Endings can be new beginnings


No one ever wants to lose something they love. Yet, my career in Mach 3 Flyers club swimming came to an end by my eighth grade year with the dissembling of the organization and the diagnosis of my head coach with cancer.

I was devastated. Beginning my swimming career with Mach 3 when I turned nine, all I knew was the family I had formed there. No one could believe the organization we had grown to love and call home could come to such an abrupt end.

I then began the process of deciding what I should do — continue to swim with a new club, or find an alternative sport, such as baseball. Looking over my options with my parents and a few close friends, I came to the decision to join Aquajets, a club commonly considered one of the more elite but competitive swim clubs.

Although nervous, I began practice the fall of my eighth grade year. Arriving to see the team sitting in a circle on the pool deck in lawn chairs, I immediately began to wonder if I would fit in or if I would be fast enough to keep up with the others boys. Awkwardly grabbing an open chair and sitting in the empty part of the circle, I sat there wringing my hands and hoping not to look isolated.

Then from the locker room approached Joe Hanson, an old friend from Mach 3, and his friend from high school, Sam Schilling. Both Joe and Sam welcomed me with open arms and ensured that I felt welcome on the team.

Once enough people arrived, the coach, Kate, began to coordinate the “Circle of Love” as she called it. These “Circles of Love” were meant to strengthen the team. Kate then shared that all Aquajets stands for could be explained in a simple four-letter phrase — “Power of the Team”. You achieve as a team, fail as a team, you grow as a team and you succeed as a team, she said.

Throughout those next few weeks, Joe and Sam introduced me to new faces who I quickly began to call some of my closest friends. Kate checked in with me every few days simply to say how happy she was to have me on the team or to tell me what I could improve on with my stroke.

I began to wonder why I felt so nervous and why I had bought into the misconception about Aquajets. I understood then that Aquajets was built on the principles of hard work, camaraderie and humility. I came to realize the ending of Mach 3 wasn’t necessarily the end of my swimming career, but rather a bright beginning in the next chapter with my new family at Aquajets.