Sunday, 15 November 2015

The winning is in the taking part

I felt like a winner. And the race hadn't even started.

I had turned up. And so, I felt justified in claiming a victory.

I have not swum competitively since childhood. My sister and I used to clear up at the South London Brownie Girl Guide Swimming Galas. It was all terribly serious. 

This morning couldn't have been more different. The competition was not in the adjoining lanes but upstairs - in my own head. Doubt began to creep in the moment I managed (finally) to open the attachment efficiently emailed to me by the Club Captains earlier this week. There appeared my name - down to swim in Races 1, 8 and 11.

Three times I met my greatest contender: the nagging doubt. It didn't stand a chance - submerged in 11° it soon dissipated. Biology took over, and I splashed my way across my first width doing an impression of the Butterfly.  I didn't feel like I managed to take flight but I did, somehow, make it across the pool.  The water level must have dropped given how much I kicked, and how much more I swallowed.  

It wasn't terribly impressive. I am happy to concede:  I am a distance swimmer. The length, I realise, is made of 3 distinct parts - a beginning, a middle and an end. I progress through them, and have developed supportive mindsets for each. Today was a day of several firsts - my first Sunday race. My first width. 

Dead Last Finish is greater than Did Not Finish which trumps Did Not Start
The essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well
Pierre du Corboutin, Founder of the Olympic Games


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