Hall of Fame, Swimming – Thunderstruck

First, you should know something about me. I hate storms. Tornadoes are one of my biggest fears, and my family will share all sorts of hilaaarious stories of how I freak out at the mere possibility.

Flash forward (backward, sideways?) to a mid-summer training trip for my high school swim team. We’re in the middle of a meet at the Swimming Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale…and a storm is brewing.

The pool’s outside. And guess who’s standing on the starting blocks?

Yours truly.

But don’t worry. I’m holding it together pretty well because the storm is still a ways off. I’m swimming the fifty breaststroke leg of a relay, so as long as I get in and get out, I figure I’ll be done and dried off long before the storm hits.

Except we make the finals. 

Which means we get to swim again. By now, the storm is practically on top of us and we’re expecting that any minute now the officials are going to call the meet.

This time, I am not nearly as calm when I step up to the blocks. It’s hard to tell what’s sparking more—the lightning above us or my nervous energy. I want this race over. NOW.

I don’t know if you’ve heard…but water’s not the greatest place to be in an electric storm!
When it’s time for my relay leg, I’m rapidly approaching panic and I dive in.

I dropped two seconds. TWO SECONDS! On the same race I’d swum only 15 minutes before.
(For the non-swimmers, dropping two seconds in a fifty is huge. Most people are excited to improve by increments of tenths of a second, especially in your best stroke where you’ve already shaved off pretty much all the time you can.)

I guess you could say I was highly motivated!


  1. I'm with you on tornadoes...a big fear of mine, as well.

    Fear can also be a huge motivator, too :)

    Left and Write

  2. I'm a non swimmer but if it bothered you it must have been a big deal.

  3. Well that's one way to improve your pace! Sounds like adrenaline had a big part to play.

  4. Hi- just popping in from the A-Z. I can only imagine you channeled your fear into making you move a bit faster. Even though it's scary maybe you should compete in storms, more often! :)

  5. Now if the coaches could only figure out how to drive that panic into every swimmer during every race! :P

  6. WOW! Adrenaline is an amazing thing, eh? ;-)

  7. You were literally swimming for your life!!
    Did you guys win?

  8. What an electrifying story! 2 seconds is impressive - some serious motivation there!