Saturday, October 17, 2015

A Letter to Allie

Dear Allie,

Coach George and Summir asked me to take you under my wing in swimming, but the truth is I already did before they asked me to. The second I saw you swim with George for the first time, I saw myself. When I came onto the team, I was soooooooo slooooooow compared to the other swimmers. You started late too. I started later than you, but we are both still effected in the same way. Both of us came onto the team with little to no athletic background or abilities. We came in and joined one of the hardest sports that exists.

I am here to tell you how much better you have gotten. Instead of putting yourself down, look at where you were a month ago. You are not slow compared to that. In fact, here is a link to an article I wrote as a guest writer for the Kiefer swim blog. You should read the whole thing through.

As late swimmers, we have extra strain on our bodies and minds. In a few months, we are expected to accomplish what other swimmers take their entire childhoods to accomplish. But don't see this as a bad thing. It's actually beautiful. It shows how though we are. This short course season, I am just beginning to dip my toes into the fast lane. Just the other day, I was swimming in the fast lane, and we were doing 50, 50s on the 55. We were supposed to be tapering with our heart rates at 140. But actually my heart rate went up to 180. See just to accomplish the same thing as other swimmers, we have to send our heart rates up higher because we are still building that aerobic base they built when they were little. We get tired more quickly, but we know how to push through and keep going anyway. That's what makes us so tough. We have to rely on our mental strength and toughness because we are still building that aerobic base.

You may look at me and think how much faster I am than you. Stop looking at me like that. Look at me and think, "that is where I will be." Whether you get there sooner or later, you will get there. I am not like the other swimmer who swam their whole lives. I am the results of a late swimmer who worked their tail off. You can be that too. It's like climbing a rock cliff. But when you reach the top, you have a beautiful view. You look down and see what you climbed, and you can say, "I did that!"

So here's what I want you to do. Come swim in the fast lane. Those slower lanes are jam packed full of kids. In the girl's fast lane, there are only three to four swimmers. Most of the time, we have the same send-offs. If we have the same intervals, it's actually better, because where in the slow lane, you get run over twenty times, in the fast lane, you get passed only a few times. And you get passed by swimmers who know how to politely pass without running you over. They are more accepting and encouraging because they are more mature. The younger swimmers are still learning.

Lastly, become a fire. Let your accomplishments fuel you. Let your high heart rate power you. Love it! Soak it up! When you drop time in a race, yell and cheer. Don't look at swimming as something someone is forcing you to do, look at it as an opportunity to become something great. Look at it as a chance to prove wrong everything you ever told yourself you couldn't do. Let swimming help you grow not just as an athlete but as a person. Let swimming motivate every part of your life.

Your teammate,


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