Courtesy of Alyssa Swanson
As most of the girls on my team know, I have a theory that if you don’t want to quit swimming at least twice a week you’re not working hard enough.
Now imagine this, I am 10. I am told to hold a streamline and dolphin kick underwater to the other end of the pool. For the first time In my life, I think to myself, I want to quit swimming.
I am 12. I’m preparing for my 50 butterfly, nervously chatting to the girl behind me. I dive in and immemorial swim two stokes of freestyle, and am fairly confident I am disqualified… I am so incredibly embarrassed. I want to quit swimming.
I am 14. I’m watching a scary Movie with my friends and I get a text from my mom telling me she’s here to pick me up. My friends are making fun of me for leaving at 10pm…. but I have practice in the morning. What do you want me to do? Quit swimming?
I am 16. For one entire week, I actually did quit swimming.
I am 17, I feel like I’m going to to pass out almost every time I touch the water. The doctor tells me it would help if I got a pacemaker. Maybe I should quit swimming.
I am in my first semester of my freshman year here at ISU, my coach Steve Paska writes 20x200s on the whiteboard. Oh my god….. what have I done…. I’m gonna have to quit swimming.
A year later before our 400IM, my teammate Karley Licking and I have managed to talk ourselves into borderline panic attacks in the diving well of Notre Dame’s aquatic center. I look at Karley and say, “Why do we do this? Why don’t we just quit swimming?”
It’s my junior year. I am on my second IM set of the day and it’s not even 7am. I feel like I have heard the same three songs played over and over for at least an hour…. my head is pounding. I take a deep breath and say: “that’s it, If I hear one more Sean Kingston song, I am going to quit swimming”
I am swimming the last race of my career, I touch the wall at the half way mark of my 200 fly, my whole body screaming in protest and I almost laugh to myself thinking, “Is it too late to quit swimming?”
I finish the race. I sob into the gutter.
I’m not ready to quit swimming.
About Alyssa Swanson
An Eden Prairie Minnesota native, Alyssa Swanson is a recently retired division 1 swimmer at Illinois State University. She is currently pursuing her degree in elementary education, and is looking forward to seeing what adventure comes next.