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The Colonel Chronicle

The Colonel Chronicle

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The Swim Season Was Contemplative and Fun

Courtesy+of+Anya+Geist.
Courtesy of Anya Geist.

The swim season is ending, and I am sad. This was my third year on the team and my second year as captain, and I will miss nearly everything about it: from practices slightly derailed by absurd conversations, to meets where we had fun even though we lost horribly, to the few times we were allowed to jump off the diving board (usually reserved for actual divers).

I constantly appreciated the welcoming environment on our team. For all three years, it has been a passionate yet low-key setting. We try our hardest, but we often know that we won’t be qualifying for States or any of the higher-level meets. And so we support each other in striving for personal bests, in seeing how fast our relay teams could go, knowing that it was very likely we just wouldn’t win. This fact never diminished the quality of the experience for me.

Personal accomplishment is a large part of swimming. While you swim on a team, you largely swim races by yourself. You can’t communicate while you swim, and though you receive guidance from coaches and teammates before your race, ultimately, it’s up to you what you do in the water. It’s up to you to hype yourself up, to capitalize on the adrenaline buzzing in your veins. When you don’t do as well as you hoped, you need to tell yourself that there’s always a next time. When you do succeed, you take pride in knowing that you did that.

Because swimming is such an individual sport, it is meditative to me. When I am in the water, I can’t hear anything happening on the pool deck. Clips of chaotic sound and cheering break through when I breathe, but for the most part, I hear only the rhythm of my arms, the bubbles of my exhalations, and the swish of the water by my ear. I am separated from the rest of the world, entirely focused on my movements, on the music of my swimming.

This isn’t to say that swimming is amazing all the time. There are times when I race and I am out of breath on the first lap. I know that no matter how madly I kick my legs and how furiously I pump my arms, I will not reach the time I am aiming for. Or sometimes, doing the 200 Yard Individual Medley (a combination of all four strokes), or the 100 Yard Butterfly, my entire body aches by the last stretch of the race and I feel like I am swimming in place, stuck 15 yards from the finish line.

However, sometimes swimming feels great. My favorite race is the 500 Yard Freestyle, the longest race, which takes me around 7 minutes. This is my favorite pace to swim at—fast, steady, but not a sprint. 

I sink into a rhythm as my arms swing, breathing every four strokes. I am in the moment, concentrated on each stroke, not thinking about how many minutes I have left, how many more strokes that is. I feel isolated from the pool deck, isolated even from my next lap. 

It is peaceful then. It is just me, alone in the water.

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About the Contributor
Anya Geist
Anya Geist, Editor-In-Chief
I am very happy to be the co-Editor-In-Chief of the Colonel Chronicle. I have always loved writing and connecting with my community, and journalism allows me to do both of those things. In addition to working for the Colonel Chronicle, I am the co-Editor-in-Chief of the Apricot Journal (South's literary magazine), and I swim and play tennis for South. Outside of school, I love reading, traveling, being outside, and spending time with family and friends. Here's my email: [email protected]
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