Everything was quiet as I stood poised on the starting block. I heard the announcer call “take your mark”, and my mind cleared of everything except the water beneath me. I took a deep breath and waited for the loud “beep” that would signal my launch off of the block. It was my favorite event: the 200 yard butterfly. The “beep” that I was so anxiously awaiting finally sounded and I pooled all of my muscle power into my legs to spring off of the block and get a lead on my opponents from the start. The water felt cool around me as usual, but as I took my first few strokes I knew something was wrong. I had tendonitis in my left shoulder since I was probably fifteen, but I had never felt it quite like this before. I was a junior in high school, and I was getting closer and closer to reaching the national cut in the 200 yard butterfly. As I kept powering through the swim, I heard cracking and popping in my left shoulder more than usual. I finished the race, but I realized it was probably time to see a doctor again.
We made an appointment, and the next day I was having a snowball fight with my friends. I heard another loud “pop”, and my arm dropped to my side. I was unable to lift my arm because my shoulder had finally given out on me after eight years of swimming. I went to see the doctor a few days after that incident, and my shoulder still had not improved. The doctor ran a series of tests on my shoulder, and concluded that I had tendonitis compounded with a rotator cuff that was close to tearing. The doctor said I should quit swimming, and I almost starting crying right there in the examining room. I knew I should have listened, but I decided that I would just take ice and aspirin and push through it.
I not only finished my junior year of swimming, but I concluded my senior year by making it to nationals in Florida. Although I have since stopped swimming, it is a sport that I will forever hold dear in my heart. I still have to be careful with my shoulder because it is still very sensitive, but I am happy that I was able to push through it, even though the doctor seemed to have other ideas about what was best for me.