Five days. Five. Only five.
That’s all I have left.
The thing about swimming is that for me, it’s sort of like a drug without the high. It’s addictive, and I can’t quit it. Chlorine addiction, that’s it.
Swimming is not a physical sport. Swimming is 99.5% a mental sport. You could be the most physically fit person in the world and be the worst swimmer imaginable. When you’re in the water, you’ve got nothing but your thoughts to drive you mad. Almost there- no, don’t breathe, don’t breathe, don’t breath- harder, your lungs have never burst before, so no matter how sick you feel now, you’ll be all right in the end-
Swimming is not a team sport. When you’re alone in a pool- underwater- you’re alone. You can’t talk to anyone, and no one can talk to you. You’re stranded, suspended in hydrogen, oxygen, and a little but of chlorine. When it comes down to that one race, you don’t care if your teammate is doing well. All you care about is the wall at the end of the pool where you’re supposed to finish. All you care about is the clock. You’re not racing other people, really; you’re racing something that will never, ever stop.
Swimming is numbers. Swimming is strokes per length- sixteen!-no, that’s not good enough, twelve. Swimming is yards, meters, minutes, seconds, tens of seconds, hundredths of seconds. Eight twenty-fives on the thirty, four hundreds on the one twenty-five, two two-hundreds on the three, nice and easy now, repeat four times. Breathe every three- no, five- no, seven- strokes. Kick six times per pull. Breath only once in an entire lap. Now do it without breathing. You can do the fifty in a twenty-eight four? Break a twenty-seven.
And all those stinging little numbers come down to one sick, sorry, gold-plated number that all swimmers try disgustingly hard to achieve: