Monday, August 12, 2019

Striving for the Extra Second

         "If you fail at first, try doing it the way your coach told you to do it the first time.” I wish I would have understood this my first few years of high school. You see, I was a swimmer all four years of high school and for the first few years I was very frustrated at my coach. She made me swim the 500 yard freestyle, which I hated with a passion. I began slacking in practice because I didn’t agree with coach and her methods. Every meet I would walk in hoping to see my name under a different event, but it was always the same. At one point I told coach I was thinking about quitting the team. She simply looked up, pointed at the door and said, “I don’t want anyone here that doesn’t want to be here, so if you don’t want to be here there’s the door.” She had called my bluff and I realized she wasn’t going to move me to a different event.
I then asked her why she had me in those events even though I wasn’t very good at them. She told me simply “To make you a better swimmer.” I thought about this a lot and it was over Christmas break that I realized I wasn’t going to be in another event so I might as well get good at this one. So, I practiced with a newfound strength and started improving my time. I no longer slacked off and tried to keep the arguments with coach to a minimum. After I did well in the first meet back from the break my coach did something surprising. She took me out of the 500, I was shocked and decided that I was going to have a chat with coach. she couldn’t just take me out of an event I had been working so hard to prepare for, could she? Her reasoning only made me more frustrated, it was to make me a better swimmer. She continued to move me to different events every time I was decent in one, to the point that I gave up trying to figure out her madness. When my senior year rolled around, I received the title of team captain and decided I was going to try my best to make it to the state level. I would come in for voluntary practice every chance I got, along with the normal practices. Coach decided halfway through the season to let me try a stroke that I had never competed in before, breaststroke, and I started off rough but quickly started dropping time. Coach then decided to put me in one of the only events I had never swam before, the 200 IM which is a combination of all four strokes. I realized that I was really good at it for not having swam it in a meet before. This was due to my coach making me practice every stroke until I was decent at them. I also had the endurance to swim the very tiring event because I had experience in the 500. During sectionals our relay team missed going to state by .7 seconds and all I could think about was, what if I would have put faith in my coach back in 9
th and 10th grade? What if I wouldn’t have slacked off? Would my team be going to state? When it comes to giving effort, always give your best as soon as possible. The sooner you start working hard, the sooner you will see results. Go out and get the results you will want in the near future, because they won’t show up today. Getting faster, Eion Stephens


  1. Oh my awesome grandson we are so very blessed with you in our life, your strength and determination is amazing we love you Eion Stephens

  2. It’s not the easy road that makes us who we are; it’s the struggles. I admire you determination in everything you do. Coach