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.
Rain streaks down the windows of the car, splatters on the roof, and pelts the windshield. It’s miserable weather, the grey storm clouds above unleashing torrents of water. The car edges around the roundabout at American River College (ARC) and splashes through puddles to the pool.
Once I’m on the deck I shiver, trying to stay warm in what feels like arctic temperatures. No one is talking or joking around. We are just hoping that two hours of practice go by fast. Or we secretly hope to hear the sweet sound of thunder or see flashing lightning so we can go home.
I jump in, and my body tingles as it adjusts to the warmth of the pool. I don’t want to resurface into the storm above, but Coach is already yelling out the warm-up set.
“Alright everybody, two 400’s and then we’ll go into six 50’s. Odds are free, evens are drill!”
The song “Singin’ in the Rain” plays in my head as I swim through the sheet of water pouring from the sky. I don’t want to lift my arms out of the warm pool into the cold air and freezing rain drops.
Close to the end of practice, the rain slows to a mist. It’s then that the coach yells out the next set: heats of broken 200-yard races. Four people will race against each other for four lengths of 50 yards, then add their 50 splits together to get a 200-yard time.
Since I opted to do backstroke instead of freestyle, I go in a later heat. Luckily, people in later heats don’t have to wait outside on the pool deck, but as I bob up and down in the water, I feel just as cold as when sitting on the edge of the pool.
During winter, there isn’t much motivation to swim. Swimming outdoors in Sacramento winters isn’t fun because of both the weather and my equally grim teammates.
But in order to reach my goals, I must keep swimming, keep swimming, swimming!
—By Rebecca Waterson