JULY 6. TWO members of the US Swim Team competing at the 2001 Maccabiah Games in Israel, will be writing online diaries of their experiences which we will post on swiminfo.
The swimmers are Becca Schwartz, 21, of Middleton, Wisconsin, and Alexia Aron, 14, of Phoenix, Arizona.
They will chronicle their thoughts, feelings and impressions as they each compete in the first international meet, though they are at different stages in their careers.
We begin today with an entry from Becca Schwartz.
Becca's Diary: July 6
My name is Becca Schwartz and I have been swimming competitively since I was five. I am now 21 years old, and have had a lot of great swimming experiences
over the years.
I am from Middleton, Wisconsin and I graduated from the University of Iowa in Iowa City in May. Like many senior college swimmers I am finding myself at the end of my competitive swimming career.
In my career I have swam in meets all over the country, Junior Nationals out west in California and Washington and out east in New York, four Big Ten Championship meets as well as dozens of Big Ten dual meets, and one National Championship in Federal Way, Washington. Through all of these experiences I have learned so much about myself and the sport of swimming and met so many great people, as I'm sure many others have.
After Big Tens of my senior year, I knew that I was not ready to be done swimming yet. I wanted to have a really great meet to have as my last, my retirement meet. For this meet I chose to apply to participate in the World Maccabiah Games. I had heard about them originally from someone I met on a college recruiting trip.
The Maccabiah Games take place in Israel, every four
years, the summer following the Olympics. The easiest way to describe what they are would be to say they are the "Jewish Olympics." Many countries come together to participate in dozens of different sports. It is a chance for many Jewish athletes who have never been to Israel to make the trip and compete for their country. It is also a time for the Jewish citizens from around the world to show their support for the citizens of Israel through all of the political unrest there.
In one week I will be swimming for Team USA in Haifa, Israel in my final swim meet. I am excited, nervous and sad to be ending my 16 year swimming career in such a great meet. It brings tears to my eyes to think that such a big part of my life is coming to an end, but I have always been one to try to go out with a bang.
I will be sharing this journal of my experiences in Israel with you so you will know what Israel and all of it's people are like and also what it is like to compete in the Maccabiah Games.