In high school I was on the women’s swim team. Before that I was on the men’s water polo team. It was the summer of ‘89, and it was the first day of “hell week.” There wasn’t a women’s water polo team so three of us women were waiting for “hell week” to begin along with about twenty guys. We ran to the beach, out to the pier and then back to school up and down the football field and up and down the bleachers. After two hours we got to go home, only to be back in the evening for swimming and drills. That was Day One. I thought I was a good swimmer, but I was not prepared for sprints and laps for two hours. I had a hard time breathing. When I stopped to walk I got yelled at, even though I felt I had to catch my breath.
I went home, ate dinner and fell asleep only to wake up at 6 am and do it again for two weeks straight. After the water polo season I signed up for the swim team in the spring. I took swim class for Phys. Ed. and I woke up at 5:15am so my dad could take me to the pool before school started. I swam four hours a day, five days a week. I started my ninth grade year getting yelled at by the coach and ended being the fastest woman on the women’s swim team. The next two years I won MVP. What was the key? Consistency was the key. On the swim team you only have so many lanes and you have a lot of swimmers. The men’s team and the women’s team practiced together. And just like in all sports and in life, you have to lead and be led. Both are equally valuable. It’s a teacher-student relationship. The roles may switch. It all depends on the speed of the leader. If someone touched your toes in swimming you had to move out of the way because it was their turn to lead. Take turns leading. There is always something to be learned from others to sharpen our skills. Again the key to achieving anything is consistency. If I could go from hanging on the wall to MVP two years in a row you can do anything. Don’t give up and stay Consistent!