I remembered the first time I had ever considered joining a swim team. I was going to attend my friend Jack’s birthday pool party. We played water polo and balloon fights, which were all very fun. However, the one I was most excited about was the race. Jack’s dad, Mr. Chen, blew on the whistle and I was off. I had taken swimming lessons starting from young age, so I easily passed all the others.
In the end, I was the clear winner. I was incredibly happy while the parents praised me for my swimming speed. I was about to go when Mr. Chen suddenly came up to me. He informed me that he was the head coach of the swim team Alto. He was recruiting new members to join the team. He said that I was a talented swimmer, and with the right coaching, I could become a driving force in his team. I hesitated since I never actually considered joining a real team before. Before I could make up my mind, my dad, who had been eavesdropping on the conversation, said that he would gladly enroll me in the team.
Mr. Chen said that practice would begin the very next day, and I was to come at 6 o clock sharp. That night, I watched many videos about how to swim faster, fearing that I would not rise to Mr. Chen’s expectations. In the morning, I was rudely yanked out of bed by my dad, who shouted that I was running late for practice. I was immensely sleepy when I arrived at the pool. All the other swimmers had already gotten into the lanes, so I quickly ran over to get in also. The water was dreadfully cold since it was an outdoor pool. Nothing was going my way until Mr. Chen said that the warmup was a 200 IM. To my pleasant surprise, I was the fastest swimmer on the team! Mr. Chen said that he was genuinely grateful that I joined the team since I could turn their luck around during the meet.
Throughout the session, I was taught various drills and techniques to perfect my speed. I eventually even got used to the cold water, and it would refresh my mind every morning. One day, Mr. Chen told me that the summer final swim meet would take place in a week. I was speechless. I had prepared for a whole summer just for this meet, but now I suddenly doubted my abilities. He told me not to be nervous since I was going to do fine, but I could tell he was just trying to comfort me. In the final practice, I swam harder than ever and even Mr. Chen was impressed by my speed.
“If you swim this fast during the meet, we’ll turn the tide of the season,” he said happily.
On the day of the meeting, Mr. Chen gave us a pep talk with such enthusiasm that I felt guilty if I didn’t get first place for him. I was tense when I slid into the water. Every second seemed like a year, and the wait for the referee seemed interminable. Finally, after what seemed like centuries, the referee arrived and said that we were going to compete in a 100 IM. I poised myself for the whistle, and I dived in from the starting block when I heard it. I swam so fast that I didn’t even feel the fatigue until after the race. During the final 25m sprint, I seemed to be gliding through the water. The judges announced that team Alto had won the finals due to my first-place victory in the 100 IM. I was elated about winning my first-ever swim meet and for helping my team succeed.
That night, while we celebrated our victory, I realized that I had a new hobby. I could envision myself swimming in competitions years later and even competing in the Olympics one day.