Incase you’ve been living under a rock, my biggest goal for 2018 is to qualify for the U.S. Masters Swimming National Championships in Orlando, Florida this summer. You heard it here first. The fact that I have said it out loud makes it real. If you aren’t familiar with the sport of swimming, think the Boston Marathon (but in the pool, obviously). While the qualifying times for the Pan-American Championships aren’t super far out of reach, they will take countless hours of training, and tireless dedication and discipline.
So, here we are.
After a nearly 3-month (holiday) hiatus from being in the pool, I got back in the water in January. For me, swimming is like riding a bike. Getting back in to the swing of things, and reacquainting myself with the feel of the water, is easy. After 22 years in the sport, swimming has become second nature, and it’s fairly painless to pick back up where I left off (unlike running, where you use it or lose it— so to speak).
The hardest part (naturally) is getting out the door. Finding the motivation to leave my warm couch, and a good Netflix binge session, to go jump in a cold pool, is extremely hard. In fact, this proves true with any form of taxing, long-winded training. If I wanted to run more, I would have to willingly sign up for a half-marathon to force myself to get out the door to train. The same goes for swimming.
Luckily, I have an extremely supportive coach, team, family and group of friends. I recently told my coach, “I really need to sign up for a handful of swim meets so I can get my feet wet (pun intended) with racing again.” Fast forward to today, and my teammates and I were competing in the Valentine’s Affair Masters Swim Meet at the University of San Francisco.
Being that it was my first swim meet in 10 years, I went in to the day with zero expectations. I wanted to use my races as a starting point, to get an idea of where I stand in terms of pace, technique and time. I did a hell of a lot better than I anticipated, but more importantly, it felt good. Being on the starting blocks, the nerves and adrenaline, diving in and racing again— it all felt so good. Competing in the pool gives me a total high, similar to kick-boxing or running, and that buzz is something I’ve been lacking the past couple of years.
At the very least, today got me excited for what’s to come on my quest to qualify in the next six months. It was the push I needed to commit myself to the sport for 2018, and to dedicate myself to being better.