The Climb

Underestimated. 

Sometimes a little too much.

Depression and self-doubt. 

It’s real.

Forgive. 

Trying to let go of the words that slowed you down.

Overcome. 

One of the hardest things to do.

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Swimming. It’s been something I’ve been doing since the age of four. From neighborhood classes and teams, to technique classes, private lessons, to multiple competitive swim clubs, my life has been decorated with the word “swimming”. I loved swimming and I still do. It was something I found a natural talent in. It was something I always was able to prove those who doubted me in. I remember in the fifth grade my swim teacher told me that I had the potential to become an Olympic swimmer, the days when all my goals were looked at with my bright shining eyes. I was making my way out, and ready to conquer.

Years passed by.

Life happened.

I remember being on top of everything I did. Always the teacher’s pet in school, a try-hard at swim practice. Made no enemies and I ignored those who disliked me. Placed first in every race the first half of my swimming career. I was dropping times every single meet, the future was held in a single swim stroke, a single kick, and single pull. I remember being made fun of for trying too hard. My dad always pushed me to do my best. I always wanted to impress him, failure was simply not an option for me. The winning ribbons and medals continued.

Eighth grade came, and I was on the top of my swimming. I was going to club meets every opportunity there was, continuing my first place streak. I never knew why I always won though. It wasn’t until December of 2012 when my dad was transported to the hospital for a blood infection. It turned out that his liver cancer was taking control. Two weeks later, he passed away. It wasn’t until he passed away that I realized that he was the reason why I was always first in my races, a constant reminder that I had a fighter of a dad who was suffering much more than I was.

I continued swimming, but didn’t attend the swim meets anymore. Daily practices turned into bi-weekly to weekly practices.

Freshman year came around, and I was ready to conquer swimming just for my dad. That year I was training with the Varsity group; I looked at everything with a bold face, able to do anything I set myself to. That year was the peak of my swimming.

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   Sophomore year was the year when everything changed. Having a zero period, I was moved out from morning practices. All my confidence was swept away. Morning practices were the holy grail to my high school swimming success. I lost hope and started limiting myself to what I could be. I got mad at my coach and what he thought was right for me. Sophomore year was a slippery year, something different than the other years of my swimming. Fighting against the odds of not having my “holy grail”, I lettered Varsity that year.

Junior year. The year of doubt and denial. Anger, a lot of it. Accepting fate and the truth. I was moved from Varsity to Junior Varsity practice. It made no sense to me, I was working harder than ever before, and had just lettered sophomore year. I questioned my coach’s actions and got mad a couple times. It was simply unfair.

But then I started to accept it, making the best out of it. I pushed myself harder and harder, never giving up. I added time. A lot of time. But kept moving. I started to realize the concept of team spirit, and an sports team itself. I began to appreciate my team much more, becoming friends with everyone. I channeled my anger into my workouts, not blaming my coach for how I was and am. It was my fault that I stopped trying after my dad passed away. It was my fault that I was not improving.

Present day, mid-junior year. The acceptance phase. There was this one day I decided to let go of all the anger I had within me. Embrace practicing with JV, the environment, the opportunities within. I started working out extra to the practices to get the whole 3 hours that Varisty gets in. I started believing myself, and still working on believing in myself and working for what I deserve. I can’t compare myself to my winning past. The now is now, and I have accepted it, working for what I deserve.

Miley Cyrus’s song has been something I’ve been listening to since the seventh grade, my swimming anthem. It’s a little cheesier now, but all cheesiness is appreciated. 😉 If you’ve stopped believing in yourself, sing along.

“There’s always gonna be another mountain, I’m always gonna want to make it move”

“There’s always gonna be an uphill battle, sometimes I’m gonna have to lose”

“Ain’t about how fast I get there, ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side

It’s the climb” 

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