Monday, December 17, 2012


Sectionals. They started on my birthday. Which meant that I would technically be 15 for a few extra days. It would be my last meet as a 15-year-old.

It started on Thursday, December 13, and I was exhausted from the action-packed 3-day meet that I mentioned in my post previous post: Las Vegas!!!. Katelyn and I had made it for a couple individuals, and Jordan and Makenna would join us for the relays on Saturday and Sunday. This meet, held at the Belmont Olympic Pool in Long Beach, CA, was decidedly more professional and businesslike than any meet I had ever been to. All of the swimmers who qualified for sectionals were insanely fast, many of them just coming back from Junior Nationals the week before.

Before my first race, the 100 free, I was sitting up at the bleachers and caught sight of people's bag tags on their backpacks. Many of them read 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials, or 2012 North American Cup Challenge - huge meets that indicated that the people here were extremely talented, and some of the best in the nation. I was in a pond with some pretty big fish. This wasn't your regular age group meet, this was a senior meet, where everyone was competing against everyone, and age wasn't a factor. I saw people as young as 12, and people past college-age competing. By the end of the meet I was completely exhausted from the two demanding back-to-back meets.

I went from being at the top of the meet to being somewhere in the middle of these incredibly speedy people of all ages from California and Nevada. It was an incredibly eye-opening experience. I was swimming with people who will definitely be swimmers to watch at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. I realized that for these people it wasn't just about the fun and games, but that the people in this meet were in the "Big Leagues." These are people who were breaking National Age Group Records, and I was extremely humbled. It was amazing and extremely inspiring that I got the chance to compete in the same meet as them.

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