I’ve been helping with a swim clinic for local high schoolers. Today I counted laps for one of the girls who is hoping to swim on the varsity team this coming year. Among the many things she needs to do to make this dream a reality is to swim a 500 yards in under 9 minutes. It was strange being the one that counted instead of the one swimming. The whole thing made me very nostalgic.
Since my last high school meet the pool has been renovated. Nothing really looks the same, but I can still remember what it was like to compete in that space. I can hear the roar of the crowd and encouraging word from my coaches and team mates. I can feel the butterflies in my stomach as I stepped onto the starting block and the comforting feeling of hitting the water when the race begins. While helping with this clinic a flood of memories has swept over me, and dropping the counter into the water today for someone else was no different.
There is a strange bond that is formed between a distance swimmer and their counter. I remember more than a few times looking down at the end of my before the race and seeing their encouraging smile and feel a rush of confidence. The counter is a constant form of encouragement, when you see the number drop you know someone is cheering for you even though you can hear almost nothing. A 500 can be a long lonely race at times, but I loved it and once upon a time I was pretty good.
The record I once held has been broken. My shoulder can handle very little swimming and nothing too fast, but my mind still has a passion for the water and I am glad to be given this opportunity to share my knowledge and encouragement to this generation of swimmers.
Tomorrow will be a little bit easier and I will become a stronger me everyday.