This blog, I am dedicating less to my views and more to my experiences in the past week. The past few days have been quite interesting, with each day holding new experiences, despite the fact that I haven’t been in school at all (or maybe that is the reason why?). Last week, I competed at YMCA Short Course Nationals in Greensboro, North Carolina, which is a massive swim meet hosted by the YMCA that attracts swimmers from all over the country. Most people train their entire seasons for this meet, unless they’re faster and can move on to Junior Nationals or Olympic Trials. Anyways, this allowed me to skip an entire week of school (well, 4 days because Friday we had off) which sounds like a lot of fun until I take a look at my agenda and realize I have a butt load of work to make up before the marking period ends in a few days.
For me, Nationals is the two weeks (one week in April for short course, one week in August in Indianapolis for long course) of my year that I truly look forward to. I’ve decided to come up with a list why this week produces some of the best memories of my life.
- No parents – self explanatory
- 1 week with good friends – I’ve become good friends with swimmers on my team, but since I live so far away from them, it’s hard for me to hang out with them out of the pool; however, at Nationals, I get to spend time with them 24/7
- meeting friends from other teams – swimmers are social creatures, and seeing friends from Florida or other places is always exciting; usually, I only get to see these friends on social media or a few times a year at swim meets
- parade – Nationals parade is some of the most fun I’ve ever had: everyone dresses up with the theme of the meet (this year was outer space, last year was neon) and we dance around the pool
- finals – watching your teammates swim at finals, which is quite an accomplishment, and cheering on them is an incredible experience. I’ve had the pleasure of watching a few of my teammates become national champions, which is an awesome feat.
- I also met Ryan Lochte, a famous Olympic swimmer who has multiple gold medals and world records…I was starstruck
The only downside of this meet is the 10 hour road trip we had to go through. One the 10 hour drive home, our bus broke down, and we were stuck on the side highway from 11 pm – 2 am on a bus without circulating air and people who were all tired and missing home. The bus smelled like the human waste that had been on the bus for a week (since our bus was equipped with a porta-potty), and personalities started to clash, since everyone was getting tired of each other. We ended making it to a rest stop at 2 am, but it was a sketchy truck stop, with dozens of massive trucks parked nearby, and we were warned to stay away from them and travel in groups of at least 5 people. We remained there, dining on Starbucks and McDonald’s until 9 am the next morning (if the bus hadn’t broken down, we would’ve been home by 6 am). Needless to say, it was quite the experience…
Despite the makeup work and vehicle issues, if I had a choice to relive the past week, I would do it in a heartbeat. The camaraderie and feeling of freedom makes the weeks of Nationals some of the best of my life.