It's about time I wrote a happy story.
So I'll tell you about one of my races.
"It's taking place at Oswego East High School," Mom tells me
She's scrolling through her phone. Another year of the fabled swim meet called Feed the Fire. If you didn't make certain events into regionals, then you would attend this meet with those events.
Everyone really had only one thing in mind:
What the swim meet was best known for-- the Finals-- and the end of each day of the swim meet. Only the top 10 people made it, two being alternates if any of the top eight competitors.
I was in my early 11-12s winter season then.
One of my events was the 50-yard freestyle, and oh, was I close to regionals, only about 0.5 of a second from the qualifying standard.
The judge's whistle, shrill and monotonous, blew five times.
That signaled the end of the heat in the water, and signaled for the next heat to begin. My heat.
A long whistle.
That meant to get up onto the blocks.
"Take your mark," the loudspeaker boomed.
We bent over and gripped the sides of the block tensely, arms wound up, legs about to spring, ready for impact into the water, until--
A moment, then a sudden reaction.
A resounding splash echoes throughout the pool deck.
There are deafening cheers from the bleachers
but all I hear is the soft gurgle of the underwater.
Our arms slice through the liquid powerfully
our legs kick up a storm
25 yards is up; a quick breath, a flip, a jump off the wall
I roll through the butterfly kicks to the surface.
I glance forward tentatively, afraid hesitation takes time.
The wall is beckoning to me!
A fierce slap onto the wall, a gasp for air, a jerk of the head towards the scoreboard--