I didn’t swim fast enough
My coach sucked…
He didn’t taper us…
I trained so much faster…
I should have been so much faster…
I could have been so much faster…
I would have been so much faster…
Shoulda. Coulda. Woulda. What it comes down to is this — I didn’t.
I didn’t swim up to my expectations.
I never had a season at Arizona State University like I’d had in high school.
I graduated from Oak Park River Forest High School, located just West of Chicago, in 1990. I started high school with a rather rough start. I was grounded, again. As I entered my freshman year, my Dad gave me two options, I could choose swimming or field hockey. I chose swimming.
I fell into a swim team full of state contenders and the best coach any athlete could ask for. Through hard work, dedication, an impeccable coach, and a team of elite athletes, I went from JV to 3rd place at the Illinois State Meet during my Sophomore year. I placed 2nd during my Junior & Senior year. Our team was awesome. We held our heads high, shoulders back, and we swam on to take the State Championship Title two years in a row, setting all kinds of records. We were fierce! We were all recruited hard by colleges and universities.
But, once at ASU, I didn’t have a single season like I’d had at OPRF. Our seasons were twice as long, practices were twice as hard, and my dreams were twice as big. I dreamt of NCAA’s & Olympic Trials. I worked for my dreams just as hard as I had in high school. I visualized my races. I woke every morning to run, then swim as the magnificent Arizona sun rose over Mona Plumber, ASU’s Aquatic Center. After running, swimming, school, weights/dryland/swimming again, I would ride my bike home with the sun setting as it melted behind the mountains. I worked as hard as I was coached. That was how I knew to succeed — work my hardest, never cheat, never quit.
But, it didn’t work. All my blood, sweat, and tears from my training never paid off. I never felt the euphoria of looking up at the scoreboard to see my goal time smashed to pieces. Every season, every year, I poured my body, heart, & soul into swimming and received nothing in return. It was crushing.
That hurt. That hurts still. And it hurts so deeply a piece of my heart feels broken. In twenty years, that hurt gradually turned into fear. That fear has never left. It is a fear of not being good enough. A fear of working so hard at something, truly giving something 150% of EVERYTHING YOU HAVE and getting nothing in return. A fear to truly be me. A fear to connect.
A fear to really learn who I am, the woman inside. A fear to try.
I am tired of living with all that fear. So I’m choosing to change.
I choose to live without fear. I choose to do everything in my power to detox my body, mind, and soul. I choose to confront my fears, honor them, and heal them. I choose to heal my wounds. I choose to be better. I choose to live better. I choose to live without fear. I choose to heal all my wounds. I choose me.
I choose to not only survive, but to thrive.
I choose to be the very best version of myself.
As I’ve chosen to really live without that fear — I’ve realized the only thing that can replace fear is love. Love is the opposite of fear.
I started swimming again to find love and to find myself.
I will find the woman I am, through swimming. The sport that I love. The sport that I am really, really good at. My happy place. The place that my mind, body, and soul come together, as one.
Swimming has saved my life again and again and again. I am learning to swim without fear. I am replacing fear with love. I am healing my wounds. I am doing whatever it takes. I am letting go of my expectations that do not serve me. I am choosing kindness. I am choosing forgiveness. I am choosing love. I am choosing to fall in love with all of me, because all parts of me deserve to be loved. And in loving all of me, I will find my inner badass.