Mom2Mom, October '13:
She was wet.
She was wearing a latex cap and goggles.
She was marked up in black sharpie.
When her event was called, she climbed on the starting block and waited for the tone.
“Take your mark!”
Off the block and into the water she dove. She was swimming with such focus and determination that a crowd of parents started cheering her on: “Go Maddy! Come on, Maddy!”
Adults and fellow swim team members were lined along the sides of the pool clapping and calling her name as my 8-year old touched the end of the pool and pulled herself out.
She was the only one who touched the wall; she had been the only swimmer in that event.
I had watched in awe as my little girl took her mark on that diving block, so unaware she was that she was going to swim the length of that Olympic sized pool all by herself. In her mind, she was just doing her part for the team. That she was swimming solo never even dawned on her.
Fast forward 11 years and she's a lovely college student at the beach with a couple of friends.
The surf was wicked; the tide pulling the girls swiftly down the shore. Suddenly she hears screaming and looks around: a mother is flailing her arms, calling for help, as her little boy is carried out in the ocean.
“He can't swim,” she was screaming, “He can't swim! Save my baby, please!!”
Without hesitation Maddy swam out to the child and grabbed him. She reassured him that she would get him to his mommy. He grabbed her neck, crying and clinging to her as she swam back to shallow water.
Maddy called me from the beach a little later and told me what had happened. As she described the events leading up to the rescue I kept seeing that little girl, all alone, on the block at the far end of the pool.
Swimming for her team.
Who knows how the lessons from that night, so many years ago, helped shape the young woman who is still swimming fearlessly…. for others.
For Augusta Family Magazine, click here. Artwork by Michael Rushbrook.