3 Things You Realize During Your Final Conference Meet

Photo Courtesy: Seren Jones

By Seren Jones, Swimming World College Intern

After competing in my final conference meet last weekend, I realized that nothing compares to racing alongside your teammates and posting best times for possibly the last time. Despite senior year being the toughest emotional challenge that I have faced thus far – with the inevitable contribution of “senioritis” – as I paraded around the pool with my fellow seniors, all of a sudden swimming didn’t seem so bad anymore, and the memories that I have collected over the past four years instantly became more sweet than bittersweet.

Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity may as well be that of swimming– “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Training around 20 hours a week for a rush that lasts 22.95 seconds is sheer madness, but I wouldn’t change it for the world, nor would I exchange the friendships and memories that have been made due to my decision of committing to one of the world’s toughest sports.

Here are 3 things that I realized during my final conference meet…

1. We don’t have teammates, we have a family. 


Photo Courtesy: Seren Jones

Cabin fever can certainly exist within a team, and at times it’s not always easy to maintain an optimistic team cohesion. However, the ups always outweigh the downs. Last weekend, I realized that I could not have achieved what I had without the 14 girls by my side. Each individual fulfilled her role and contributed toward the team’s overall success – my contribution alone would not have been enough. Celebrating our glory and supporting one another reminded me that my teammates are my second family; my home away from home. Like family, I can’t choose them and I would never change them.

2. We’ve come a LONG way.


Photo Courtesy: Seren Jones

During a time like this it’s hard not to stop and reflect on the journey that we have swum in order to get to where we are today. From learning how to swim and being afraid of the freezing cold water, to joining and progressing through the seemingly endless club or the YMCA system, to committing to college and wondering why we ever made such a ridiculous decision. Swimming hasn’t been easy. Despite the many times my mind has told me to give up because it’s not worth it; because it’s just a sport and it doesn’t matter, I never took the easy way out. I stuck to it, flew over 3,000 miles, and four years later partook in the senior recognition ceremony at the Metropolitan 2016 Championships.

3. The Rush


Photo Courtesy: Seren Jones

Swimming has taught me more than anything else in life. Not only have I learned the evident psychological traits of being an athlete: determination, motivation, drive, perseverance, optimism, heart. But I’ve also learned to love and appreciate the rush.

The rush is that rare moment in our tedious sport that may be experienced only once, perhaps twice a year if you’re lucky. It is the euphoria one gets after accomplishing something that was once considered impossible. It is a wave of emotion that only lasts a brief moment, but it makes all of the hard work worth it; all of the early mornings, heavy weights, aching muscles, and lactate sets. The rush is worth the 20 hours a week for the past four years and no one can take that away from me. Ever.

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Andrew McCloskey
8 years ago

I look at all of you and smile like we met before, keep swimming safely.

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