Chasing the Bubbles

By: Brooke Lampe

7 Votes

Chasing the Bubbles - Brooke Lampe

University of Nebraska-Lincoln


That first practice, when I was a freshman in high school, was perfect. The water surged around me as I swam with all the grace and speed I had earned through months of conditioning. At that time, I was probably the fastest of the freshman swimmers.

Two months into the season, the tide had turned. Instead of swimming the medley relay, I was congratulating its members on their personal bests. The girls I used to swim laps around now beat me in several races. I was not upset with them; I was upset with myself. I was a dedicated swimmer, one who had been swimming competitively for five years. How could my new teammates, who had just begun competitive swimming, become better than me so quickly?

The following season, I still felt behind. I threw myself into swim practice every day. Harder, faster, longer. I wondered if there was something I was missing, something wrong with me. Even as I perceived that I was falling further behind my teammates, I kept going. However, my plan was unsuccessful. Most of my fellow sophomores lettered that year, and I felt left out. It was the lowest point in my swimming career and concrete evidence that I lacked something, that I failed.

When the season ended, I compared my seed times and final times. I realized what was wrong. It was not my ability, it was my attitude. I realized I had improved my times, and even if I was not first, I was not a failure. It was time to stop comparing myself to others. I just had to do my best and remember the reason I started swimming competitively: It was fun. Next season, I have definite goals in mind, swim a personal best and do my very best.