My nuclear family follows FINA swimming championships with enough motivation for me to write a vignette.
These tall athletic heroes, men and women, are our inspiration. They are concentrated, in "the zone", with headphones on their ears so that the music keeps them away from distraction. They walk on stage, decked in their sweats, their hair pulled back in tight spandex caps, their eyes mysteriously covered in goggles. How do they find the perfect fit and adjustment for their goggles?
I think half the problem with swimming is the goggles. How do you select them, adjust them, so that water doesn't leak, so they aren't so tight they give you a headache and two suction traces around your eyes? I have never purchased a pair that doesn't fog up as soon as you dive in, not to say doesn't fill up with water.
The competitive swimmers walk in with pride, representatives of their countries. The majority is tall enough to have joined a basket ball team but they have selected the aquatic sport instead, one I happen to understand most because I am swimmer, no matter how amateur I am.
I began swimming at the age these swimmers began as well. I swam with the same passion and the same verve. However, I never pursued it seriously because I didn't even imagine I could. I didn't have the olympic swimmers as my role models. I never followed their exploits and stunts.
Now my children, swimmers, watch others swimmers perform perfectly, strive to win, to beat their own records. My husband repeats constantly: "it just takes hard work. None of this can happen without the constant work and performance over the years." Our children admire the American team with the emperor of swimming Michael Phelps. They follow the great results from the French team at this competition. Yet another French team (besides soccer) that we cheer on. Go Camille LaCourt!
Phelps may be retiring after London Olympics next year. Yet, he has another year to inspire us! Indeed, when you watch the FINA performances, you think, maybe, just maybe, with a lot of hard work, your children can also aim for the Olympics and the FINA.