“Weeeeep!” A whistle sounded in the distance.
“Take your mark!” said the man on the speakers.
“Weeeeep!” the final whistle sounded then all you could hear was splashes into the water.
I was there, the smell of chlorine, kids running past us. My first swim meet, I was so excited, nervous, jumpy, I couldn't wait to get in the water and race.
It was March 1st and I was walking up to the school were the meet was. It was really hot outside but I didn't notice, I was to busy looking for my friend Catherine, who was going to show us were our team had set up. Finally I had found Catherine standing next to a big blue truck that served snow cones with painted penguins on the sides. As I headed towards her all I could think was “Yay! I didn't get lost and go to the wrong place”. I looked behind me and David, my guardian, was carrying two chairs and my sister and my mom walked behind him. When I got to the snow cone truck, Angel, a little 7 year old girl on my team, jumped out wearing a blue swimsuit with gray stripes on the sides, with a swim cap with our team logo on her head.
“Carolynn!” she yelled as she ran over to me and took a huge leap towards me to give me a huge hug.
“Angel hey!” I said as I hugged her. Catherine walked up as she finished the last of a text message on her phone and said “sup”, looking up and putting her phone in her pocket.
“Where is everyone?” I said getting tired of carrying my swim bag on my shoulder.
“Ughhhh I'll show you. Come with me” Catherine said as she turned towards the gate.
There was two sides to the gate. One were all the teams had set up with their tents and the other side had the pool and races and little shopping areas. We had two tents in a corner right in the turn of the wall. As I set my swim bag down everyone greeted me saying hi. David and my mom set up the chairs in the middle of both tents and sat down while my little sister spread out out a towel and sat down and played with her PSP. I was to excited to sit so I went off to find my coach Sarah, guessing she was by the pool.
I went with Catherine to find her. Instead of finding Sarah, I found my friend Jared, who was getting ready to race. We wished him luck and stayed on the far end of the pool to cheer him on. As he dove off the block we screamed and cheered with the team. Then all of a sudden Sarah showed up and yelled “GO!”. After I told her I was here and she said I was doing 100m breaststroke, 100m back stroke 100m freestyle and 50m freestyle. We went back to the tent and Catherine's mom, Carrie, told us that the little kids that swim in the morning where running slow, and the older kids would start really late. So I was there really early, but it was okay I had a camera and friends to talk to.
We stayed at the tent taking random pictures, dancing and eating M&M's. Then our friend Thomas came. He's like my little brother (him being 12 in all). We started swimming together and have been in the same lane since. We danced some more and walked around the little swim meet shopping area, while Catherine tolled me about her boyfriend issues and I told her she didn’t even need a boyfriend, shes 12.
When we wondered back to the tent Sarah was there sitting in her chair texting. While all the little kids were sitting around as we left them. Laiken, another little girl on her team was yelling at her dad because he told her to eat something to keep her energy up but she said no. Sarah looked up at us and asked me if some one had showed me the ropes yet. No one had so she and Thomas walked me over near the pool to this big board with slips of paper and they taught me how to read what heat and lane I was in. When we got back to the tent it was finally time to get ready to get in the pool for warm-ups. As we were stretching our friend Alex showed up just in time. After we stretched out we headed out towards the pool it was packed with kids warming up. We jumped in a lane with another team. It was so crowded. When we finished the horrid warm-up Sarah told me to go check the board for my event.
I was so excited when I walked over there and saw my name on that board, I was so ready to race. I walked back to the tent to get my parents and tell them what heat and lane I was in. Finally, after hours of waiting. I got to go to the side of the pool were the timers and blocks were. Finally everyone was going to cheer for me.
As I was standing behind the blocks waiting Thomas and Alex walked up and said I looked so nervous. Frankly I was. So Thomas said “Pretend there is really good pizza on the other side of the pool, or really good Panda Express”.
As soon as he was done saying that our coach Sarah walked up. “Carolynn you look so scared. Come on, jump up and down get those juices flowing.” So me and her jumped up and down waved our arms and looked really stupid.
Then I was one person away from racing so I walked up. Thomas wished me luck and Alex said, “Don't worry you'll do great.”
I stepped up to the blocks. I took my mark and jumped off the blocks for my 100m breaststroke. I went as fast as I could 4 laps in the pool. When I stopped everyone was still screaming and the timers were saying that was a good job. When I got out I couldn't feel my legs. I went to get my time and I had got a white time which is considered slow. The times go white, red and then blue, which is the fastest color time. Then it goes into other faster times, such as Junior Olympic times. Then Sarah appeared and said I needed to go check the board for my next event which was almost next.
I went and checked and got my heat and time and walked back to the blocks and got ready for my 100m backstroke. Once again I looked so nervous. I thought I was going to faint. “Whats wrong?” Sarah said behind me. “You look like your about to throw up.”
“I'm nervous” I said.
“What? You have nothing to be nervous about. You know why everyone wanted you to do meets?” I shook my head and she went on “Because we all knew you would blow people away with what you can do in that water. So go get in that water and go.”
I walked up to the block and and got in the water and waited for the whistle for us to go. When the whistle sounded we took off and swam. I was so nervous I forgot that my goggles weren't on right and when we went off my goggles filled with water. I did that race practically blind, but when I finished I had a red time.
All that I had left was two more races; 100m freestyle and 50m freestyle; the two races everyone wanted to see me do the most. I was so excited. My friend Thomas was standing there waiting with me. ”Okay Carolynn, get a blue time or no pizza for you!” he said.
“Okay I'll try” I said smiling.
I walked to the block took my mark. I leaped off the block and tried my best. When I finished I had a red time, but it was so close to a blue time.
Finally the last race had come, the 50m, the one that everyone was sure I was going to do good in. I waited at the blocks a little less nervous then earlier and waited for the whistle to tell us to get up on the blocks. Then the guy on the speakers said, “Take your mark.” loudly. This was it the last race, and all the things I needed to remember went through my head: no breathing on the first stroke, no breathing into the wall, only breathe when have to, don't false start.... no pressure right?
Beep! We all jumped off the blocks and I sprinted as fast as I could. It was so fast, I could hear every one screaming for me to go. When I hit the wall all the rest of the kids were still swimming. They were half way down the pool when I looked and they were still flip turning when I finished all I could think was that I have to pee. When I got out I walked over to the tent for the first time since I started the races and everyone said good job. I said “Thanks. Be back, got to pee!” and ran to the bathroom as everyone laughed.
When I walked over everyone told me I was one second away from a blue time. Catherine's mom was packing up said “Catherine has been trying to get red times for a year and you got them without trying.” All the parents agreed. I packed up from a great day and went home and ate everything and went to bed.
Today I have one blue time, shooting for December invitationals, and lots of red times and some white. Most of the people on my team, including me, have switched teams with a new coach . We've all been getting faster and trying harder. I'm still always nervous before I race but I know if I go in, try my best and have fun, I’ll always do good. My new coach says I have the potential to be a great sprinter and I’m working hard on it.