As I stood waiting for the most nerve-wracking race of my life, it was hard to take my mind off of the opportunity ahead. There was a decision I had to make: either make a statement, and have that day be remembered for what I wanted, or give into the pain about to face me and make an excuse for why I couldn’t win.
It was the final race in the most important dual meet of the season. We were facing the out-of-state powerhouse we invited to our pool in hopes of taking them down . They seemed bigger, faster, and stronger than us;, we weren’t sure if we could beat them. But it came down to the final race. I was on the varsity 400 free relay, swimming last. If I beat their relay, we won. If not, we lost.
My coaches and teammates were on my back, each trying to motivate me to do something great .
It wasn’t like me to let people down and I was about to do everything in my power not to . It was my sophomore season and I was untested and therefore, unproven. I wanted to show toughness and a the will to win I knew I had.
Stepping onto the blocks, I was a trembling mess. I couldn’t stop moving, nor stop yelling for my teammate ahead of me to go faster and gain a greater lead. My competitor, who stepped up in the lane next to me was bigger and faster.
I dove into the water with a slight lead, ; my arms and legs were moving faster than ever before. My competitor and I were even by the 50 and my body wanted to succumb to the pain, but I couldn’t let go. I kept fighting through the agony and by the third turn, we were dead even. I heard my teammates screaming and coaches whistling, all for me to finish that race in first. My body was screaming for mercy . As I neared the finish, I ducked my head and held my breath. We were stroke for stroke until the end…I touched first.
I shook my competitors hand and exited the pool, meeting a mob of my teammates who were there to congratulate me. Directly after my coach said, “It was one of the gutsiest swims I have ever seen.”
After that day, whenever my coach wants to motivate our team, he says, “Swim like Scott did.”
The next year he told the freshmen about my race and he now refers to it as Scott’s swim, and we all know what he’s talking about .
From that point on, we knew we had what it took to win, ; in the end, we finished the season with a state championship, beating our opponent by one point. We had a perfect season, not losing one meet all year.
It isn’t that I’m the fastest or the strongest, but I have the will to win, and finish what I have started, no matter what it takes .