I'm in six feet of water. A navy blue bathing suit clings to my every curve, the athletic back revealing muscles I didn't know I had. The water is blue and smells of a strong chlorine. The dark black lines on the bottom of the pool keep things in order, but I find them of no help.
In the beginning I'm just treading water, and am slow to warm up. The other swimmers are near, but become muddled, and my goggles fill up with fog and a bit of water. Nothing feels right. My body isn't coordinated, as my limbs flail about. My timing is off. Right arm stroke, left arm stroke, my head rises above the water to catch my breath. It takes time, but slowly I become more synchronized. Another deep breaths allow me to swim under the water longer. My strokes become fluid. My focus, straight ahead of me, I am unaware of distractions. I lift my head from the water and take another deep breathe, filling my lungs with oxygen before going back under. My arm lifts out of the water, arching over my head, and smoothly penetrate the surface. When I reach the end of the lane, I lift my head out of the water. No one is there. I have been swimming against myself. But in the end, that's really all it is. Perfecting myself, creating my personal best.
My arms lift me up out of the pool. I am thankful for the work they have done. My body, now tired, but refreshed by the swim. I sit at the side of the pool. Five fingers wrinkly from the moisture. I stare out ahead and this time replay in my mind what I did, the motions, the movements, the focus. I close my eyes to capture what it felt like. Next time when I dive back into the water and take my first deep breath, I will take myself to this place. Remembering the muscles exist. In the distance I hear the sounds of people cheering. I turn, and smile. They are waving at me. The moisture has evaporated off my skin now. I stand up, and see the pool is gone.