I felt like I was flying. Maybe all that actively waiting with stretching kept my muscles awake. But I felt great! Flip. One more lap to go! This was my race! Middle. My legs were flying. Flags…Five more strokes. Four, three, two, one. Wall! ‘Man my lungs are on fire.’ I gasped for air. ‘Did I even breath on that fifty?’ I had no idea what was going on around me; I was just focusing on air.
“George?” Jeremy’s voice entered my head.
‘Jeremy?’ I slowly gained more clarity and looked to my left and there on the wall was a worried Jeremy.
“Dude?! Why do you always push yourself to this point?” Jeremy sighed in relief as I ackowledge his precense.
“Because. That’s what I do,” I whispered with a chuckle as I continued my goal of breathing.
“Excellent George. Did you all see? This is what I mean by going beyond my expectations,” Coach Jones was now walking towards my lane.
I began to look around me and I saw the astonished and annoyed looks from some of the upperclassmen’s faces. I turned away from them and looked over Jeremy’s shoulder to see only bewildered faces on the other freshmen. I glanced at lane five but saw no Kevin. I looked at Jeremy quizically.
“He left. He never climbed up on the blocks,” Jeremy hushly answered me as Coach finally stepped in front of my lane.
“Well done George. I am glad to see that the week of vacation I gave you did not go to waste,” Coach Jones glaced back to his watch. “With a time of, 20.12.”
‘What!?’ I had no energy to react but my brain did. 20…I’ve come close to a twenty once during the two years with Coach Jones. But never in practice. I was stunned.
I could hear all the whispers of amazement around me but I really couldn’t focus. “Coach, can I cool down now?”
“Of course George. Do at least a three hundred. You will have to continue with practice once you are done,” Coach stepped back from the lane, stopwatch still in his hand.
I left the wall. My muscles were on fire.