My swimming background
by, September 20th, 2012 at 04:04 PM (494 Views)
Thought I'd write up a bit about my swimming backgound first for some context before I get into all my shoulder mumbo jumbo....
I started swimming at an early age. Both my parents had relatives that had drowned, so I was put in lessons as soon as I was out of diapers. At age five, I joined WAVE Aquatics (then known as Totem Lake Swim Club), located in Kirkland, WA. My mom actually wanted to sign me up for synchronized swimming, but they didn’t accept kids younger than six. So swim team it was (thank goodness).
My age group ‘career’ was fairly short and sweet. From ages 10-14 I won several state and regional championships (fly, IM, and free...dont ask about breastroke lol), and placed well at a few Zone meets. When I was 12, our 400 free relay ranked #1 in the NAG top 16. Right after I turned 13, I broke the minute in the 100 fly, which was probably the highlight of my swimming career. I remember at the time my goal was to swim for the University of Washington, and make the Olympic team for Sydney 2000. A kid can dream, right?
However, around that same time, my parents got divorced. It was pretty ugly, and I was an only child in the prime of my adolescence. It was also expected that I move up and start training with the Senior group, which was rough for me because I was very attached to my friends and my age group coach. I remember my emotions were all over the place, and I was crying at a lot of practices and swim meets. Long story short, I couldn’t handle all the change, and it showed in my lack of improvement. So, right after I turned 15, I hastily decided to quit swimming. Just like that. No one around me seemed to question that decision, including myself. I continued to swim high school season up until I graduated, which was actually a lot of fun without all the pressure. I did still manage to make a few finals at the HS State meet, but of course I never came close to my old club times.
Every once in a while I would drop in on the team for a visit since they practiced at my high school pool. I'm pretty sure they all thought I was pulling an Anthony Ervin because I was all 'alternative' looking (this was Seattle in the 90s, what would you expect? lol) and I'm sure I smelled like cigarette smoke (soooo cool, right?). But really, I stayed out of any real trouble and had a part-time job. My grades stayed decent and my parents made it clear that I was still going to college, despite my lack of enthusiasm for it. When I was applying for college, I was actually offered small scholarships to swim at two in-state colleges, but I passed on those.
After I graduated and went off to college and then grad school, I never let swimming get too far away. I swam for PE credits, and on my own when I had exhausted the number of PE credits I could get each year. I also had worked as a lifeguard and taught swimming lessons at the local athletic club. I think in the decade after I graduated high school, the longest time I went without having at least a once a week swimming routine was about 6 months. So, I have always held on to my identity as a swimmer.