(This is today's installment in Becca Schwartz's ongoing diary about her experiences at the 16th world Maccabiah Games in Israel.)
HAIFA, Israel. July 20.
Hello everyone! Yesterday was the last day of swimming competition in the Maccabiah. The USA left off on a high note with Bryan Goldberg winning and setting a new Maccabiah record in the 200 free and the same with the American medley relay.
Personally, I don't think I could've chosen a better meet to be my last. The meet itself was amazing: Getting to swim with athletes from all over the world, including an Olympic champion and world record-holder.
My last individual race was the 200 freestyle. I took second place, but I met my goal in time. After my race I was very sad. As I told one of my teammates, I'm not ready to grow up yet. To me swimming was and is my childhood and youth.
I've met so many beautiful people through the sport of swimming, it is going to be so tough taking a step back. I know that I don't have to completely stop now, and I probably won't. It's so hard to take that next step, knowing that I will never be as competitive as I was. I have had a great career, filled with amazing opportunities and I will always cherish the memories.
Some advice for those of you who are still in your prime; take every opportunity you can and enjoy the good times that swimming gives you. When you need a thought to fuel you through a tough practice, think of all the good times you've had and the friends you've made. Also remember that sooner than you think, it will be over and even though swimming is THE toughest sport, and there are times when you may hate it, you will miss it. Swimmers are truly a different kind of athlete, in my eyes, the best kind.
As for the rest of our trip, we are going to hang out with our new friends and tour around more, go back to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv until Closing Ceremonies on Monday night. We go to the airport right after the ceremony to come home.
I know that it will be very sad to say goodbye to everyone, but I know we will keep in touch and I will have more friends to visit when I am traveling the
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