Written By: catgirl101
July 10, 2015
Not long ago, there were three girls all aged nine. Their names were Emmie, Anna, and Christa. They loved swimming. That’s why three years ago they joined a local swim team - Flying Dolphins. The team was not that easy to get in. First, you have to have a 50 meter freestyle time of 1’20” when you’re six. When you are nine, you have to have a time of 40”. Emmie was six when she joined, her freestyle time was 1’14”. Anna’s time was 1’15”, and Christa’s time was 1’16”. Their age group was 5-6, so they were always first in their lane. They met one day at practice when they were placed in one lane. They made friends instantly. Every Saturday was a swim meet. The Flying Dolphins always won. The coaches at Flying Dolphins were nice but strict. But no one was as strict as Coach Hacklein, and unluckily for the girls, she taught their group. All the girls couldn’t wait to move up a level just to be taught by a different coach.
A day’s practice started with a 200 IM and ended with six laps sprint with dives. If the group did everything correctly, they each got one jump off the diving board for the last few minutes of practice as a treat. Sometimes practices were fun, like learning to dive through a hoop, or getting an ice cream after practice, but some days were just hard work like every other Monday where you had to swim 14 laps under 10 minutes and Friday when you had to swim practice all sprint.
Now, three years later things were harder than ever. At seasonal starting party, there was an announcement that Coach Hacklein would be teaching the 9-12 age group this year. When they heard that announcement, there was a loud groan from their table. Coach Hacklein glared at the girls with her piercing glare and the whole table fell silent at once. Then the girls dragged themselves out into the pool to begin their 1.5 hour practice. It turned out that Coach Hacklein could be a LOT more strict with their age group than the last. She shouted through a megaphone when they did something wrong and made them do push ups if they were underwater when she was talking. No one dared to step out of line when she was there. She had eyes like a hawk! Good thing was that the three girls had a sleepover to look forward to after practice because day one was a DISASTER!!! Everyone felt like they were going to drown because they were working so hard! Finally when they got a break, Anna ripped off her cap and her goggles went flying into the bushes on the other side of the fence. They burst into peals of laughter. Miss Hacklein spotted them and she marched over hands on her hips with her mouth in a straight line as she always did when she didn’t approve of what they were doing. That face was never ever, a good sign. She said in a disapproving voice
“What in the world are you laughing about?! Get back in the water!”
Anna answered “My goggles flew out, Miss Hacklein”
She sighed and said “Very well, you may get a new pair out of lost and found, and EVERYBODY ELSE BACK IN THE WATER!!!”
Christa sighed and jumped into the water. There was no escaping Miss Hacklein- even if you were having fun. It just seemed like there was no where you could go without her watching you. She knew every person on the team and how fast they were. That was mysterious about her. After practice, Anna went to return the goggles. Miss Hacklein was talking to Kelly Carlson’s Mom. The girls caught a few words they were saying:
“I am so sorry, but Kelly may not be able to participate in the championship relay” she said with a frown, “She broke her arm while doing a handspring in her room.”
Emmie gasped, broke her arm!? Kelly couldn’t participate in the relay?! Then the coach would have to put the substitute in. An unfortunately that substitute was Kaya. Kaya wasn’t bad but she was a year older than them and never spoke a word to them either. Anna got on the wrong side of her on the first day when she accidently splashed Kaya. The girls thought that Kaya didn’t like them because they were faster than her. So the girls didn't like Kaya very much. Kelly was their friend in second grade, but now she was just an everyday friend. She was a little faster than her friends and she was a year older.
Suddenly Miss Hacklein noticed them and asked in her booming voice:
“What do you want?”
“Just to return the goggles Miss Hacklein” Anna replied sweetly.
At the sleepover, the girls forgot all about swim practice. The next day, indeed Kelly was not at practice. Miss Hacklein pulled them aside and said:
“Kelly will not be here for the Team A relay.”
The girls exchanged looks. Then Emmie asked:
“ Will Kaya be the substitute?”
“ Yes” Miss Hacklein answered.
“ Now I know Kaya is slower than Kelly but we have no choice. I also know that you are not the best friends with her. But we have won the championship relay for nine years, and we can’t stop now!”
“Yes Miss Hacklein” they answered in unison.
“But what if Kaya can’t go either?” Christa asked.
Miss Hackleins eyes narrowed as always as if they dared ask a question.
“Let us make plans later if that happens, and don’t ask questions!”
That was the main rule in swimming. Don’t ask questions. Christa’s Mom was there to pick them up from practice to take them to the sleepover. The girls told her about the situation thinking she would speak with Miss Hacklein and make things reasonable. To their surprise, she just said she couldn’t do anything. That night, they chatted a little bit about swim before they concentrated on s'mores and a scary movie.
The next morning was their first practice with Kaya. She didn’t speak a word to them all through practice. After practice, Miss Hacklein took the girls into her shack. She pulled up a video on YouTube and seeing their puzzled faces she explained
“This is the Sprinting Stingrays relay team from last year. These girls are ten this year, so you will be racing against them.”
She hit play and the race started. Anna watched with a look of awe on her face.
“They are FAST! So- That’s why I’m training you so hard” Miss Hacklein ended for her.
They watched it again, and Miss Hacklein pointed out good things and bad things from the girls in the relay. Christa noticed that the girls looked taller and stronger than her and her teammates. It was a wonder how they beat them before she thought. That night, as she was drifting off to sleep, she murmured “I promise I will work my hardest to beat them.”
The following days turned into weeks and weeks into months until there was one more week until the relay. They still didn’t have what you might say, a fast, strong, successful relay. And if you go down to the pool you would see what it mean. You could hear them yelling at each other
“Well You do that BossyPants!!!”
And sometimes you could hear the coach yelling in with them
“DON’T YELL AT EACH OTHER!!! IT'S MY JOB TO YELL!!!”
Finally, Anna couldn’t take it any more. One day, she said in a hurrying voice,
“Okay. We have one week till the big day. Why don’t we all work together and win the championship!?” Silence Then Emmie spoke up.
“I agree. Why can’t we work together?” More silence. Then Kayaie said
“Finally! If you want to work together I’m okay with it! Can’t you see? That’s what I’ve been saying, but you guys won’t listen!” There was a disapproving “Tut” from Christa but Kaya ignored it. They looked at each other and shrugged.
“Great!” said Emm.
“We are going to do it?”
“Yes” they all replied. Somehow, for the following week, their teamwork helped them succeed. They got better and better, and finally beat the record time of the stingrays! On Friday night, none of the girls could sleep. They were all worried about the next day.
All the girls woke up early that morning, dressed, gulped down their breakfast super fast and rested so they didn’t get any cramps. Then they changed into their team racing suits, which were black red and white, stood waiting patiently at the door at seven thirty. ( Warm Ups start at eight) and yelled for their Moms to hurry up. When they got to the pool, they dove in for their warm up, got out peeked at the other team, and had some fun before their relay. They had a grassy area to themselves and had fun doing gymnastics on it. Then finally, they heard their relay being called. They hurried over and started stretching and warming up. Anna was the first up, Christa was the second, and Kaya and Emmie was the third and the last. After adjusting her cap and goggles, Anna stood on the block ready for the signal. The stingray’s team was taller and tougher. They looked readier than their own. Then the whistle came that meant get ready, a person speaking in the megaphone, “Swimmers, take you mark,” beep! Anna dove into the pool and was neck to neck with the girl next to her. They touched at the same time, and the second person dove in. When Christa touched, the Flying Dolphins were ahead by a foot. The crowd went wild. Kaya dove in and when she touched, it was obvious that they were going to win. Still, Emmie dove in and the girl next to her was gaining! Soon, they were only ahead by two feet. The girls finished string to the end. Emmie touched, looked at the scoreboard, and that they had won by five milliseconds. They had finished in 2:04.92, and the other team in 2:04.87. The team jumped up and down with joy, as they fought their way down to the awards ceremony. There, there were rewarded a huge trophy and they all held it up and smiled as cameras clicked. Then they rose the trophy above their heads and they felt happy. Oh very happy.
I dedicate this story to my swim teammates Anne and Christina.