By Emily Mason
PHOENIX, Ariz. January, 1. After taking my time, nearly four months, I’ve decided that my competitive edge has not deteriorated one bit and the torch I carry for swimming still needs to be fed.
After taking the time to get used to coaching and writing for Swimming World I haven’t really ever stepped away from the pool. All the results and people I know are right in front of me, whether at the pool or at my fingertips here on the computer. I can’t let them have all the fun.
As my first month without consistant training went by, I was afraid my spark wouldn’t return. I didn’t enjoy the days I made myself wake up for morning workouts. But I always seemed to come home in a better mood nonetheless. This continued through October, and next was November. I put a year end cap on my break, if I wasn’t ready by January, I probably never would be, and I would have to let this all go.
Still November was coming to a close and my desire to practice to be competitive had not returned.
It was on the way to a swim meet for my age group swimmers that I heard a song I used to listen to before I swam the 500 free at NCAA’s and PAC 10’s. It made my heart rate jump and suddenly I wished I was swimming in the meet I was headed for. This was my first sign.
The second came while watching a young girl on the AFOX team earn her first Junior National cuts, she got one, then another, and another. Everytime I watched her swim it was faster than the time before. Her family, friends, and of course us coaches were thrilled. The look on her face: priceless of course. I sat still each time and thought back on my triumphs and successes and couldn’t help but wonder if there was more in store should I want it enough.
The days of me swimming the 1000 and 400 IM may be over, I might even have to say so long to my pet event, the 500 free. But I am willing to try new things. I look forward to improving my 100 fly and 200 free, I don’t look forward to having surgery on my shoulders from pushing myself too far.
I don’t know what will happen, and I guess that is part of the fun. I know swimming club will be a challenge for me, and the camaraderie from college will never be replaced but hopefully I can make a difference to some of the high schoolers and maybe they can help me.
People keep asking me what my goals are, that I have to have them. Sure I have goals, but they are different than they once were. Besides I had a coach, whom I greatly respect, tell me I shouldn’t ever make my goals public.