Lessons Learned in the Pool
By Angelina Somma
Volume 1 Issue 3
December 16, 2020
Image provided by the Long Island Aquatic Club
Upon entering the Long Island Aquatic Club Freedom pool, your eyes are immediately drawn to the patriotic-colored banners hanging from the ceiling. The words GRIT, FRIENDSHIP, and COMPETITIVE GREATNESS printed in bold letters across these banners describe the three greatest lessons I have learned from competitive swimming. The quality of one’s swim practice is determined by yardage and speed. The accepted notion is that yardage and speed equate to strength and ultimately success. I spend fourteen and half hours each week in the pool. During each practice, I swim seven to eight thousand yards at a considerable speed. After a week of this training, my arms and legs ache, my mind and body crave sleep. I often find myself questioning whether I can complete another week of training. However, I continue training in the pursuit of a successful swim meet. At certain meets I race my best, and in others I don’t. When falling short of my best, I question why I train. In those moments the words “grit,” “friendship,” and “competitive greatness” become a source of great encouragement. I have learned to confront the challenge, to surround myself with friends for support, and to rise to the occasion. The swim community to which I belong has shaped the person I am today in many ways. Many view athletics as just a method of staying in shape or a hobby. However, each sport provides athletes with a unique community: a community to learn from and to rely on.