I used to swim. A lot. And competitively. From roughly age 7 until 18 I swam in a 25 yard pool or a 50 meter pool. With chlorine. And I would go to sometimes as many as three swim practices a day, which was in the summer. Or it meant waking up at 4:45am to get to a 5am practice. Funny, today at 44 I still wake up at 5am to exercise.

But I was never a really outstanding swimmer. I was good but not outstanding. And I was definitely the kid that swam much harder in practice than at swim meets. I was disciplined and determined and very, very committed to swimming (many thanks to my flexible and generous parents). And yet when it came to the 'race' or the 'event', I didn't really have 'it'. I wouldn't 'choke' but it took so much to better my times. I would often win my events (200 IM or the 500 free) but swimming faster at a swim meet was just too challenging. In fact, I can still conjure up that butterflies-in-the-stomach-I-might-vomit feeling just thinking about how I would feel before a race.

Today I still swim. Maybe twice a week. Nothing like I used to but I still love that feeling of getting wet (and possibly chlorinated) and pretending that I don't need a lot of oxygen to swim. I love that feeling of being streamlined or hydrodynamic......or pretending to feel that way.

And now I have the exceptional bonus of watching Mr. Phelps and his swimming talent. And I'm so proud that the 'greatest Olympian ever' is a swimmer.

Michael Phelps of the United States swims on his way to setting a world record to win the men's 200-meter butterfly during the swimming competitions in the National Aquatics Center at the Beijing 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2008. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)


Anonymous said...

As I watch the bits about Phelps daily routine, that he gets up at 6:30, my only reaction is how come he sleeps late. Let us not forget a 5:00 practice meant that we rolled out of bed at 4:30 !!!!

Anonymous said...

Betcha can't wait to try on one of the new hydrodynamic compression suits!

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