The Hoban Visor

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The Hoban Visor

The Hoban Visor

Saying Goodbye to Swim After Ten Long Years


When I set out to write this article, I envisioned sharing a success story like no other. A swimmer who was not fast enough to letter freshman year was now on the way to Canton for the state meet. Little did I know that was not what the world had planned. Never in a million years did I imagine my 10-year swim journey would end like this. I was sick at my final district meet, scratching out of the race I claimed as my own freshman year and adding time to my split in our relay, one that we all thought had a shot at states. But then again, little freshman year Leah never imagined she would even qualify for districts, let alone dream of a chance at the state meet. So, while it may have been one of the most disappointing endings to all the hours I put in these past seasons, it does not diminish all my accomplishments along the way.

From the beginning of freshman year, it seemed I was just like any other old swimmer. I swam with the low practice group three times a week at YMCAs because COVID limited our pool space. Luckily, the coaches saw something in me that even I could not recognize.

I burst onto the scene sophomore year, making significant improvements and finding my place on the team as a distance swimmer, even after I proclaimed I would never swim the 500 again to my coach freshman year. Racing the 200 free, 500 free, and two freestyle relays all in the same meet became known as ‘the Leah special’ on our team.

Junior year, I stepped up and was named team captain. Our 200 freestyle relay claimed 6th place at the district meet and just missed qualifying for states. We all said next year we would make it.

I started this year invigorated and determined to accomplish my loftiest goals. However, that was not exactly how everything went. A back problem plagued me the whole season, and various other injuries slowly took down almost every swimmer on the girls team. By the time sectionals rolled around, I managed to pull off multiple career-best times and swam faster than I ever dreamed I could. Districts did not go as planned.

Even still, with all the waves along the journey, the goodbye was bittersweet because of the people. Swimming has given me a second family that I can lean on and brought me closer to my best friends. The gap in my heart left by leaving a sport I have been a part of for the last ten years will undoubtedly be filled with all the good memories: the hugs after outstanding and disappointing swims alike, the laughs in practice when the sets got difficult, and all the bus rides home from day-long meets.

I will forever be thankful for my time in the pool and the chronically dry skin it gave me. Without it, I would not be who I am today. It taught me how to find more joy in others’ accomplishments than my own and how to be a leader but also a friend. I may not have been good enough to leave any records behind, but that does not mean my swim career was unsuccessful. It was far better than I could have ever imagined because I got to make so many memories with all of my favorite people doing my favorite sport.


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