Where I'm From

I am from the swimming pool,

From water soaked concrete and slippery blue tiles

I am from a hole in the ground

Lined with cement and filled to the brim with cool water

I am from the stands

Filled with fans cheering on their swimmers

Even though we can’t hear them in the water,

We know they are there


I am from a group of girls

Who support each other no matter what happens

I am from Decorah and Calmar and Waukon

And every other town in between

I am from a whole network of swimmers

All connected by Facebook and swimming,

Even though miles divide us


I am from Speedo and TYR,

From colorful swim suits and cartoonish caps

I am from a too tight fast-skin

That requires endurance and cardio to put on

And cut off the circulation in my legs

Making them tingle and a light shade of purple

But that half a second is worth the effort

So we deal with the pain


I am from morning practices

When we are up before the dawn

Driving in blackness,

With only the promise of a cold pool to look forward to

I am from late night practices

Being the last to leave the pool

Because you had to get that last set in

I am from the scent of chlorine

That fills my pores and clouds around me

Until I grow so used to the smell that I don’t notice it

Because it is a part of me


I am from the burning of my muscles

That constant ache you feel the first weeks of practice

I am from the weight room

Putting in the extra time to develop my body again

I am from the strength I feel after every set

Knowing I am strong

I am from the fire in my lungs

Screaming for me to breathe and allow precious oxygen inside me

But refusing, just to be faster


I am from the swim meets

Knowing you worked hard to be here

I am an adrenaline junkie,

High on the promise of a win

Literally bouncing in anticipation

And yet, I could throw up

From the butterflies rushing around in my stomach

I am from the feeling of the cool water rushing around me

From the dull roar of the crowd and the quiet sense of calm

In my own little world for a few precious moments

I am from the gut wrenching anxiety of Regionals

To the blissful spirit of state

Knowing the hard work is done,

And all that is left is to enjoy


I am from the roller coaster of the season

From the good days, and the bad

From all of the tears to all of the laughter

From all of the memories

But most importantly,

I am from swimming,

And it is from me.


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