Spotlight Swimmer of the Month:
It’s funny because I joined the team the week of statemeet in 2012, yet I remember walking onto the pool deck for the first time like it happened yesterday. I was super nervous, had never done anything swimming related beyond handstand contests and I remember giving myself a little peptalk even before I got out of my car. I remember thinking no one would know I was new unless I told them, so the plan was not to say anything. I was going to strut onto that pool deck like I had never done anything other than swim my whole life. I hate to ruin the end of a good story, but my brilliant plan lasted exactly ten minutes.
I remember walking onto the pool deck and it was nothing but chaos. Anyone whose been around for a while knows the team hype and excitement that happens the week before going to statemeet. People asking each other about the events they were swimming, hopes of dropping time in specific events and talking about how much they were looking forward to the meet. I had absolutely no idea what they were talking about, but I knew I wanted to find out. It was then that the coach at the time found me standing in the middle of the pool deck and she introduced herself. She asked me if I swam all four strokes – I absolutely lied and said I did because I didn’t even know there were four strokes! I totally thought I had it in the bag and that I was going to wow everyone on that deck with my amazing abilities! Annnd…… then Suzanne asked me what my 100 pace time was and I stood there and blinked at her. I had no idea what she was talking about and she knew it! She was holding a clipboard at the time, she laughed, hit me on the back with it and told me to hop into lane two and swim a couple of hundred to warm up. I walked myself down to lane 8, Suzanne followed me down there, scooped her arm around me and personally ushered me to lane two, whispering something about a 100 free being four lengths of the pool. From there, I was basically hooked! I slowly started making friends, learning what intervals were (and how to try and stay on them!), learning all four strokes and competing.
I didn’t compete in anything other than choir through high school and at the time I joined the team, I was running races and biking all over the state. I really joined the team to figure out how to swim with 500 other people going in the same direction I was at the same time for triathlons. As I got more involved with swimming, I decided I wanted to focus on one sport I loved instead of trying to figure out balancing all three. I started out swimming a TON of freestyle because I loved it and because I didn’t know how to do anything else! Somehow, back and fly have crept in over the years and butterfly has become my absolute favorite stroke to swim. Partially because it’s awesome and makes me feel like a total badass, but also because it’s challenging and I love a good challenge. If you’re reading this and wondering why I didn’t include breaststroke in that list too, it’s not a typo. Breaststroke and I do not get along, though I swim it as part of an IM because there’s no way around it, and a 400 IM is one of my most favorite things to swim.
Swimming and I have come a long way since I stood paralyzed on the deck my first day! Swimming has been my sanity saver this year, my social life as I’ve made some of my closest friends in life on this team. It’s also taught me a lot of life lessons and at times is a very humbling sport. I’ve had strangers from the team hug me after a tough race, or high five me after an awesome race! One of my most favorite memories is when we were at statemeet in Grand Rapids about five years ago – I was swimming my first 400 IM and was absolutely terrified. I dove in, and by the time I touched the wall on the first 25, Maria Veen, Clisty Kinlin and April Maunu were already there cheering as loudly as they could. I touched the wall at the 50 and Nat Evans and Ron Vanderchove were squatting by the block cheering and telling me when to switch strokes. By the end of the 400, there was a line of blue parkas on the side of the pool cheering, waving and yelling at me to get my elbows up. Half of the people cheering had no idea who I was or what was happening, but they were there waiting for me to get out of the pool with hugs and high fives at the end. Oh man, that race and that feeling of being completely enveloped with the awesomeness that is this team, is one that will stay with me for a long time.
I could talk for a long time about this team and my experiences with it but will leave it there for now. You can usually find me in evening practices hovering around lane four avoiding breastroke as much as possible.
MAC Swimmers are the greatest advertisements of all! We love how you share your stories on social media, with friends, etc. We would like to share your stories as well. Each week we will highlight a MAC Swimmer so we can learn more about the team.