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The Perfect Race
Bobby, Age 12, Easton, CT

It was 7:43. I was about to walk up to the starting blocks of the Wesleyan University pool and my coach stopped me. He said, “Are you ready to kick some butt,” I simply nodded with my iPod headphones still in my ears. “Right now, it is all about you. This is your race and you own it. Don’t let anyone take what is yours,” I felt the adrenaline rushing through my veins. I was definitely feeling anxious. I wanted so bad to win this race for myself as well as for the recognition of my team. I was the only one with a time close enough to compete in this event. I took a long deep breath to calm my nerves, after that I was ready to win.

As I was waiting behind the block, the tension was building because I had put so much time and effort into training for the Connecticut state championship. This was no ordinary race. This was a battle for the top times and spots in the state. I looked to my left and my right and there were the two fastest swimmers in Connecticut. I intended to beat both of them.

“Swimmers step up!” called the referee. I swung my arms twice imitating Michael Phelps. That’s when everything went blank. Everything I was thinking just stopped. All that was going through my head was, ”Win!” “Swimmers Take Your Marks… Beep.” The Tension had just released. I sprung off of the starting blocks like a rubber band. I flew through the air and landed in the water about 10 feet out. I was leading the race through the pullout. All of the practice and time I put in was for this race. I emerged out of the water and took the strongest stroke that my body would allow. I reached my arms so far that every stroke looked like my arms were going to fall off. However, I never felt a thing. Each stroke got harder and harder but, each stroke felt better and better. I pushed and pulled through the water like there was no tomorrow. I couldn’t lose this race. My body was hurting in the home stretch of the 50, but I kept giving each stroke all I had. I was finally at the flags, which meant that there were only 5 meters left. I pushed so hard that I couldn’t breathe. On the last stroke I pushed so hard that half of my body was out of the water. I hit the wall like a freight train. The race was finally over.

I turned around facing the time board and saw that my time was 36.64 which was the fastest time on the board. I could not believe that I had just cut three seconds off of my time. I had just done what I came to do. I shook both kids’ hands in the lanes next to me and hopped out of the pool. The place was going wild. My three coaches were jumping up and down and screaming Bobby. I ran over to them and my head coach Derek told me that I had just made the YMCA national championships in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. I cannot begin to describe how happy I felt. This was a dream come true for me. This was a swim meet that every good swimmer in the United States went to. I couldn’t believe my ears. My teammates were chanting, “Bobby, Bobby, Bobby.” My coach said, “You just swam the perfect race.” This confirmed to me that if you really want something in life and are willing to put the time and effort forward, you can accomplish anything.

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