Fulfilling a sense of achievement

Alec Pittman

Times mean a lot in swimming. I used to base my achievements based solely on them, and by comparing my times with some of the most talented swimmers in the country.

In early December, when I began my senior year of high school swimming, I approached the season with the same mindset that my times defined my level of success. I had only one thing I could base the success or failure of my season on — competing at State Finals (reaching the top 16 swimmers in my events).

Driven to reach State — the most prestigious meet at the high school level -— I swam each meet as though I needed to prove something. I worked hard each day with my teammates in the pool and in the weight room. Training before and after school, as well as on weekends, I spent more time with my teammates than anyone other friends.

Through this extended time with my teammates, I began to realize my happiest moments throughout the season weren’t based off my times, but rather on the effect my swim had on the team.

Understanding then that I had a much deeper impact on my teammates other than my actual physical swimming ability, I began to enjoy each day and each swim meet more and more.

I see my most significant accomplishment as much more personal than physical.

— Alec Pittman

Swimming throughout the end of the dual meet season, Sections and eventually State with this newfound mindset, I actually swam some of my best times and set multiple career bests. But still, when I look back on the incredible successes of my teammates and team as a whole, I find a deeper and more contentful happiness than on the accomplishments of myself alone.

While I may have achieved my goal to reach State Finals, I see my most significant accomplishment as much more personal than physical.

I view my most significant accomplishments based on the performance of the team collectively, identifying each member and all they did to contribute to the team both in the water and out.

Skipping squat jumps during warmup, cheering on Tommy Guddal at the end of practice as he swam a 25 underwater and bestowing Hayden Zheng with the nickname “frosted tips” — these are the moments and stories that will stick with me forever, not the times I raced.