(Photo used by permission of Waterson)
Sophomore Rebecca Waterson with the University of Iowa mascot, Herky the Hawk, on Dec. 9 at the Winter Junior Championships.

I know, I know. It has been awhile since my last one.

October is a busy and tiring month. Student Council is planning for Spirit Week, and the pep rally preparations are getting underway.

Then my birthday, Fall Family Festival volunteering and Homecoming preparations gnaw at the dwindling bone of my time.

October is the heavy yardage month at swim practice as well. I’m sore, tired and a bit irritable. Just a bit.

On top of swim is homework and the end of the quarter test-o-rama, so while most students are relaxing over a three-day weekend, I’m in Woodland for two days at a swim meet! Sounds fun, doesn’t it?

Thanksgiving break seemed like the perfect time to write this, but I was working on catching up on homework I’d miss in December for Junior Nationals, the big travel meet of the short-course season. This year, Junior Nationals is in Iowa, and, as usual, most of my time will be spent at the pool without access to school supplies.

I’d love to give you a tour of an average day during a non-taper week.

“WAH WAH WAH WAH!”

It’s 4:20 a.m., and my alarm is going off. It’s time to get up and go to swim practice. I try to dive deeper under my blankets, dreading the moment my mom rushes into my room yelling “Wake up, wake up! It’s time to go now!”

By 4:45 I have gotten into my suit and dryland (workouts done on land) garb, eaten a small breakfast and started the journey to the American River College (ARC) pool. I usually fall asleep on the way.

I make it to the pool by 5:05; practice starts at 5:15. I always hope the pre-swim dryland will wake me up, but it seems to make me even more tired. The rest of practice becomes a blur of intervals, sprints and working on stroke technique.

I’m out of the pool at 6:45 and ready to head home by 7. I’m back home by 7:25, and at 7:40, my mom, Quaffle – my St. Bernard puppy – and I walk to school.

At 3:25 p.m., the end of school, my mom picks me up and we race to make it to practice by the 4 p.m. start time. (I’m often at least five minutes late due to traffic, so I hardly ever have time after school to talk to teachers.)

Depending on the day, practice is either sprint, distance or stroke. Almost every practice has a theme. One day we might focus on conditioning freestyle, while the next we’ll work on technique.

Practice ends at 6, and we pull out of the ARC parking lot at 6:20. Finally, I arrive at home at around 7, with just enough time to eat dinner and finish my homework before climbing into bed at 10.

I certainly don’t love my schedule since it doesn’t allow me time to do something after school with friends, spend quality time playing with my dogs or even read a book. I don’t think I’ve read a non-school-related book since summer!

I get texts from friends telling me to quit swimming: “You’ll probably burn out, and it really restricts you from doing anything fun.”

I understand their point. After all, didn’t I just make a fuss for this entire post? But at the same time … WHAT?!?

Telling me to quit swimming is like telling me to stop breathing. Swimming has become a part of my routine, so much so that cutting it out feels like losing a limb. And as much as I want to lead a life without the constant pressure, parties, gatherings and a social life will have to wait.

I love my teammates. And I love the rush of having a great swim at a meet or pushing past a barrier at practice. So I’m sorry it has been a while. I’ve been busy sleeping, eating, studying and, of course, swimming.

By Rebecca Waterson

Print Friendly, PDF & Email