I have always loved to swim.I love to compete but I really enjoy the preparation and training that leads up to a competition even more than the competition. Most swimmers have goals, and I did too. Mine were to break a world record and make an Olympic team. I never achieved either but got fairly close a couple of times.
I learned early that hard work pays off. Also learned that if you fall short of achieving a goal today, you always another shot at it. In 1979 I found out that was not really true, you don't always get another chance. At that time I was training for my third Olympic Trials. Unlike today, virtually no one swam past college. I was 26 years old, still chasing the Olympic dream. My left knee had plagued me for 5+ years with mild, chronic pain that was noted regularly in my log book. The pain never got worse but never completely went away. A day in October 1979 I had swum at the U of Washington swim practice, finished some dry land and ran some stadium stairs before seeing the doctor about my knee pain.
Had an exam and x-ray of the knee. Instantaneously, my world changed. The x-ray clearly showed a bone tumor on my left femur just above the knee. The dream was over, the goal taken off the list. Now the goal was to somehow beat this disease. It was scary, kind of like standing behind the blocks before a 200 fly, not sure how it will all turn out.
I was very fortunate. I had 2 recurrences of the tumor, which thankfully did not metastasize. In 1983 doctors removed the diseased portion of my femur and replaced it with a piece from a cadaver - that did the trick. Nearly 7 years on crutches and the 13 surgeries and multiple set backs were difficult. Throughout my recovery I was able to swim.
Now at 57 years old, having no illusions of invincibility and a healthy respect of my own mortality. I still set goals. More importantly, I enjoy each and every opportunity I have to enter the water be it a pool, lake, sound, river, ocean or whatever body of water.
Today I am grateful to be alive and to be able to swim. I treasure the camaraderie of swimming friends and enjoy the simple sensation of moving through the water on to the next goal or challenge life may have in store for me.
I have always loved to swim and still do! It's great to be