Amazing Kids! Magazine

The Last Race

By Carolyn Wolujewicz, age 13, Ohio

 

My whole body froze as I jumped into the water. My blood went cold, and my skin turned pale from the ice cold pool. Water splashed onto my face as my other teammates cannonballed into the lane for warm ups. I started to swim, and my body felt like a rock being lugged through the water. Stroke, stroke, stroke, breath. I start to become faster as my muscles loosen, and I become used to the water.

I started to swim, and I think about my races, but mainly the 50 breast stroke. I contemplate with myself whether or not I’ll get the cut and make it to Junior Olympics. I’m about a second off of the cut, but I could have a chance getting it if I put everything into that race, and I have been working very hard this season. My internal conflict ends as warm ups are over, and I jump out of the water and walk over to the slick benches. Lily and I sit down talking to our coach about our event. She reminds us about our technique, and to just swim, while I’m thinking that this race will be a piece of cake.

“Our event is starting soon, so we should probably go over,” Lily says, trying to shout over the noise of the hundreds of people in the natatorium.

I take a quick sip of sour Gatorade, then stride over to the blocks. I stand there waiting anxiouslyas the taste of the orange Gatorade still lingers in my mouth. I watch as our event starts, and arush of anxiety comes over me while goosebumps cover my body.

“Heat 3…Tweet Tweet…Tweet,” I listen closely to the sound of the whistle and remind myself only four heats to go. “Take your mark…BEEP,” the ear-piercing buzzer sounds off, and I start to stretch and anxiously get ready for my race. All of the other girls around me are asking what heats they are in, and as the talk, their voice trembles nervously.

I gaze at the exhausted swimmers as heat 6 is almost done with the race and realize I’m about to get up on the blocks. I jump three times for good luck, then hear the first whistle. This is my turn to shine, just give it all I got. I take position as they say take your mark, and when I hear the beep I torpedo through the air into the water. I pop up out of the water and start swimming. Breathe, shoot, breath, shoot. I think to myself as I’m flying through the water. I cheer myself on in my head, and keep on swimming while my body is in pain.

BAM! I hit the wall and look around at the other swimmers still swimming, and look at the scoreboard. It appears that I got first place and barely missed the cut by .3 seconds.

“What?” I whisper to myself shocked at my time drop. All of these thoughts are rushing through my head as other drained swimmers are touching the wall and water is splashing in my face. I realize that I’m going to make it back to finals, and I actually have a good chance at getting the cut. I excitedly haul myself out of the water, and rush over to the benches and my coach.

“Carolyn, that was amazing!” She exclaims. “I can’t believe you did that! You know that you are probably going to make it back to finals tonight?” My coach says very excited and surprised.

“Uh huh.” I say having a hard time breathing.

“I know that you can get the cut!” She shouts. Those words replay in my head, and I think that I really do have a chance at going to J.O.’s.

I head home from the meet thinking about the race, and keep on rerunning it in my head.

I think about finals, trying to visualize my race going well, and getting the cut. I arrive home, and my mom is so excited about my 50 breast stroke. She tells me how proud she is of me, and that I even got first overall. By the time she was done talking to me, it was time to get ready for my meet and drive over to the pool.

When I get there I see Lilly, and am so ecstatic that she’s there. We warm up really quick, and get our knee skins. These are way too tight, I think to myself, barely getting it up my thighs. I struggle to get on our constricted knee skins the rest of the way to get it on, then get ready for the

50 breast stroke. I go back to our team area, and everybody surrounds me wishing me good luck, and telling me that I’ll do great. I felt so overwhelmed that I had to sit down and take a sip of

water.

“You okay?” Lily asked me nervously.

“Ya, I’m just really nervous,” I sigh

“I know you got it Carolyn, you have been working so hard this season, and have been going to more practices than anyone in our group. Trust me, I know you can get the cut.” Lily saying this to me really boosted my confidence, and I didn’t have that nervous feeling rushing through my bones anymore.

I confidently walk over behind the bulky blocks with my head up high. The other girls around stare at me knowing that I am placed first and have the best chance at getting the cut.

This time it isn’t anxiety that rushes through me, but adrenaline that rushes through me. I feel ready for my race, and know that I’ll do well.

I hear the familiar sound of the monotone officials, and know that I’m about to go. “Event 113heat 2,” The officials announce.

“This is my race,” I softly mutter, jumping up and down.

I step up on the ruff blocks, and know that I’m ready for this race, and this race is meant for me. Adrenaline is coursing through my veins, and all of that nervousness I felt earlier is all washed away. The officials shout, take your mark, and every muscle in my body tightens while

I’m getting ready to shoot into the air. The buzzer then sounds off, and all I can think about is just sprinting. I shoot myself into the water mentally preparing myself for this race.

My whole body is submerged in pain as I try to think about getting to that wall. I can feel everything tighten, but I know that I can’t give up. I start to see Lily standing at the end of my lane cheering and saying go every time I pop out of the water to take a breath, and with every breath I take cold, salty water splashes into my mouth. Seeing that wall gave me the little extra push, knowing that when I touch it that all of my pain will go away, and that I’ll just be so proud.

I smash into the wall and quickly glance at the board seeing that I got the cut. I use the last bit of energy I have in me to pump my fist into the air in victory. Lily helps drag me out of the water while I’m smiling at how overjoyed I am. I will never forget that moment, climbing out of the water, being so proud of myself because I knew that if I put my mind to anything, I could accomplish it.