it was just too much.

We can't get mad at the obvious favoritism because that’s how sports are played.

Politics plays a huge role and if you want playing time, you have to know who to befriend. We CAN get mad at the obvious mistreatment, the empty threats, the verbal abuse, “it's not what you say, its how you say it.”

We can get mad because a sport that we loved so deeply and had such passion for, was taken away from us single-handedly by an adult who does not care. I know a paycheck meant more to you than our wellbeing, and I know in a few years you probably won’t even remember who we are, but we will always remember.

We will remember how excited we used to get on game days and how passionate we were when we played. How we wanted to continue on with our athletic careers to the next level when playing was actually fun. We will also always remember the sly remarks, the obvious dislike from the one person who was supposed to support and encourage us.

We will always remember the day things began to change and our love for the game started to fade.

I hope that one day, for the sake of the young athletes who still have a passion for what they do, you change.

I hope those same athletes walk into practice excited for the day, to get better and improve, instead of walking in with anxiety and worrying about how much trouble they would get into that day. I hope those athletes play their game and don’t hold back when doing it, instead of playing safe, too afraid to get pulled and benched the rest of the season.

I hope they form an incredible bond with you, the kind of bond they tell their future children about, “That’s the coach who made a difference for me when I was growing up, she’s the reason I continued to play.”

I don’t blame you for everything that happened, we all made choices. I just hope that one day, you realize that what you're doing isn’t working. I hope you realize that before any more athletes get to the point of hating the game they once loved.

To the coach that ruined the game for me, I hope you change.

Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

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The Warriors' Fans May Need To Be Concerned About Stephen Curry

The six-time All-Star point guard's PPG has dipped over the past few games.

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The Golden State Warriors have been the most dominant NBA team over the past five years. They have claimed three NBA championships in the past four seasons and look to pull off a three-peat as they currently hold first place in the Western Conference more than halfway into the 2018-2019 NBA season. Warriors point guard Stephen Curry has been one of the primary reasons for their sustained success and is regarded by many around the NBA as the greatest shooter of all time and one of the best point guards in the league today. However, his points per game (PPG) total has dipped over the last few games. Should this be concerning for Warriors fans?

Curry got off to a hot streak early in the season and has had a few notable games like every season. He scored 51 points in three quarters while tallying 11 three-pointers against the Washington Wizards in the fifth game of the season and has delivered in the clutch with high-scoring games against the Los Angeles Clippers on December 23, 2018 (42 PTS) and Dallas Mavericks on January 13, 2019 (48 PTS).

However, Curry's consistency and point total have slipped over the past few games. He only put up 14 points and had a generally sloppy three-point shooting performance against the Los Angeles Lakers on February 2, and only 19 points four days later against the San Antonio Spurs, who were resting two of their best players, Demar Derozan and Lamarcus Aldridge due to load management. In addition, he only managed 20 points against a hapless Phoenix Suns team who made an expected cakewalk win for Golden State much harder than it should have been.

Perhaps Curry's numbers have dipped because he is still adjusting to having center Demarcus Cousins in the offense, or maybe I am simply exaggerating because Curry's standards are so high. The Warriors have won fifteen of their last sixteen games and are currently in cruise control heading for the top seed in the Western Conference. Perhaps the Warriors will ask more of Curry if the situation gets direr.

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