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Lena, 12

During quarantine, many things have changed including the delay of sporting events and practices. I am a swimmer, and this tragic turn of events deeply impacted me.

In the middle of March I had the most important swimming competition a twelve year old swimmer could have had. It was the Florida Gold Coast Junior Olympics, where I was ranked top five in most of my events. I had been training for this event six times a week, two hours a day, twelve hours a week, since November 2019. Just to qualify for this meet and have to be ranked top five I had to compete at 8 meets in the season. The competition was supposed to begin on March thirteenth and end on March fifteenth. That is three whole days of prelims and finals. I was scheduled to swim 7 individual events and 4 relays.

I was ready. I have never been a reader for a swim meet in my whole life. I was physically and mentally prepared. I knew I was ready to win and nothing could hold me back.

It was March twelfth, the day before the Junior Olympics. My two swim bags were packed by the front door ready for my big day, my big weekend. I packed my warm-up suit, my warm-up goggles, my competition tech suit, brand new, never worn before. My parka, my five towels, I had everything I needed to feel ready for the meet. 

At around 3 P.M. I got the most heartbreaking email from my coach: the Junior Olympics were cancelled. 

I was heartbroken. I didn’t understand why, didn’t understand how, and didn’t understand how a virus can affect people so badly.

At first I panicked, then I was angry, all while feeling disappointed. When you are stuck in a place where you think that all the hard work you put in to achieve whatever goal you had set for yourself is gone, well, think again my friend. Not all hope is lost.

This tragic turn of events made me strive even more to work hard to achieve my goals. I don’t take anything for granted any more. From one moment to another, I lost a lot of things I took for granted. I lost the chance to compete at a meet, my every day swim practice, and my swim friends. 

But I had to stay strong and focus on my goals, which were not lost. What is more, I saw them clearer than before. I switched to tethered swimming in our home pool. Every day I swam alone for an hour, counting my own strokes. It was anything but fun, yet I knew I was fortunate to be able to stay in shape while a lot of my fellow swim pals didn’t feel the water for months.

I want to compete again, I want to feel that jitter, the adrenaline in my body. Hopefully, I will be able to hit the wall soon.




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