SwimSwam welcomes reader submissions about all topics aquatic, and if it’s well-written and well-thought, we might just post it under our “Shouts from the Stands” series. We don’t necessarily endorse the content of the Shouts from the Stands posts, and the opinions remain those of their authors. If you have thoughts to share, please send [email protected]
This “Shouts from the Stands” submission comes from Abbie Proctor, a senior swimmer on the Powel Crosley Jr YMCA team in Cincinnati, Ohio.
As I walked through the automatic doors, I grabbed the keychain on my bag to reach the membership card at the end of it. I held the card in front of the scanner and waited for the beep before I continued walking, and turned a left corner into the locker room hallway. My friends and I headed into the locker room to change into our suits, complaining about how hard yesterday’s practice was and how nervous we were for our practice today. As soon as my friends and I were ready, we walked through the back doors, shrieked as the cold air touched our skin, and pushed the revolving doors to enter the bubble.
The ‘bubble’ is exactly what it sounds like- a big, white tarp that is supported by metal beams over a pool in a half-circle. The ‘bubble’ was the only one like it in the Cincinnati area- it cost millions of dollars. Over 20 lanes lined the pool, filled with swimmers of all ages and sizes. I often hear the sounds of a coach yelling, the acoustics bouncing off of the white walls of the bubble. The sound of kicking in the water sounds like the Kentucky Derby horse race, drowning out any other sounds. The big black pace clock sits in the corner of the bubble on the stand, the red numbers always changing and reminding the swimmers when to leave the wall for their next set. Four sets of bleachers sit on the left side and one set on the right filled with Speedo swim bags, all of the different colors making it look like a colorful garden of swim bags. 12 blocks sit on the right side also, waiting for a swimmer to dive off of them and begin their race.
Although I am only describing a pool with bleachers surrounding it, this place is so much more to me than that. Many memories, good and bad, were made here in these waters. Tears were shed when I would have a hard practice and felt like I couldn’t push through any longer, and the sounds of excitement and congratulations when I found out I made the 500-yard Districts cut as a freshman. The pool is what my team bonds over, the love for swimming holding us together as a swim family, which I affectionately refer to as my “second family.” It might be a pool to anyone else, but to me, it is my second home.
About Abbie Proctor
Abbie Proctor is a senior at Stephen T. Badin High School and swims for the Powel Crosley Jr. YMCA Tigersharks in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her favorite individual events are the 200 and 500 freestyle, and her favorite relay to swim is the 800 freestyle.