Overcoming obstacles


Emma Israels, Sports Editor

The hardest part was not being able to touch the water at all.

On March 13, 2020, my club season was taken away from me. The reason why this date is so fragile to me is because it leaves me to question where I would be if this never happened. 

Would I be committed to the same school? Would I have had a normal senior year season with Butch and Chris? Would I have gotten fast enough to swim at my dream college? 

I had worked harder than I ever had before for this meet, and as soon as I found out it was canceled, I was devastated. I needed to get to the point where I could talk to the schools I had always dreamed of swimming at, and I didn’t get that opportunity.

I had to deal with staying in shape without being in the water, and still, it wasn’t the same. When a swimmer is out of the pool for even a week, they’re back at base one, feeling like you’re swimming through jello. I knew this unexpected time off would be extremely hard for me.

Eventually, my high school season started and I could finally get back into the water. It was the season I had been waiting for. Even with covid, I was still so thankful to have the opportunity to swim one last season with the best coaches I’ve ever had, and swim with a team that’s like family to me. 

Although, we didn’t make it all the way through. And we were so close. So close. Just three days from finishing what we had started.

My senior year state meet was canceled. All I wanted was to hold the conference and state championship trophies with my team, scream one last cheer, and get to race one last time. It’s truly devastating that I wasn’t able to get this last experience because these are my most impactful memories of all my years swimming at East. 

I have never been more depressed than that week after hearing the bad news. I was most upset because I didn’t get a chance to swim in Conference the week before (due to being quarantined) and be with my entire team one last time. I didn’t get my last big, semi-normal memory swimming at East. 

Like the rest of the world, I was uncertain of what was next. For me, that meant I had to do something drastic to overcome the continuous uncertainties I had been provided with at home in Michigan.

In a short time, I made the decision to swim down in Florida, so I could touch the water again. I trained harder than I ever had in just 9 weeks and finally dropped time. I proved to myself that I could do what I always knew I could.

I know my story isn’t completely what I had wished for, but there is a happy ending for me. Because I made the leap of faith to move to Florida, I was presented with so many opportunities that I wouldn’t have gotten at home. 

I met lifetime friends, got to swim with some of the fastest people in my recruiting class, and was given the opportunity to swim for The University of South Carolina. 

Covid has presented all of us with obstacles, but I knew if I pushed myself, I could keep doing what I love.