It was the last few weeks of senior year of high school, the time when senior superlatives were being announced. I got one that was very much unexpected, I got named “Most Likely To Go Pro.” I mean, I guess I had been walking around that place for 4 years with wet hair and sneaking a snack any time I could. But still, it took me so much by surprise that I just had to laugh.
When I got named “Most Likely To Go Pro” I was getting geared up to go swim in college at Carson-Newman a few months later. At that point, I had never made it to a National level meet. I had barely gone under 25 seconds in a 50 yard freestyle. You can see why I thought it was funny to get this title. Once I got to Carson-Newman though, I started swimming faster. I was always a hard worker, but now I was able to lift heavier, train even harder, and things were starting to fall into place. I finished my swimming career at CNU and after all of those years of swimming, I get to say I reached my goals. I got to go to D2 Nationals 4 years in a row. I get to call myself an All-American.
As I’m sure you’ve realized, I did not, in fact, turn pro in swimming. But the thing is, I still managed to meet all of my goals in swimming. I love that these days, there is a league for professional swimmers to compete in with the ISL. I love how now you can dream about not just the Olympics, but also joining the ISL. I can’t tell you how many times growing up I got asked, “oh are you gonna go to the Olympics?”. (Obviously only non-swimmers asked me that one.) I knew that wasn’t in the plans for me, but how can you explain to people that you can have big dreams that don’t involve performing on the highest level? Now that I’m on the other side of my career, I know that while it seemed ridiculous people were asking if I was going to the Olympics, and voting me “Most Likely To Go Pro” these people believed in me. They believed I could do these things, and their support and belief helped me chase my goals.
I still laugh about that superlative I was given 5 years ago. I may not have become a professional swimmer, but you know, I never imagined I would be writing for a little website called SwimSwam either. It’s a little funny how things turn out.