In the past few months that I have created this devotion to swimming I have gained a sense of self-confidence that has been hiding for some time. I am now able to recognize things within myself that I would once push aside and downplay in order to keep a modest and monotone existence of safety and comfort.
So where do I go from here?
I know that it will continue to be a long haul travelling through this experience, but I know as well that the rewards are endless. The next meet that I will prepare for is the Can/Am Para Swim Meet in Minneapolis in April. This meet is quite similar to the meet I just competed in, although the stakes have been raised quite a bit. From what I have been told, this spring meet is actually considered to be a qualifying meet for two additional, more elite events: the Pan/Am Para Swim Meet and the Pan/Pacific Para Swim Meet occurring later next fall.
Both of these meet invitations are based solely upon world rankings and statuses. I will have to really step it up several large notches to even have hopes of getting to either one of these competitions.
Today I met with the Paralympic Resident Team Coach down in Colorado Springs. He told me that I am at a good spot in the sense that there really isn't much competition in my classification in the States right now; however, the Paralympic team is based upon current world rankings, which is something that I will have to really consider as a challenge as of yet. I will have to shave off a lot of time and improve upon my technique immensely to even entertain the thoughts of ranking among the current athletes in my classification worldwide.
With that all said, I am excited. I am not scared, I am not deterred, I am not wavering, and I am not leaving without a fight.
I will continue to work on my conditioning and training both in and out of the pool. I will increase my weightlifting and stretching. I will send videos of my strokes to the Paralympic Resident coach to critique my progress. I will get enough sleep. I will fuel my body with the best possible foods and nutrients. I will foster my self-confidence in every facet that I can.
It's going to be a lot of work, but I believe in this more than anyone would even understand.