I jumped into the deep-end and never looked back
By: Linda T., Ohio
As the story goes my love for the water started at the age of two when my mother took me to the neighborhood pool and set-up by the deep end. As she started taking my coverup off, I ran and jumped into the deep end. I should mention my mother doesn’t know how to swim! As the lifeguard brought me up, I was all smiles and laughing. So started my love of swimming….
As the school year winded down the anticipation of playing Marco polo, splashing around, joining the swim team with my summertime friends was high. It was a family affair with my brothers to join the swim team. We’d wake up each morning to call and listen to temperature because if it was below 70 degrees then practice was canceled. If not, we jumped into the very, very, cold water.
Swim meets were always fun, and the team bullpen was where I learned to place euchre, war and ate Jell-O powered straight out of the box (Nutrition in 80s wasn’t a focus). Just pure community getting together after swim meeting pizza parties and playing kick-the-can or Hot-Box until midnight. Such amazing memories.
The swim team is where I learned to swim but swimming is what gave me confidence in my life. I was not a natural athlete, chubby, and had a learning disability which I endure teasing. But in the water, I was a natural and being chubby or having difficultly learning didn’t matter in the water. It became my safe place, my center. I only swam in summer league and high school.
As many people experience, my parents didn’t have the money to allow me to be swimming all year, although I asked. So with each sport season I anticipated getting my gills wet again with a smile on my face.
As an adult, I joined a local US Master Swim Team. I found a community and lane mates that I love to chat with in the lane or locker room. I’m not always consistent due to normal life obstacles but I always find my way back to the water. It’s keeps me confident, mentally strong, conditioned.
About a year ago, I experienced a major health crisis; double pulmonary embolism which would lead to a discovery of an undiscovered birth defect, a whole in my heart. The doctors said the only reason I’m a live is because I was in such great cardio and lung shape. My brother said my consistent swimming over the years is the reason I survived.
So when the question is asked; What has swimming done for you? I’m thankful for that neighborhood pool where it was the “in” thing to join the swim team. It’s given me a lifetime of memories, a continued community, an amazing exercise ability, mental stability and literally saved my life. When I swim, I’m balanced.
Swim Safe, Swim Strong, Swim Fast!
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