Since I was in elementary school, I have been a swimmer both competitively, and for recreational purposes. I use the term competitively lightly also. One of the only reasons I stayed on our summer swim team was for the promised Lego set from my mom each summer. The workout was both physically and mentally demanding and the idea of wearing skin tight bathing suits usually turned me off from the sport. Middle school was socially challenging enough, without having my fellow classmates see me at the pool in a speedo.
In my freshmen year of high school, I was approached by a couple of upperclassmen who wanted me to join the varsity swim team. It was definitely something I was not planning on continuing to do. One of the main reasons I decided to join was more so for the people who were involved. I knew a few of, and there were only a few others, the guys on the team and the coach was also my middle school health teacher. I still worried about what others in my own class would think though.
As the season got started, my peers began to see me hanging out with the swimmers more and the rest of my classmates found out that I was apart of the team. The initial reaction was mixed. The team was small so no one really knew much about us except for the fact that swimmers wear speedos. There was some teasing and name calling that went along with it but I had my close friends, teammates and coach to help me through the initial stages.
That team turned out to be a very successful team, placing much hire than any previous years and numbers began to grow rapidly. My first year’s team had maybe 12 swimmers at the most. By my senior year the team had grown to around 25. Not only did we help to make a name for swimmers in new paltz, but it led me to a much healthier active style of life. The move to go against what was the high school “social norm” taught me that you’ll never know what rewards might come from something unless you give it a try.
Since my high school years, I have life guarded at numerous pools, a certifications would have never been able to obtain without my swimming skills. I have taught countless swim lessons and coached swim teams. I have also become an avid swimmer, runner and cyclist for personal exercise. Without this experience, I truly feel that I would have lived a much different life.