When swimming laps in a pool there is not much you can hear other than the sound of water swishing in and out of your ears. It can be a form of meditation but when you are entered into a swim meet your heart is humming, sending that euphoric adrenaline to every muscle in your body. It is at this moment when nothing in your mind exists except for the anticipation of that buzzer to just simply say go. For me a 16 year old in high school this is the feeling and moment I lived for.
The 50 yard dash is the most anticipated individual event at a swim meet. It determines who the fastest person in the water is. At the end of the season are the state championships where all the best swimmers from all over the state meet to determine who the best is. Hundreds of young men have dreamed of this opportunity to be standing behind the starting blocks in the final heat as the announcer calls out your name. Only being a sophomore and by far the youngest one there it was my dream coming true. The eight of us in line waiting to race look more like fish than humans wearing full body swim suits, caps bearing our school logo, and underwater goggles all designed for shaving tenths and hundredths of seconds off our total time.
Signaling silence and the attention of everyone the announcer blows his whistle. It is so quiet you can literally hear a pin drop. It takes nerves of steel to withstand this tension flowing through the air as everyone waits watching. As the second whistle is blown it gives the signal to stand up onto your block. With just you and your reflection in the water it can make or break a racer. Out of the silence spouts the words from the loud speaker “Take your mark” and we all leaned over ready to go.
“Beep” rings the electric box starting the race. For the split second sailing through the air, the roar in the room exploded comparable to any full football stadium. Only to be silenced the second I sliced through the water. In this short race there is only need to take one breath for the entire distance down and back. It is a strategic breath to see where you are compared to everyone else. I took my breath to the side where I knew my competition was. To my surprise he was far behind me, even though it was only a half body length back it was a huge distance! As soon as it started it was over! Hitting the timing pad first I stared with disbelief at the 22.43 up on the score board with a big number 1 next to it on my lane. Everything seemed to freeze right then, not sure what to do next. Not only was I the youngest swimmer to win state from my school but I was also the very first one as well. On the brink of tears I clasped the competitor’s hands nearest to me. When I turned to the sideline to get out of the pool there stood the celebration party of my whole men’s team, there to pull me out of the water.
At this point in time in my life young as I was, I understood what it meant to set goals and work hard to achieve them. It was at this moment when I realized that in life you only get what you work for.