I have had a long, competitive athletic career. First, I competed in varsity middle school volleyball as a server. In the summers, I ran in age group races. I made it to Junior Internationals in Chicago on a 4x100 relay as the leadoff leg. I remember what a beautiful day it was. I felt like one with the earth that day. The race flowed beautifully.
Even my dreams have centered on competitive sports. Ever since middle school, I had dreamed of becoming an Olympic swimmer. Swimming came out of left field, didn't it? No, it didn't. I started swimming quite young because my parents decided that swimming was better than Ritalin.
I have always loved the water, but swimming opportunities do not always present themselves. The Y in my community was shut down before I even finished elementary school, so I had to take up other sports in the interim. I was able to return to swimming in high school. I loved every minute of the sport and the camaraderie despite the morning, afternoon and weekend practices. I had not given up on my Olympic swimming dream just yet.
With no guidance or plan, I landed in Galveston, Texas, to study marine biology at a school smaller than my high school. Fortunately, there were swimming enthusiasts in the mist. We formed a swim club and swam at the university or community pool. I also ended up on the crew team somehow. We did quite well for a team of eight rowers.
Since organic chemistry and I were not getting along, it was time for me to return to Ohio to finish my schooling in something else. I wanted to continue competing in water sports, but I found the OSU swim team to be quite intimidating. With that, I joined the varsity women's crew team. Participating on that team tested my physical limits, but I still loved the sport.
My life led me to Korea, where I joined an aerobics team, swam occasionally and competed in quite a few 5k races. I was a running fiend for a while. My PR was 21 minutes. Those were the days! Even then, I still longed for the water, so I took up water skiing.
It wasn't until I returned stateside that I began competing in swimming again. The open water competition was extraordinarily more fun than any pool competition. I was sold! Who cares about sharks? I actually swam over one and did not even know it! A person is more likely to injure herself falling into a pool unexpectedly than being bitten by an unsuspecting shark.
As work would have it, I ended up in San Antonio. I started out kayaking. Then I discovered triathlons. With that, I had begun training for those events until being sidelined by running injuries. Fortunately, there are other options. I fell in love with aquabike competitions. Who else can say, "swim, bike, done?” I wish the swim leg were longer. I have a new long-term goal now. I would like to participate in and place in a national aquabike competition. Who said a person in her 40s can’t continue to dream even if the dream has changed slightly?
Share Your Story
Sometimes the best inspiration comes from the triumphs and accomplishments of your fellow athletes. Submit your own story. Email us at email@example.com and include the story and any accompanying photos as attachments. Please include "My Story" in the subject line.