Today I leave for Germany for a competition. My tapper-and part time coach-Dave is coming with me as Christena is getting her wisdom teeth taken out this afternoon. We'll get in tomorrow morning and racing will start next Friday. The meet is actually in Berlin, but we'll be staying in a different city until next Thursday when they will transport the entire swim team to Berlin. We have a 21 member swim team-fifteen women and six men. There are a lot of new athletes on the team this year, and it's good to see that there are up and coming swimmers. Most of the swimmers that have been around since 2000, which was when I made my first national team, will be retiring after the paralympic Games in Beijing. I have pretty much decided I'm retiring. My passion for the sport is slipping and you can't be an elite athlete when you "sort of" want to be doing it. It takes a lot of dedication and sacrifice and that requires a 100 percent commitment. I know I can put in that effort until September when the Games will be held, but after that, I don't think I want to do it anymore. It's kind of an interesting thought. Swimming is such a huge part of my identity and it has been for so long. I'll miss it, but it will be good to move on to other things. It also seems kind of appropriate to be retiring. I am graduating in June and moving in September to attend massage therapy college so it seems like a new chapter of my life will be starting and one closing. The head coach of team Canada asked me to consider continuing swimming because he thinks that I am only reaching the peak of my athletic career now, and although I agree with him to a certain extent, if my heart and mind arent' in it, then I can't force myself to do it. I used to get so excited about leaving for competitions. I'd pack early and it would be the only thing I could think of. I'm leaving at 1 this afternoon and I haven't even packed yet! (I'll get on that when I am done writing this). All I can think of right now is how many hard workouts and how much pain I'm going to end up being in from all of the training we'll be doing leading up to the competition next weekend. This tells me that my head isn't in the right place. I should be thinking of all of the exciting experiences I'll have in Germany. I should just be excited that I'm going to Germany at all, but instead I'm worried about the racing and how I'll place and whether or not I'll make it through the training camp. No matter how many national records you hold, no matter how many medals you have got in the past, or how fast you are, you have to get faster to stay competitive with the rest of the world and that is a lot of pressure. Either way, I have to pull myself out of this funk and go and represent my country to the best of my ability-my parents always said I was my worst critic and I think they're right.
So wish me luck and I'll tell you all about it when I return in two weeks or so.