Starting Something New, Or Not?

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.

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