Thursday, March 1, 2012

New Contributor to the Blog

I am always looking for new and exciting content for this blog and it is with great pride that I introduce new contributing member, Lindsay Seemann.

Lindsay is a 2008 Olympian who is currently a journalism on scholarship in Arizona. Lindsay has fought her way back from several illnesses and set backs and will swim at Olympic Trials in March. It is a great honor to have her contributing to this blog.

Here, she writes about her career from her perspective. Please join me in welcoming Lindsay.

I Swim for Me by Lindsay Seemann

The beauty and the curse of swimming is that no one can help you once the race starts. No one can fight your battles for you. In the water, you are all alone. This keeps your accomplishments close, and your failures closer. It always seems that we remember the bad races more than we remember the good ones.

Throughout my swimming career, I have seen the top of the podium and my name at the bottom of the results list. To quote one of my favorite movies, Friday Night Lights, “There isn't much difference between winning and losing, besides how the outside world treats you.”

It took me a long time to realize that the outside world isn't as a bad as our minds make it out to be. Swimming isn't a spectator sport, therefore very few people actually care about how well you perform. Your family, friends, coaches, and team mates only care because they want you to be happy. They witness determination and fear to see hard work go unanswered by your goals.

The past four years has been a roller coaster. I have had to fight a lot of battles and in swimming the only battles you fight are against yourself. There is no one tackling you at the one yard line, or cross checking you into the boards. The only opposition that can effect how fast you swim, is your own mind. In your lane there is nothing but water and a black line on the bottom.

There have been times I feel like this sport is rejecting me like a bad heart transplant. Coming back to swimming after having mononucleosis has been the hardest thing I have ever had to do in this sport. Constant hard work, with no pay off. I have been forced to celebrate small victory after small victory as I take steps towards achieving the level I used to be. I have to celebrate my progress instead of best times.

Results don't always add up. You may train hard, eat right, and still fail. Sometimes your best effort does not attain your goals. There is no answer for it. Its just a part of sport. I have been learning to happy with a race as long as I tried my best and know I did everything I could. How can I ask for more than my best effort? After all, the only expectations I want to live up to are my own.

“You have done it once, you can do it again,” is a haunting phrase I hear from the outside world. Just because you have done something before, doesn't make it an easier task, if anything it makes it harder.

Between the failures and small victories I have asked myself many times why I do this. Why do I swim? Through the pressure and stress, why do I swim? Because I am chasing a dream.

Making an Olympic team isn't easy, that shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. If it were, the Olympic Games would not be anything special.

Before I made the 2008 Olympic team, I was just a girl with a dream. I dreamed big and without fear. As we approach 2012 Trials, I am an Olympian striving to repeat my past. I would do anything to go to just one more. The path I have taken the last four years has not been ideal, but I am only 19. Whether my next Olympics is 2012, 2016, or 2020, I would love to compete at that level again. Its not about attaching an Olympian title to my name, or earning the right to have a five-ringed tattoo. I already have those things. Its about chasing after a dream. Its about what makes me happy. I swim for me.

~Lindsay Seemann for Coach Mike's Blog