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…*beep*...I jump. I throw myself forward into the water. My body knows what to do. My legs are already kicking. One...two...three...four dolphin kicks. I break through the water and sprint towards the other side. My feet kicking as hard as they can, as though my life depends on it. My head is tucked down, in between my arms. I am calm. Focused.  I reach the wall, and my feet come together in one hard motion, forcing me into a flip. I push myself off the wall as hard as I can without losing control. My legs are kicking even harder now. I’m pouring all of my energy, all of my motivation, into the final 25 meters. This is the Junior Olympics. Winning will take everything I’ve got.

I'm going fast. Then faster. I’m pulling ahead of all of the competition. This is the final. I take a breath every four strokes. Sometimes every six, or eight. I turn my head to breathe, and I see the flags. My legs are kicking. I’m throwing my arms into the water as fast as I can. Three strokes left. Two strokes. One...

I hit the wall...I won...

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