This past weekend, the Rutland Swim Team won the Division 3 state swimming championships, and it was as exciting as a swim meet gets. Swimming is a sport with awards in individual events, as well as a team sport with cumulative scores. After 136 events and two days of competition, we were one point behind before the final relay. When all was said and done, we won by 16 points.
Most teams win big meets like this with an abundance of swimmers that are really fast and win their events without a problem. All weekend, we only had four first-place finishes, which contributed 78 points out of the almost 400 points we accumulated for the win.
The incredible part to me is we won because of the swimmers that were not “stars” in the traditional sense of the word. They put themselves out there and competed knowing they would not win, but they swam like they were going for the gold every time they jumped off the blocks. I watched one of our relays, behind the other teams by two lengths of the pool, with their teammates cheering like they were in first. I had a swimmer who hates backstroke swim the 100 and the 50 backstroke because there was no one else to do it. Then there was an 11-year-old who swam a 500 free which is 20 lengths of the pool and another 11-year-old who swam a 100 yard fly, four lengths of the pool. They all scored points for the team. To me they were all stars.
We rarely talk about or applaud athletes that don’t stand out in their sport, and we should. I watched the Rutland Swim Team, against all odds, win a state championship because of athletes that did not “stand out.” These athletes were responsible for our win, and even though they might not have won a medal, their parents should be extremely proud of them. I know I am.
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