An Out-of-Body Experience At My Final Collegiate Meet

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Photo Courtesy: Kyle Wilson

By Seren Jones, Swimming World College Intern

Moments are usually memorable when they are associated with positive experiences. They are formed when the occasion is so great, so spectacular, so euphoric that it will never be forgotten. It will be firstly stored but forever engrained in your memory. It will become more than just a memory. It will also become a feeling. One that you probably won’t experience again. If you are one of the fortunate ones, you may be lucky enough to experience it once more in your lifetime. But the only way to be sure that it’s the same exact feeling of ecstasy is to relive the experience.

Never had I thought that my memorable weekend would consist of the sweet and sour taste of a bittersweet ending, nor did I believe that it was possible to release tears of happiness and nostalgia at the same time.

All Good Things Come To An End

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Photo Courtesy: Tamara Garriock

Last weekend, after 13 long, chlorinated years, my time in the pool irrevocably came to an end. After years of double practices, endless meters, illegally cold pool temperatures, and copious amounts of physical rehabilitation, my career had done its time. Just like that, everything I knew turned itself in and vanished into the depths of the Indiana University Natatorium. And in the strangest way, it was more perplexing than I could have ever imagined.

The psychological rollercoaster that I have been clinging onto for the entire year didn’t slow down at the meet, as I had expected. It didn’t tire with me; its pace didn’t sedate with my deterioration in enthusiasm, nor did its energy decline with my own. In fact, it did the complete opposite.

For the first, and perhaps last time in my life, I underwent an out-of-body experience. A week on, I’m still trying to comprehend what exactly happened. How it happened.

The Out-of-Body Experience

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Photo Courtesy: Stephanie Palmeri

Thus far, this is what I have concluded. An out-of-body experience occurs when something extraordinary beyond your power takes place. You have little or no control over the moment, nor do you understand exactly what happened until it’s done. Sometimes it takes a single instant to comprehend the significance of the experience. Other times, it may take a day, a week, a month, or even a year to realize its magnitude. I’ve yet to have my epiphany.

So what exactly was this out-of-body experience that happened to me last weekend? What is it that has interrupted my sleeping pattern and almost eliminated my desire to eat?

I was warned not to go to America. I was told that I’d become just another body. I’d get lost in the crowds of swimmers and become invisible, a nobody. But when a nobody is a nobody, what does that nobody have to lose?

This nobody touched the wall in 54.70 seconds, breaking the Long Island University team record and earning a third place finish at the fastest collegiate meet of the year. This nobody had an out-of-body experience, which – when combined with dedication and perseverance – produced results beyond her wildest expectations.

That’s why my final weekend in the pool will be a memory I revisit for years to come.

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Bill Bell
Bill Bell
8 years ago

LIU Oost had another swimmer who had a fine DIi meet Indy, Joyce Kwoj, who finaled in 100 back/ fly and I think may have medaled in either/ both.

That DII net had some fast swimming and not just by Castro-Ortega and Diin Dreesens.

8 years ago

You and your team had an incredible championship season. Well done!
Kudos to Coach Mike too!

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