Swimmers face many obstacles. In the water and out of it. Is the water cold? Am I going to swim well? What if my goggles fall off when I jump in? These are all questions that consume my thoughts as I get ready to step on that block. During this time, clocks tick but time stands still.

All the cheering, clapping, and splashing cancel out and it’s just my thoughts and me. When it’s time to step on that block, I try to subside the nervousness and prepare to enter beast mode.

“Swimmers take your mark. Set.”

I take one last deep breath and clench the block.

“Beep!” The horn sounds and I explode off the block with every ounce of strength, as if the block had just ignited in flame. In that split second, everything is silent. “Wshhhh” Swimmers pierce the water and the race begins.

      As high school progressed, I found myself becoming a bum. I was an athletic boy but didn’t pursue any activities such as sports for my first two years. In my earlier years, I participated in many sports such as lacrosse, soccer, baseball, basketball and even wrestling. Once junior year rolled by I was searching for a sport to immerse myself in. In October, a friend of mine named Joe Huang suggested I join the swim team. This suggestion really got me thinking. I’ve always been a pretty good swimmer so I thought, “Why not?”

This decision would become the turning point of my high school career.

As I walked into the first practice, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. We all talked as a team and went in a circle introducing ourselves. (The average new group ice breaker.) After this it was time to hit the pool. Coach P put me in the beginner’s lane and we started doing some drills. Ten minutes went by and I was beat. Water was in my nose, ears, lungs, mouth; I couldn’t breathe. This was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. “Keep going!” yelled Coach. I could hardly move a muscle. This was a daily routine for three months. In the pool at 5:30 A.M., to school, and back in at 3:00 P.M. til 5:00. The pool became my second home.

Going from being a complete bum to a high school athlete was the hardest challenge I’ve ever faced. One thing I could say is perseverance really pays off.