Saturday, 31 January 2015

Embracing Change

Having this morning been told that it was exactly a year ago today that I was competing at the 16th annual Euro Meet in Luxembourg, it has finally hit me; that is, the extent to which certain circumstances can change over the course of a mere 52 weeks.

A year ago today I continued to train in the former 'gold squad' at a performance club 26 miles from home. But more importantly, it was a year ago today that Lee and I had that disastrous alarm mishap!

And then in an attempt to ease the pressure leading up to exam period and regain my passion for a beautiful sport, I made a decision that was far from easy. I decided to move squads, before returning to my former, more local, swimming club less than six months later.

The latter course of events wasn't entirely what I wanted, or under my control for that matter - despite any offhand remarks I may have let slip in a moment of emotion - but it's not all that bad. If I'm completely honest though, it truly is killing me to not see the people I once trained with day-in day-out - my teammates and best friends, the two terms being generally interchangeable.

Due to the nature of our sport, you grow pretty close. How can you not feel comfortable around the people who witness your bare body in excess of twenty hours a week, and during those tense poolside moments when the changing rooms aren't an option? One towel and a pair of trunks really is an immense skill, plus it requires perfect technique if the spectators aren't to get more than they bargained for!

Come to think of it, swimmers are probably about 98% naked both in and out of the pool, so logic would definitely say that I'm unclothed more often than not. Not as often as our cousin though - he's naked all the time, and I'm not even kidding! He will take absolutely any opportunity to get his clothes off!

Anyway, I digress. It feels almost alien looking back at those unforgiving 4:10 alarms, four times a week, and numerous bento-box breakfasts in the car on the journey home. And of course, there was always rush-hour traffic to battle as we attempted to return in time for school. After a while it became a rudimentary sort of game, determining whether better judgement would prevail over the barking orders of the SatNav.

These, along with that lingering chlorine aroma us swimmers are only too familiar with and carry around with us wherever we go, are a few details that I can't say I miss, but then again the memory of those four-and-a-bit years wouldn't be the same without them. I've found that it's often a culmination of the little specifics that have the greatest impact. And never-ending goggle marks too.

Change is scary, I know, but the challenge is to learn to embrace it; for change is the variable that separates monotony from variety, inertia from adventure and disappointment from fulfilment.

Okay, maybe that's a little bit of an exaggeration, but I thought it sounded pretty motivating. It is okay to feel apprehensive though, mainly because you must be the manifestation of an extraterrestrial being if you don't. And then I would be seriously worried!

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