|Mid-50 breaststroke at a Philadelphia-area swim meet |
this past January. (L. Weiner)
Until recently, competitive swimming hadn't been a part of my life for nearly five years; those hours have been spent playing outside and doing things I never dreamed of doing. But as I continue to grow and explore new passions, I'm learning it's just as important to remember your roots as it is to move forward.
As a college swimmer, one of the first things I'd look up in towns I'd move to for summer internships was where I could swim. The water was home - but that was a long time ago. When a good friend asked me to go to a local swim meet with her back in January, I almost immediately declined the invitation. I hadn't been in a pool in half a decade, why on earth would I want to try and race anyone? But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that despite the tumultuous relationship swimming and I had, it could be good for me to remember how much fun it was. I found myself agreeing to compete in the water for the first time since 2006.
After a handful of short dips in the pool with my new teammates and spending time enjoying the sport in a pressure-free environment, I competed at a United States Masters Swimming (USMS) sanctioned meet at a local YMCA. Founded in 1970, USMS aims to provide a chance for athletes age 18 and over to train, learn and compete in swimming far beyond college and high school. For me, it was a chance to just up and have fun with a sport I love.
|Circa 2001, hanging out with my best friends from |
high school swimming! (L. Fowler)
The toughest part about the month after deciding to go to Spring Nationals, this past month, has been managing my own expectations. I had big plans to train three or four times a week with a local masters team, but in the past four weeks, I've gotten in the pool a total of six times. That's as much as I made time for, mostly because, as it turns out, I don't want my life to revolve around swimming anymore. Going into the meet tomorrow, my goal is to enjoy every moment I'm in the water, to feed off the energy I know I'll feel from competitors and spectators, and to swim my heart out.
The meet will take place at the Greensboro Aquatic Center Friday-Sunday, but I'm just scheduled to compete Friday. The event I qualified to swim is the 50 yard breaststroke, but I've added a few more events on to make the day complete. Real-time results of every event at the meet will be available here, and there's an awesome preview video of the facility and meet here!