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Old November 24, 2000, 11:49 AM
Dien Rice
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Default My competitive swimming and struggle with asthma

I've suffered from life-long asthma.... Partly as a result of this, when I was a kid, my Mom encouraged me to swim, since swimming is supposed to be good for asthma.

So I trained, I even had a coach every week. I even swam competitively.... But more than one time, my asthma held me back.

I was in a competition -- it was the 200 meter freestyle. That's four laps of a 50 meter pool. I could usually do it without a problem.

The whistle blew, and we kids dived into the pool and starting swimming like crazy. I had been a good swimmer -- I found something I did well in! Moving my arms and legs as fast as I could, I sped like a bullet to the end of the pool.

I did a turn around, and started heading back for the second lap. But then, tragedy struck.... I started getting winded. My asthma was kicking in.... I slowed down my arms.... I found it hard to breathe.... I couldn't make it....

I had to swim to the side of the pool and get out. I just couldn't go on, because I could hardly breathe....

As I walked out of the pool, I fought for breath... and I was also deeply embarassed and ashamed.... What would the people think? Someone in a competition to swim four laps, who couldn't even swim just TWO laps of the pool?

I went to my Mom sitting in the stands, and sat next to her, wheezing and fighting for breath. Having difficulty breathing is a horrible experience....

I'd like to tell you that I went on to become an Olympic swimming champion, or something like that. But it didn't happen. I did continue in other competitions, and I generally did quite well.... But competitive swimming was never my love, although I was good at it....

However, even though my competitive swimming did not lead to a career, it led to other things.... Including my love of body-surfing and skin-diving!

I can't describe the thrill I have when I catch a wave, and I can feel the water swirling around me, and see the surface of the water, in front of the wave, rushing towards me....

And the majestic and delicate beauty of the underwater world, especially of the beautiful fluorescent-colored fish and the brilliantly-hued corals of a coral reef....

These truly are my loves! Yet my path to them was through competitive swimming.... Something I didn't enjoy, but did work at!

So.... Put in the effort....

Because you never know where you will reap the rewards!

Dien Rice

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