Christopher T.

Swimming Banter

It’s harder to
As I think more about the
Five hundred.
Oh, please.  Don’t miss out on your chance to display
Your efforts and practice - don’t you toss it away!
You try to avoid it; you moan and complain,
But man up, be strong!  There is so much to gain!

I’m not too sure
Of myself anymore.
My skin’s getting clammy
And my head’s
Release all your fears, leave your loss in the past -
Get up on the block!  Put your goggles on fast.
You fear that you’ll lose them as you leave the block,
But isn’t it better than standing in shock?

Did Lee say to push it?
Should I hold back?  I should’ve signed up for indoor track!
What if I get sore
If my arms become lead
What if I can’t last or if I
Should I even try or -

To win is your goal, don't allow such a thought.
Your doubt - see, it hinders and makes you distraught.
No time for such nonsense!  Be still, troubled heart!
Prepare your position - get ready to start!

Taking my mark
And getting set…
I hope I don’t
False start.
The signal has sounded; now give it your all!
Don’t think of technique, or else you will stall!
That wasn’t too bad - see, your goggles are here.
Your body will work; there’s no reason to fear.

One, two, breathe.
Stroke and kick.
Flip and push.
Not too quick.
Feel my hands
Row me on.
Realize my
Panic’s gone.
Cruising well.
Sailing free,
Smoothly I
Cross the sea.
Science fair -
When’s it due?
Maybe March?
I’ll start soon.
I will win
At this rate.
Counting’s good.
Feeling fine.
Hope I don’t
Fall behind.
Look around -
What’s that? - Crap!
Someone’s near
His last lap?
Is my pull
Really right?
Are my hands
Closed and tight?
Wait, do I
Speed up now?
Stronger arms?
Cramping - OW!
My gills are gone,
And my fins, so to speak.
And what about the others?
They’re all at their peak
I’m so far behind
And alone in this race
My sails are down
I hope I finish at all
I’m sinking
It’s over, you lose!  You placed sixth, oh how slow!
Why didn’t you listen and let your mind go?
This is your result.  All your work is derailed.
Why couldn’t you let it be natural?
You failed.

Note: The five hundred yard freestyle, consisting of ten laps, is the longest event in high school competitive swimming, with six swimmers competing each race.  Swimmers usually breathe every three strokes, and “DQ” stands for “disqualify” or “disqualification.”


Copyright 2002-2007 Student Publishing Program (SPP). Poetry and prose 2002-2007 by individual authors. Reprinted with permission. SPP developed and designed by Strong Bat Productions.