Doing the 500 Freestyle By Maggie Miller “Why did I sign up for this? I am going to die,” I said,counting down the minutes. I just finished my four events at mytenth swim meet. I did a 50 (2 laps) of each stroke (butterfly,backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle) I am on NAS swimteam. I knew this was a bad idea: I was about to do the 500freestyle. I sat down on the hard blue chair waiting there like I waswaiting for my death. I was shaking like a Chihuahua, scared, andunsure. The only thing running through my mind was, how fastshould I go? I really had no clue! It felt like a century. Almost everyone was gone except mycounter, my coach, and my parents. I looked up at the stands,nobody in sight. I looked on the other side of the pool, my fiveopponents. There were teenagers on my team too, and two werecheering for me. But there was only one teen standing beside me, my friendShannon. She is great! She was always there for me. She gave mesome helpful pointers like go fast, but not too fast that you knowyou won’t be able to go for twenty laps. It was locked in my mind.
Her standing next to me made my worries of this event go rightaway. I watched the last of the teens go, for the 100 freestyle.They zoomed right through it, which I didn’t like, because it wascloser to my doom. Shannon left my side for a moment; Iwondered why. She walked to the end of the pool, to lane 6 to beexact. Suddenly I heard my name being called from the distance.“Maggie, Maggie, MAGGIE!!!” I looked up and there she was, mycoach Sherry. I flew right back in my chair. I squeezed my handaround my NAS cap and my grey goggles. “Maggie, you are upnext! Get your cap on and your goggles and go to lane 6,” Sherryscreamed. She didn’t want me to miss this race. I did what shesaid and walked to lane 6, got my cap on, checked if it wasstraight, and adjusted my goggles so they wouldn’t leak; now Iwas ready to go. The last heat of the 100 Freestyle was almostdone. I started to get pumped up. I was jumping around to keepmy blood flowing. I noticed that I was in need of a counter, because a 500 isway too much to keep track of considering that you have speedstuck in your mind. So I looked across the bright blue pool and Isaw my friend Dana counting for me. I breathed a sigh of relief.
Also I saw my friend Rachel going to cheer for me next toShannon. I was overjoyed. Now I got to go fast! The boys werealmost done. Two laps left. I went through my checklist in mymind: goggles and cap- check, tight goggles- check, blood flowing-check, Maggie- check. I was still ready to go. “Next event, Girls 11-12 500 Freestyle,” the announcer said.Beep beep beep BEEP! That means that the swimmers must get onthe blocks. There was silence-concentration. Take your mark… Itook a deep breath. I reached down and gripped the end of theblock. I was in the perfect position, waiting for those magicwords. “GO!” With all my might I pushed off those blocks forlength and with power. The tips of my fingers entered, soonfollowing my whole body. I did a tight streamline and kicking likecrazy, but not too fast though! My arms were working with me,over the head at perfect length and entering the water pushing itbehind. I was in the best position I ever was. Before I knew it I was at the other side of the pool! Danaput the first number down. 1. I looked up and saw everybody.They were cheering. They made me want to go even faster. Danawas doing her job. One lap down, 19 to go! I did a flip turn, pushed
off, and did a streamline. My head popped up after I passed theflags and I just kept swimming. Taking of my many breaths I noticed nobody was in sight. “Iam either in first or last,” I thought to myself. A few more lapswent by without me noticing! I was keeping a rather good pace. I was doing the same things for literally all of the 500: goodpace, great position, good flip turns, and streamline. “Ring, ring,ring,” I heard. That means that somebody was in first place andon their last lap. Right then I knew that I was in last. My counterpulled down the last marker covered in red, which meant thatwhen I flipped, I would be done at the other end of the pool. Ijumped in joy, actually I didn’t because I was in a pool swimmingand I would get “DQed” if I touched the ground with my feet. SoI did it in my mind. I did my last flip. Streamline, kicking. My head popped upfrom under the water. With all the energy I had left, I sprinted.I must have been done in a matter of ten seconds! I spotted theyellow and blue flags. I held my breath dunked my head under thewater, and my body following right behind. I was still doingfreestyle. Then I touched the padded wall. I did it. I stood up. I glanced up to see my time. 7:23.45!But I came in last. But it doesn’t matter what place you get in,
the only the time matters. I looked up at my dad who was timingme; he gave me a thumb up. The next heat dove over me. I squirmed out of the pool andwalked towards my coach. She gave me a giant hug followed by a“Great job!” She was proud of me. It made me feel great. Thenshe said “You have a time to beat later” and stuff like that. After I went into the locker room and got dressed and wentupstairs to see my parents. While I was getting dressed my dadwent up before me. I spotted them in the bleachers. Theycongratulated me. I told them, “I didn’t die.” It made me feelgood. The End