Working for Respect in the Water
by Alastair Pearson ’14
These past few months, I have been privileged to compete with our school’s elite Swimming and Diving program. Known around campus as variously the Catfish, the Wild Minnows and the Aqua-Kittens, we are neither respected, envied, or screamingly adored. However, we are both dedicated and successful, much of which is due to the competency and excellent shaving technique of our coaching staff. In this last year, our team’s collective work ethic, shimmering dome-heads, and total lack of acerbic wit have served us well in our quest to become both better swimmers and Men for Others.
That work ethic was to be called upon from the first week of practice onwards. Beginning immediately, I became aware of a paradigm shift in workout intensity. Technique drills were now a matter of consequence, and early and constant attendance at every practice was expected. The most substantial change to my schedule, however, came in the form of morning weightlifting. Having spent the previous summer in a reclined position, commencing my day at the bright and early hour of 5:00 A.M. was not conducive to maintaining a desirable sleep itinerary. To be specific, my faithful and heinous alarm clock stopped functioning from an excess of wall contact fairly early on. However, I learned to make do. Weightlifting was a challenge for someone of my slim physique, but I grew more capable as the season wore on. As the year concluded, I had almost come to welcome the extra time I was granted to catch up on homework after workouts ended.
Two months into the season, we were all generally in reasonable shape. Practices had been fairly challenging, but not unduly so. However, Christmas Break had yet to come. For most in the Ignatius community, Christmas is a time of good tidings and cheer. Presents are shared, weight is gained and fun is had by all. However, a radical transition occurs when one slides into an Ignatian Speedo. Much of my two-week respite from school went by in a blur “