Colin K, Age 15

The first thing I remember about swimming was my complete aversion to it. My mother wanted to enroll me in basic swimming classes when I was five years old and I absolutely hated the idea. The only reason I ever agreed to go, without making too much of a fuss, was because all of my kindergarten friends were in the same class. I continued to swim in the basic classes until when I was eight, when a teacher suggested I move up to the actual swim team. Again, I hated the idea, as I didn’t even consider swimming a sport at the time. Now, if you told me that swimming is not a sport now, there would be a ninety-nine percent chance I would get annoyed at you. I joined, or rather, my mother forced me to join the swim team when I was eight, and I desperately wanted to quit. Of course, my natural competitive nature made me actually try hard in practice, because my mindset told me that even if I hated swimming, I couldn’t let anyone be better than me at it. This resulted in me becoming quite good at swimming, and before I knew it, I was ranked nationally 2nd in my age group. At that point (I was about ten or eleven), something in me changed. I started to enjoy the sport, and it became something that really defines me. Now what was sad was the fact that the moment I started to actually enjoy swimming, I stopped dropping time. I stayed in place for quite a while, and for the next two years, my ranking dropped from being ranked top 5 nationally to someone who couldn’t even rank top 20 in his own state. If I were to give an excuse, California is a very competitive state in swimming, and I gained a lot of weight. Ironically, the standpoints about swimming in my family were now switched. My parents were telling me I should quit while I still can, while I still remembered the taste of victory when I ruthlessly crushed 99.9 percent of the children in my age group and wanted to taste it again. I spent the next two years trying to catch up to where I should, or could have been. Now these two years were extremely tough, and I personally asked my coach to be almost cruel with my training. This brings us to present day, where my plans of finally catching up at the Spring Junior Olympics were dashed by Covid-19. I was sad, but now, I am planning my great return, by making the national cut by next year.