TISSL, the association of the Premier International Schools in Sri Lanka, is a competition that involves all the International School around the island, inclusive of the three core schools of CIS, AIS and British School. I have participated in this meet since I was seven years old, being the excited rookie in the CIS Junior team, starting from the age of five.
I remember being the only swimmer running towards the pool in the darkness, often tripping over broken goggles and lost towels scattered around the stands, energized by the coolness of the morning breeze… the electric shock that stunned me the moment I dove into water, replenishing my adrenaline levels as I began the warm up. For as long as I can remember, swimming has been my everything. I often felt that I connected with this activity more than a sport and definitely more than a mere hobby. Over the years, I felt the familiar feel of water rushing past my body and the fluid movements of breastroke transform into a layer deeply embedded within my skin. This nostalgic feeling rippled across my body as I warmed up for my races during TISSL.
I participated in three races; 50m Breastroke, 50m Fly and 100m Breastroke. In terms of achieving my goals set for the swimming in my previous blog post about not only enhancing my physicality (improving my time by 2 seconds) but also fostering a positive mentality towards all facets of the sport, this Inter – internationals was a success in its entirety as I won a silver medal for my 100m breastroke, despite the fact that I did not lose three seconds off my time as I planned to. However, I felt that by experiencing this meet, I have learnt how to maintain a healthy and positive outlook on both not placing in the top three for 50m breastroke as well as failing to lose time off my personal best. I felt that the primary learning outcomes of this experience was my newly – adopted ability to overcome my challenges through perseverance and commitment. In term of staying true to the ‘action’ element of my pre – season prep post, I understood that by closely following the training sets that catered to my strengths and flaws, I ultimately became the swimmer that I aspired to be.
After the meet, I felt this overwhelming feeling of gratitude not only to my coach and parents who nurtured me along the way, but especially to myself. While sitting amongst the crowd, impatiently waiting for the closing ceremony to begin, my feelings imitated the emotions that I felt when I was the eager rookie, ten years ago, jittering with restlessness, within the sweaty cloud of swimmers, both tired and hungry from the day’s events. Despite not winning anything that year, I remember the feeling of anticipation that filled me, until the winner was announced, and I remember being a part of the chorus, thunderously clapping for the champion. I recall how awe – struck I was, mesmerized with the gold, silver and bronze. At the moment, I made up my mind. To put in everything that I have, to eventually transform into that swimmer. Slowly releasing my grip off my memories and returning to reality, I silently congratulated myself on completing the journey.
A clip of my 100m Breastroke Race: