Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

June 29, 2012

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.


  • 1.
    Ilona said…

    Go Ali GO! :-)
    Thanks for sharing!!

  • 2.
    dawn said…

    WOW Ali, these are great pictures!! First place, how awesome for you!! I love this story about you and how your thinking of getting in the pool FOR REAL!! Way to go, this would be awesome for you.

    Sadly I never had those kinds of swimming days as a kid. I had tubes in my ears for years and just never got to enjoy being in the water. I’m still the same way now, I get in a little with the kids to cool off but I dont’ “SWIM”. My kids amaze me with their fearless swimming and tricks in the water and I’m so grateful for that.

    Enjoy your weekend, how is the garden coming along?

  • 3.
    Erin Reive said…

    You are a rock star. I just want you to know that I can float on my back, doggy paddle, and superman from one side of the pool to the other, but have never really “swam” in all my life. Silly, I know. :) Just thought you might get a giggle out of me superman gliding or doggy paddling in the pool. hehe

  • 4.
    Susan C said…

    Ali you are always an inspiration, I too have many memories of swimming when younger, competitively and just for fun. My 3 and 4 year old are both taking swimming lessons this summer and I am so excited about it.
    I am a bit older than you (60) but this just may be the summer I get back in the pool for real too.

  • 5.
    Tami said…

    I jus got home from the lake, I kayaked formy friend who is training for an ironman, 2.4 miles by 630am

  • 6.
    Cathy Z. said…

    You lanky thing you. Damn. : ) Love seeing old swim pics. My mom took exactly ZERO of me. Sigh.

  • 7.
    Bev Mascara said…

    I love the swimming olympics. Wow…a girl of many talents you are Miss Ali!!!

  • 8.
    Lisa W. said…

    We were never lucky enough in our small school system to have a pool. It was a new school back in the 70′s or a swimming pool. The school was voted in. BUT summers were ALL about our pool in the back yard. Loving still today to go to our friends pools!! Thanks for sharing…I had no idea you were a swim champ:)

  • 9.
    Sharon said…

    Go girl!

  • 10.
    Karen H said…

    Go for it Ali!

  • 11.
    Susan said…

    Except for the competition I feel the same way about te pool. and wonder why, too, i’m not in the pool…i have a necklace that i wrote about in my 31 things…swimming makes me happy. and yet, i’m not in the pool. what’s up with that?

  • 12.
    Liz said…

    Cool Ali – loved seeing these old photos! I’ll come watch your next ‘meet’ for sure. :)

  • 13.
    Janet K said…

    These photos are Great!!! I love watching the swimming and the Olympics. Though I never swam for competition…I love being in the pool & just never do it. I recently was visiting Portland for a few days,,,and went in the hotel pool…now I can;t wait to get in again!

  • 14.
    Kristin Z said…

    I grew up a competitive swimmer as well- our team had those same suits! There was nothing worse than the cold water for 6:00am practice. :)

  • 15.
    Megan said…

    so many of my memories growing up are tied up in swimming too. i used to say “i love swimming” when my mom would pick me up after practice in junior high. now i’m happy if i can get in a the pool a couple times a week. and have also been inspired by watching the amazing swimmers in the trials.

  • 16.
    KristynKG said…

    We’ve been watching the trials too. I swam in jr high and high school – 200IM and 100Fly were my events. I told hubby last night that I would give anything to be able to swim competitively again. Sadly, there are no masters teams around, so I think my only option would be Tri’s. Your Danskin recaps always light a spark in me to give it a go.

  • 17.
    Becky R said…

    I love watching swimming too!

    I am originally from Federal Way too! :)

  • 18.
    Nicole Prather said…

    Ali thank you for inspiring me to document our crazy life !! Your blog and pictures keep me going to create what will last forever. I always tell myself when things are bad or not what I planned on things always happen for a reason we might not know right now why but eventually god reveals in his own time. Got me through a lot of whys !! You are awesome and I believe God always throws us something to kick start what we have lost down inside !!! Xoxo

  • 19.
    Katie said…

    Love this!! Go Ali go!

  • 20.
    aliza said…

    Thanks for sharing. This was fun to read. It is always interesting looking back at what we used to be good at, and how sometimes those things slip away. I often have this conversation with myself about dance. I loved it as a child, and was always stretching, working, trying new things. When I feel bad about losing that, I try to remember all that I do now that I didn’t/couldn’t do then.

  • 21.
    Judy said…

    I, too, swam in high school. Thanks for a beautifully written walk down memory lane!

  • 22.
    Debbie S. said…

    Cool photos! :)

  • 23.
    Susanmcl said…

    Ali- you mentioned the mental workout? What do you mean by that specifically? What do you think about when you swim for so long at a time?

    • ….
      Ali said…

      I found it mentally challenging in lots of ways – sometimes I loved the quiet time to think and I’d think about all the things happening in my life (school, friends, boyfriends, daydreams) and other times I was thinking about my stroke or how much farther I had to go and that I probably wasn’t working hard enough and I should work harder. I bet it’s similar for distance runners or other people who participate in individual sports. Lots of time for thinking and mental games.

  • 24.
    char said…

    I love swimming too. I’m lucky enough to have (swimming) tickets for the London Olympics next month. I CAN’T WAIT!

  • 25.
    Christine said…

    Love this trip down memory lane. I’m not much of a swimmer but I made sure all three of my girls learned to swim. All 3 were on a swim team and my oldest swam for her high school team. When she was 16 she swam across Lake Washington. She is now 26 and is planning on swimming the English Channel. I’m happy that I made learning to swim a priority when my kids were young.

  • 26.
    diane said…

    Do you have any idea what an inspiration you are?!?
    Thank you for sharing.

  • 27.
    Tere said…

    I love the pics. I love that you went to Decatur…I am a TJ grad. I didn’t venture far….as I’m still in FW. I LOVE that you are sharing the love of the water with your kids this summer…you will get back in, I’m sure.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      I actually went to Bellarmine in Tacoma – they didn’t have a swim team so any swimmers swam at their local high school.

  • 28.
    Jenny said…

    LOVE seeing these pictures of you – what a treasure. Early mornings, cold water, and the lung pain after being out of the water for a bit… all good times as I look back. Awesome Ali. This makes me smile.

  • 29.
    Beverly said…

    YOU CAN DO IT!!!

  • 30.
    Mel said…

    Thanks for sharing! Great pictures. I think it is really useful to think back to our teen years and try to remember what we were like…what we were thinking and dreaming about.

  • 31.
    Kim S. (nerdgrl) said…

    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.

  • 32.
    Nat said…

    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.

  • 33.
    madeline St onge said…

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

  • 34.
    Vanessa Babin said…

    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!

  • 35.
    Natalie said…

    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. :)

  • 36.
    M said…

    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.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Oh I know all about it! The kids went with Chris to the opening ceremonies :) .

  • 37.
    M said…

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

  • 38.
    Michelle L. said…

    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!

  • 39.
    Susan Beth said…

    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!

  • 40.
    Debie Grace said…

    :) 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. :)

  • 41.
    Silvia said…

    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…

  • 42.
    Kim said…

    Get in the pool with the kiddos and have fun!

  • 43.
    Renee Zwirek said…

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

  • 44.
    Scrappyjen said…

    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!

  • 45.
    Vera said…

    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!

  • 46.
    Gina Bowers said…

    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. :)

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Thanks Gina :) .

  • 47.
    Karen Freeman said…

    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.

  • 48.
    Mel said…

    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!

  • 49.
    Rae Bangs said…

    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!

  • 50.
    Jen shears said…

    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!

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