I felt like I was flying. Maybe all that waiting while actively stretching kept my muscles awake. But I felt great! Flip. One more lap to go! This was my race; no one else was in the pool. 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 gasping for 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 out as I continued my goal of breathing.
“Excellent George. Did you all see? This is what I meant by going beyond my expectations,” Coach Jones was walking towards my lane.
I began to look around me and I saw the astonished and annoyed looks on 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 looked in lane five but saw no Kevin. I looked at Jeremy quizzically.
“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 glanced back to his watch. “With a time of… 20.12.”
‘What!?’ I had no energy to react, but my brain did. 20…I’ve only 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.