For me, swimming has been something I have always done. Since I was six years old on the Orchard Hills Swim Team, swimming has defined me. Despite my love for the sport, I was never a difference maker on my team.
Ending middle school, I struggled to enjoy swimming. While my friends were setting records and qualifying for states, I could not figure out the point of still swimming. They were setting lofty goals for themselves for the high school team, already looking for scholarships and a spot in the top lane. Going into high school, I feared that I would remain in this shadow and not be able to enjoy the sport I once loved. I could not have been more wrong.
I walked into my first two-a-day practice not knowing how much this team would change my life. In spending countless hours a day with 60 of my best friends, I quickly found my place on the team. I learned that goals and expectations need to be specific to you. I learned to work hard. Most importantly, I learned to appreciate swimming once again and feel proud of my accomplishments, not crave someone else’s. I learned to be proud of breaking one minute in my 100 freestyle and getting put in lane seven.
Reflecting on the past four years on the high school team, I now realize how important this time was for me. I cultivated lifelong relationships with my coaches and teammates and learned my place as a leader for the team. This experience taught me that each person has their own role and goals in a group. I am ready to set new goals for myself, whatever they may be.