Back In The Day

Last night I did something I haven't done in quite awhile: watch TV.

I saw a tweet from Lisa Congdon that there was swimming on TV and that was enough to get me to tune in and I'm so glad I did.

I loved watching the US Olympic swimming trials. Watching those swimmers make their dreams come true was super inspiring (especially the ones who will be making their first trip).

I even loved watching a lot of the commercials that were sport and Olympic-related.

When a commercial break came on I ran upstairs to look in one of my old photo albums and see what swimming photos I could find. I found the two above from 1989 (I was 14).

I probably think about swimming, or have memories related to swimming, just about every day. It was such a huge part of my life in my early years into my first year of college.

The Olympics were never a dream of mine, but I loved swimming all the same.

I remember what it feels like: the training, the breathing, the gliding, the kick, the reach, the pull, the bite of the cold water first thing in the morning, the mental work-out, the exhaustion, the highs, the competition, the friendships, the winning and the losing. I remember when it felt really, really good and when it was really, really hard.

And I wonder why in the heck I'm not pushing my body and my mind in those same ways anymore.

Maybe this will be the season I get back in the pool for real.

55 thoughts

  1. Kim S. (nerdgrl)

    2012-06-29 13:52:47 -0400

    EXACTLY the way I feel. I was on swim team from 8th grade through college graduation. I loved it. Like you, my dreams never included the Olympics, but I knew every swimmer, mens and ladies, that were on top during the 1970s to early 1980s. I've caught a few of the races this year and it took me back. Thanks for the memories.

  2. Nat

    2012-06-29 14:11:46 -0400

    Same in our house. My husband and his family were all swimmers through high school and he's been following the trials carefully. Can't wait for the Olympics except that NBC will tape delay them on the west coast :(

    Get yourself back in the pool - trust me, you'll feel great. My husband didn't swim for a number of years and I kept getting after him to do it. Finally, he joined a master's swim club and LOVES it. He's back to swimming 3k yards twice a week.

  3. madeline St onge

    2012-06-29 14:38:40 -0400

    So happy to see you are back, missed you a lot

  4. Vanessa Babin

    2012-06-29 14:43:34 -0400

    My daughter was a competitive swimmer back in the late 80's and early 90's. As a parent I loved watching her swim! I love watching the olympics too. It brings back lots of funmemories!
    Great pictures. I wish I had taken more of Juliet, but I have lots of video!

  5. Natalie

    2012-06-29 15:02:30 -0400

    This post hit close to home. I grew up a swimmer. Some years (my most dedicated ones) practically year round, 5am practices and all. I miss the dedication and I often dream about getting back into it. Hopefully the Olympic trials can inspire both of us to get back in the water. :)

  6. M

    2012-06-29 15:14:41 -0400

    Ali, You are so close to the Track and Field Olympic Trials in Eugene! There is a huge Nike sponsored Track Town festival around Hayward. They blocked off the surrounding streets. You need to go through security to get in, but it is free and no tickets are needed. There are a ton of food vendors, beer gardens, and lots of interactive things for kids. (hoisting up to pole vault height, timed treadmill racing, generating energy by running in a cylinder etc.) With the huge video boards and being right next to the stadium the excitement of the Olympic trials is all around. If the weather is good you and the kids should go. I was there on Sunday and it was a real "event" with lots of kids having a great time.

  7. M

    2012-06-29 15:21:03 -0400

    Added for clarification- no tickets are needed for Track Town. You do need tickets to get into Hayward Field Stadium.

  8. Michelle L.

    2012-06-29 16:46:06 -0400

    I was a swimmer in junior high and high school, and share many of your memories and feelings about it! I sometimes forget how much I loved the water, and really want to figure out a way to get back to it. Also, I can't wait for the swim competition in the Olympics - it's always my favorite part!

  9. Susan Beth

    2012-06-29 17:25:48 -0400

    Loved this post if for no other reason than it informed me about Lisa Congdon, who I actually grew up with (our families went to the same church), wasn't close to, but remember, and the link to her blog was interesting for me in that way. Thank you!

  10. Debie Grace

    2012-06-29 18:11:13 -0400

    :) I love this post. The determination you have is something your readers might think about. This really is inspiring. Now, let me see what I have missed back in the days... hmm. :)

  11. Silvia

    2012-06-29 18:38:34 -0400

    That's awesome! I just took up swimming last fall for the purpose of competing in a triathlon and I'm loving it. I wish I could get a 6:32 on a 500. It's important that we parents take a timeout to exercise and do the things we love...

  12. Kim

    2012-06-29 20:40:14 -0400

    Get in the pool with the kiddos and have fun!

  13. Renee Zwirek

    2012-06-29 23:27:06 -0400

    Wow! That is SO cool! I love watching the US Olympic Swim Trials, too.

  14. Scrappyjen

    2012-06-29 23:44:52 -0400

    Oh wow! I was just telling my family about how I loved swimming and athletics when I was young and pulled out all my swim ribbons to show them. It was great reliving my past endevours. Go Ali!

  15. Vera

    2012-06-30 00:23:58 -0400

    Go for it Ali! I loved swimming as a kid, just for fun. When we stopped regularly going to the pool, the weight started piling on and never stopped. Now, I try to swim laps when we go but I get so tired easily. because I am soooooo out of shape and very heavy. I still feel like it's the one thing that can get me in shape. if i can only get access to a pool that won't cost an arm and a leg!

  16. Gina Bowers

    2012-06-30 03:03:22 -0400

    Inspiring. It gives me encouragement to try to recapture the spirit I had when I was young. From the outside looking in, I think you push your mind a lot. You are always coming up with new ways to tell your story. I appreciate that. :)

  17. Karen Freeman

    2012-06-30 05:48:11 -0400

    Great pics. I too like to remember those days and I have tried to get back in the pool again. It works for a while but is definately starting up again as my daughter is keen to come and train with me. Hopefully this will ease us back into it. Thanks for sharing.

  18. Mel

    2012-06-30 11:06:30 -0400

    I too always enjoy watching swimming when it's Olympics season! (Sidenote: A recent Bellarmine grad, Kevlyn Richards is swimming in the trials!)

    I swam in middle school competitively. My older sister started swimming in high school, so I think my Mom figured it would be a good activity for me by default! I gave it up in high school to run cross country, but sometimes I wonder what would've happened if I had stuck with it.

    I really miss it, and your descriptions of 'the act' of swimming really brough me back. I'd like to pick it up again sometime in the future too!

  19. Rae Bangs

    2012-06-30 11:21:38 -0400

    Like you I grew up swimming and loved it. I even coached high school swimming when I taught in Alabama two years ago. I love how it makes me feel and I enjoy watching it on tv as well. I got a short glimpse of the Olympic trials on Tuesday. So exciting! I can't wait for the games to start.
    I too need to get back in the water. I just had my first child 6 months ago and I am anxious to get him exposed to the pleasure and joy of swimming. He already loves bath time! However living in Washington is a bit cold right now. Looking forward to July and August weather to arrive.
    Thanks for sharing! I still have photos from my swimming days and enjoy looking back and remembering those fun days!

  20. Jen shears

    2012-06-30 14:24:56 -0400

    I saw the Decatur in the pic, but already read that you went to bellarmine- that's so cool! I graduated from decatur a few years ahead of you- lol! I knew you were from the Seattle area, but didn't realize you grew up in the same area I did! Small world! I'm trying to think of people I knew that went to bellarmine- (i went to st. Vincents).... Thanks for all your inspiration!

  21. Traci

    2012-06-30 15:57:33 -0400

    I totally get this...I have used swimming as a way to help me get through depression after my parents died, to process life changes as my youngest entered college, and now at the age of 53 I joined a Masters Program to challenge myself and push myself mentally and physically.

    What your post has reminded document it!

  22. Alexandra

    2012-06-30 22:18:46 -0400

    I hope you do get back in the pool or into something for you - something that feels good and recharges your batteries on several levels - you deserve that. Honouring your body and mind with physical activity is a beautiful thing.

  23. J3SS1C4

    2012-07-01 23:36:06 -0400

    I never used to swim competively, but there definately is something magical about being in the water! I think that's so awesome that you have so photos from when you were younger swimming though! How cool to be able to look back at that point in time!

  24. Erica Hettwer

    2012-07-06 00:23:37 -0400

    I loved smelling like chlorine all the time.
    I loved writing on my teammates before meets.
    I loved how energized I felt after 3-500s as a warm up.
    I loved how unselfconscious I was in a swim suit.
    I loved breaking a minute in the 100 free.
    I loved mentoring the newer swimmers.
    I loved being mentored by the more experienced ones.

    I loved swimming competitively!
    Thanks for the reminder. :)

  25. Tinka

    2012-07-06 14:01:17 -0400

    Swimming was a huge part of my life growing up as we lived at the pool in the summer. First taking swimming lessons starting the year I was 5 and then helping teach the summer I turned 11 and continuing to teach almost every summer through high school and into my 20s. Then I got real full-time jobs so couldn't fit it into my schedule. But at any point when I was unemployed or working later in the day, I was always back at the pool teaching. I also taught quite a few private lessons. I never swam competitively, outside of the July 4th and end of summer meets at our club until I was 13, because I was not a fast swimmer. But I still love the water and welcome any opportunity to spend time in it!

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