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It’s all about the feeling of adrenaline rush standing behind the block before your race starts. Remembering all the learned skills and putting them to the test. Hearing the whistle, Take your mark!

BEEP!

As you dive off the block while feeling the sensation and adrenaline of the water throughout your body. The feeling of your heart beating out of your chest, while holding your breath, and maintaining good technique. At that moment, knowing every single millisecond counts. 

It is common to question your continued love for the sport when the COVID-19 pandemic has altered the very nature of a team sport and the season to come. I fell in love with swimming at the age of ten. Swimming is tough, and never easy, it’s a constant grind to be the best of your ability. Waking up before the sun has risen, hoping that practice isn’t that grueling. Athletes have a constant routine: swim, eat, school, and sleep. The schedule to be repeated for five consecutive days most weeks of the years. It is a mental and physical challenging game. The mental health component affects athletes as we navigate schoolwork while remaining calm and present. We must learn to listen to our bodies instead of ignoring the ailments that may be affecting other individuals. My advice is to surround yourself with positive people, and reach out to the support of teammates, your friends and family. 

Before COVID-19, my parents would be watching me from the bleachers screaming my name as if the whole world should remember their daughter Cece. My dad, recording every meet that I attended. Being at a competition is about seeing all the teams gather in the facility, the pool packed during warmup, getting snacks from the vendor and in line to get the merchandise for the meet, and having to look for your name in the back of the sweatshirt. Waiting for a lane in the warm-up pool and touching each other’s feet to go in front of them. Having every lane taken with a competitor throughout the meet. Seeing all the spectators and officials watching the competitors race, going through the computer system as each swimmer touches the pad. Calculating the times of the event and sharing food and towels with the team. Using the bathroom as you please and changing into your knee-skin tech suit. It was my normal until it was gone by the blink of an eye.

Spring semester is right around the corner as school begins classes. Before any athletic activity, all athletes were required to have a 14-day quarantine. Practices have not been consistent since the announcement of participation in the Sunshine State Conference competition. If there is a meet on Saturday, then we only train for three days. The maximum of practices we can train currently is four days. The last week in January, Lynn University’s Men’s and Women’s swimming had their very first meet of the season. As a freshman on the team, this isn’t exactly how I imagined my first college swim meet to go. There are so many rules and regulations that we have to be aware of with the new COVID-19 Protocols:

  • During the competition, lanes 1-4 (visiting team only). Lane 5 (empty). Lanes 6-9 (home team only) – the purpose of this is to avoid contact with each other;
  • Wearing masks to the block and immediately after the race;
  • Women’s team compete in the morning and Men’s team compete in the afternoon or vice versa – the purpose of this is to eliminate the number of people and less movement on the pool deck;
  • 15 of each gender are allowed to travel for away meets.

Even though there are many restrictions and it’s only my freshman year, I really hope to make the best out of this experience and become even more passionate about swimming.

Cecilia Diaz is a freshman at Lynn University who is currently majoring in Communications with a minor in Public Relations and Advertising. She is a member of the Women’s swim team and a member of the social media team for Her Campus.
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