Brenna Roberts ‘21
The date is Oct. 29, 2020. I am making my schedule for the final time ever for my last semester of senior year. I get to the option on the homepage stating if I will be choosing to go back to school, be a commuter, take a leave of absence, or stay remote. I choose to stay remote as COVID-19 has taken over our lives and has made rampage across the country. I close my computer and sit in awe and silence. My swim career is officially over. I will not get to accomplish my goal of going under a minute in the 100m backstroke, a goal I have had since sophomore year of high school. I will not get to spend one final year with my team. I will not get to have a senior meet. It seems like I put in all this hard work for nothing. Just to have it end without warning. Many people may ask, if I love swimming so much, why not just suck it up and go back to school? I wish it were that easy. Although my swim career ended much sooner than I expected and wanted it too, I am still proud of all I have accomplished. This sport has taught me so much in the 20 years I have done it, and for that I will always be grateful.
It taught me the importance of hard work. Nothing you want will ever come easy. Some people are natural born athletes, but others, like myself, have to work twice as hard every day to be just as good.
It taught me the value of sportsmanship and being a part of a team. Swimming is such an individual sport; all about your own race and beating your time but it also is a team sport. Having a group of people cheering you on at the end of your race or chanting your name as you get on the blocks is the best feeling in the world.
It taught me resilience and how to be strong. I went through some of the hardest times of my life while being a swimmer. I have dealt with severe anxiety my entire life and many times I would throw up before a race. But, although I still get anxious, swimming gave me confidence and taught me how to channel anxiety into adrenaline.
However, most importantly, it taught me that my biggest opponent is in my own head. I will never be perfect and I will never be the fastest swimmer but that is okay. Swimming taught me how to train my mind to think positive because without it, I would have never got through those insanely crazy sets. (Like 20 200’s).
I have learned more from being an athlete; especially a collegiate athlete. than I ever have in my many years of school. I have made bonds that will last a lifetime and I have learned how to love myself and be proud of my athletic build. My swim career may be over, but I will always and forever be a swimmer. Because having the title of ‘college swimmer’ does not define who you are, it becomes you. And that is something that can never be taken away.