Amazing Kids! Magazine

Swimming: My Love-Hate Relationship

By Nicky Dawes, age 12, Missouri


I plunge into the water
And shiver as bubbles form around me
And start to swim.
I paddle and kick as fast as I can
To the other end of the pool
To adjust myself to the temperature.
Now warm,
I relax
And swim the lengths
Calmly and fluently.

Warm-up is now over;
The demanding workout begins.
I pull the water,
Using all of my force
In my arms.
My muscles pound.
I kick harder
To take the load off.
An eccentric randomization of splashes
Emerges from where my legs once were.
My arms are joyous to feel slight relief,
But now,
My legs burn through the water’s chill.

I finish the hundred yards,
Only to be told to submerge into the lane once more.
I pass stragglers.
“Eat my bubbles!”
I have only that one small victory today.
The pain in my muscles begs me to stop.
I scream into the bottom of the pool.
The sound is lost
In a scurrying explosion of bubbles
That foam up around my face.

I drink in
The heavenly oxygen
That seemingly vanishes from my lungs
As soon as I take a mouthful,
Which is only an incentive
To pull harder and quicker
So that my next breath comes sooner.
The flags seem
To drift away.

And then I’m done,
My chlorinated venture.
Flushed, I towel off
And shuffle to the locker room
And peel off my clingy swimsuit
And put on dry, comfortable clothes.
I go out of the locker room
And into the hallway.
“How was swimming?” my mom asks.
And I mean it.