If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.

Trust me- this is absolutely the most challenging moment in my life! I have to literally tell myself every minute to NOT stroke! It is beyond frustrating, so if this doesn’t teach me patience, I don’t believe anything will. Seventeen more weeks of the season. Five more weeks until I can stroke so I will have twelve weeks to make this season worth it.

This week at practice was very short because of the UEA Fall Break weekend, so we only swam Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. It was also the last days until the real hell starts. Next Monday we start dryland morning practices and varsity morning practices. Monday, Wednesday and the occasional Friday we all have to be at the school by 6:00 AM to do quadriceps and core workouts. And if you came to watch, you would realize that all of us swimmers are very uncoordinated with all dry land exercise and are definitely ┬ámeant for the water. I would much rather swim a mile than run a mile any day of the week. Then Tuesday’s and Thursday’s about 30-35 of the top swimmers have to meet at the pool by 5:15 AM to have a distance workout. The first few weeks of this will be very difficult for me since I can’t actually swim. I’m sure I will not be able to walk at all with all the kicking I will be doing but that’ll only be for five more weeks.

The afternoon practices will start to become more challenging as well. Monday’s won’t be terrible, but every Tuesday and Thursday we do a set called 125-75’s. The entire set is sprinting and you go through the set 4-8 times a day. They are wonderful and awful at the same time. They are so effective if you are working your ass off, but at the same time they are extremely difficult especially after the distance workouts in the mornings for varsity. Wednesdays are mid-distance days. We do a 200 swim followed by 4×50’s sprints three times through. Also very effective, also very hard. Friday’s are sprint days. It usually is a shorter practice which is nice and these days have a lot of short but fast swims. Again, effective and again exhausting.

This Monday I had the opportunity as a team captain to work with a second year swimmer who is blind. It is the most humbling and inspiring moment I have ever had. He swam with us last year, and that too was so inspiring but I never got the chance to work with him. And now every Monday and Friday after my practice, I get to help him. Swimming is so difficult, and I could never imagine doing it without being able to see. He is truly amazing. He is great at the freestyle and the breaststroke. Whenever he swims we will lightly tap him on the top of the head with a tennis ball connected to a stick. He has so much trust in himself and all of us it amazes me. I have never heard him complain and it makes me feel so guilty for all the times that I have. He really is the most brilliant kid I have ever met. If you give him your car key he can almost instantly tell you everything about it just by feeling it. I can’t wait for the hour every Monday and Friday I get to spend with him.