My hand touches the wall for what feels like the 100th time. This time I got it right.
Then I hear a voice behind me, telling me what I’ve done wrong, well more specifically, what I could have done better.
I’m disappointed, but only for a second or two, because this is why I’m here.
Doing something once is easy, repeating it is the hard part, I remind myself. It’s a piece of advice I was given when I was relearning to walk but it applies here too.
To the untrained eye a swim practice looks like chaos, (and/or completely boring) even though everyone is following a line that runs the length of the pool countless times. It’s for this reason that people think swimming, or more specifically swimmers are insane.
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”
Here’s the thing, the majority of that definition doesn’t apply to swimmers, except maybe the insane part, but that’s not an all the time thing.
People think we’re doing the same thing, over and over expecting the same result.
In reality we’re making (probably small, seemingly unnoticeable) changes to achieve different results.
Then we have to repeat the process.
The hardest part, the repeat.
I’ve done this before, but never swimming, at least not in this way.
Is it frustrating? Yes.
Is it what I want to do? No.
I wish I had a brain that could compute things once and have my body follow, but I don’t have that kind of brain. Not only is it not part of my package, it’s not part of anyone’s package. But that’s not much comfort when your lungs are screaming for air, your muscles are burning, and you still managed to come up short in some way.
I’ve been here before. These feelings are not new. Oddly enough there is some comfort in this, as weird as it seems.
I’m not learning how to deal with new feelings in new situations. That’s a big plus, that my mental energy is pulled in one less direction.
It wasn’t that long ago that I was wondering if I’d ever feel “normal” like I was truly part of a group of people. So, in a way I’m happy to be frustrated because someone noticed that I could be better and wanted to help.
Learning to repeat isn’t easy and it’s not always fun, but when you finally achieve it it’s almost always worth it.