By Lindsay Benko
Tonight was awesome. The guys team set a world record in the 800 free relay. It was really fun to watch. And Chad (400 free) and Jenny (50 fly) both won their events. We are all swimming very well and having a lot of fun. I didn’t have to swim today so I had a relaxing day with lots of cheering. It is kind of nice to be able to take a little mental and physical break when you are at such a highly competitive meet. Starting tomorrow, I will be doing a lot of swimming. I am having a great time with all the people on the team. Some of them I have never been on a team with before so it has been fun getting to know them.
Being on national teams is so much fun both in and out of the water. It is such an honor to be able to represent the USA in an international competition. We are so lucky to be on such an amazing team, and to be able to do what we do all over the world. It is also a great time to finally meet the people you always swim against. They are a lot like you and different too. But they are easy to talk to and are as “normal” as any high level swimmer can be. Meeting all kinds of people is one of the things I love most about swimming. I have met some of my closest friends through swimming at the age group, high school, collegate, and national team level. I keep in touch with my national team friends all the time and we encourage each other as if we were on the same team. It is so nice to be part of a team where the people enjoy each other and have fun together. It makes swimming much more enjoyable, which in turn, I believe, makes you swim faster. The national team experience is fantastic; it provides you with livelong friends and some amazing traveling trips!!
Being a part of any kind of team always makes me feel special. I love swimming for and cheering for my teammates. I think when you are encouraging others, you, in a way are getting your spirits up to make yourself swim faster. I have learned in the past that not having fun and not enjoying what you do isn’t going to make you swim fast. These past few years I have told myself that I love to swim and have a good time. So when I put the two together, everything usually works out pretty well.
The best advice I could ever give anyone is to really enjoy your work and good things will happen. So in other words, have fun. I am having a great time here in Athens, meeting people and swimming fast. I have enjoyed my teammates greatly and been able to establish relationships with most of them. I have known some for quite a while, but I am meeting new people everyday. The joys of swimming far outweigh the pains of swimming. I would not trade my experiences on my swim team and the national team for the world.
“If you think you can, you can. And if you think you can’t you’re right.”
Mary Kay Ash