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CHLORINE CHRONICLES: Spring break doesn’t slow down the busy life of a swimmer

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(Photo used by permission of Waterson)
Freshman Rebecca Waterson talks with her friends Grace Bronstone, left, and Megan Burrill, right, after a practice.

Freshman Rebecca Waterson lives at school and the pool. You will find her catching a nap in the car on the way to practice, staring at the black line at the bottom of the pool for hours every day, being yelled at to go to bed because she has to be up in four hours for morning practice or grabbing a snack in the kitchen. Waterson writes the biweekly blog “Chlorine Chronicles” on her life as a competitive swimmer training with the Davis Arden Racing Team (DART).

I went down to my room in my family’s house in Tahoe at 9 p.m. on Thursday, April 8. The wind in Incline Village was howling, and the National Weather Service was predicting 8-14 inches of wet snow overnight. I couldn’t hear any of the storms outside since the snow already covered my first-floor window, but I knew I would need to get up an extra half hour early to get to Truckee to swim.

Before moving to Sacramento I had swum on TTST for four years, and I still knew most of the kids on the team. Whenever I’m on break from school, my family goes back to Lake Tahoe.

Morning practice at Truckee Tahoe Swim Team (TTST) started at 5:15 a.m., which meant that we’d need to leave at

Rebecca Waterson
Freshman Rebecca Waterson’s first swimming ribbons hang on her bedroom door.

4:30. As I tried to get to sleep, I could hear my parents noisily fumbling and shuffling around in the kitchen, directly above my bedroom. I gradually dozed off.

The next thing I knew, I could hear my dad clomping down the stairs, and all the lights in my room flashing on. Part of me wanted to hunker down under the bed covers to get just five more minutes of sleep. But I forced my eyes open and groggily sat up, only to be jumped on by my dogs, who were more than happy to be up at 4 a.m. I smiled, glad to be up and going to do my favorite thing: swim.

Getting out the door and into the snow-filled street was a blur, and I fell back asleep on the drive to Truckee. (Even though I was excited about practice, I was still tired!) My dad and I got there a few minutes before 5:15. I blearily got up and shuffled into the pool. I couldn’t wait to see my friends.

I walked out onto the deck and greeted TTST head coach Cyrus Crews and assistant coach Mike Carr. So far I was the only one there besides the coaches, but there was still some time before 5:30! As the minutes slipped away and nobody else shuffled in, I began to think that maybe since I was a visitor, Cyrus will cancel practice. The thought saddened me. I wanted to swim!

“Well, it looks like it’s just us today, Becca. Start with a 400, okay?” Cyrus said. He seemed happy and ready to work.

Rebecca Waterson
One of the several ribbon-filled boxes found under freshman Rebecca Waterson’s bed.

I felt a bit funny getting into the water all by myself since I was a visitor, but I still swam the two–hour workout intended for the morning. While in the water I thought of how lucky I was to have the opportunity to train with TTST, even when the rest of the team was studying for midterms.

When I got back home, even my mom was surprised that Cyrus had stayed and coached me that morning.

“I wasn’t about to miss a practice, of course!” I replied, the very thought of not being in the pool sending a shiver down my back.

As I walked down to my room to unpack my swim bag, I glanced at the rack of ribbons hanging next to my door. The awards it holds are reminders of the dedication that I’ve put in to earn them. Even though I swim because of the fantastic time I get to spend with my friends, I’m happy I’ve kept my ribbons to show me what I can do.

By Rebecca Waterson

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CHLORINE CHRONICLES: Spring break doesn’t slow down the busy life of a swimmer