(COVINGTON, La.) – A swimmer’s life is pretty much planned out, and almost always starts before the sun rises and ends long after dinner. In spite of the often grueling schedule, the sport brings many rewards.
Here’s a quick glimpse of a day in the life of an Aqua Wolf:
It’s 5 a.m., 30 minutes until practice, and the sun isn’t even peaking over the tree line. The sky is still a dark navy blue and it seems almost impossible to get up and pack for the day. What keeps the swimmer going is knowing that in the future, the early morning practices will pay off. The practices themselves provide their own rewards by teaching self-discipline and respect. You get up and go because you know it’s what you do as an Aqua Wolf.
There are few cars on the road at 5:25 a.m. and most keep going when you head in the direction of the pool. You make practice and head into the locker room to change. Heading out of the locker rooms, the smell of the chlorine hits your nose like a strong breeze coming off the ocean. Coach Emmett Smith gives you the warm-up set and as you jump into the pool, a chill runs down your spine when you hit the water. The chlorine in the pool is stronger than the outside making harder to breathe for a few seconds.
During warm-up, everyone wonders what today’s practice will be. Will today be sprints, pace work. I.M.’s (Individual Medley), or relays and games? After the 1,000 yard warm-up, the coach explains that practice will be sprints. The first heat gets up on the blocks. Coach Smith starts the heat, and when they dive for the first time the sound of them hitting the water is hypnotizing and soothing. The team goes through all four heats ten times around before practice ends. As we head back into the locker rooms to change into our school uniforms, we realize that the same routine repeats tomorrow, or later in the day for those of us who have another practice.
Swimmers keep swimming because they know that to be good requires a daily, unrelenting commitment. The results aren’t always immediate but the pay off can be great.
A swimmer’s life is written in stone months before it will occur. The schedule is not flexible. Us swimmers needs to commit to the sport if we want to be good. But, all those early mornings and late night practices will pay off in the future in many different ways.