The last leg of my 100 fly was grueling.
Just as I finished 75 meters, I felt a sudden pressure tightening my leg and shoulder muscles, choking my breathing. And ultimately robbing my confidence as I watched swimmers pass me and my lead disappear. This was a pain I had never felt before.
If racing is “90% mental and 10% physical,” I had .05% physical left in my tank as I struggled to get my body moving in the water. WHAT is happening? WHY can’t I feel my arms? HOW do I get to the wall? I panicked. If the secret to swimming is keeping yourself loose and calm, my muscles were jelly and my mind laser focused on hitting the wall.
I finished feeling diminished, shocked, embarrassed. Embarrassed because I know I must of looked like an albatross that had gotten bit by some carnivorous underwater creature, struggling to fly away. But I wasn’t flying. I fortunately I remembered my daughter was in the bleachers watching me. Fortunately, because I quickly composed myself and just smiled about the whole experience. Fortunately, because I had told her once that learning to lose was just as important as winning.
So when I was offered the opportunity to swim another 100 fly in a team relay, I took it. A more frightened me would have probably said HELL NO! But I did it for her. Because the previous swim was a freak incident and not a reflection of my skills. Because my team needed me to step up. Because, I had to get over my shit and my ego and get back on the block and take my mark.
Because, deep down, we are the same. We are fighters. Beep.