Providence College Swimming: Ode to the Sprinter

Glenn CardSenior Analyst IFebruary 22, 2010

Allow me to preface this article with the fact that I have never, ever personally swam competitively. My experience is only as a bystander and as a swim dad.

I just got back from the Big East Swimming and Diving Championships in Pittsburgh. The Providence College swim team was one of the smallest teams to attend, but what they lacked in size, they made up for in heart.

I view the following through the eyes of my son, but I cannot truly know what goes through his mind when he swims.


What am I swimming?

Oh yeah, the 50 free.

What heat am I in?

Oh yeah, Heat Three.

Where are Mom and Dad?

There they are; can’t miss Dad.

Can they even see me from way up there?

Yeah, they see me.

There goes Dad with the hand signals.

I know, Dad, I know: Attack the wall, pound the wall, kick and glide. How many times have I heard that?

What heat is it?

OK, one more heat to go.

Where are my goggles?

Oh yeah, on my head. Put them on. Put them on. Check the fit.

Who am I swimming against?

It doesn’t matter; I’m swimming the clock.

I want that team record. I want the team record.

Check the goggle fit.

Oh, I love the feel of stubble on my head. Feels good.

Check the goggle fit.


What heat is it?

I’m up; Time to go.

Must…swim…fast. Must…swim…fast.


Check the goggle fit.

There’s the whistle; up onto the block.

Grab start pose. Hang the toes over the edge.

That’s right; I’ll get a good grip off this block.

Nobody does a grab start anymore.

Pffft to the sprinter's stance. They’ll know me by my start.

There’s the mark.

Grab the block.

Don’t wobble. Don’t wobble.


The start: Bleep…and I’m outta here.

Good start! I know I beat everybody in.

Kick hard now: kick, kick, kick.


No breaths: Can’t take a breath.

Here we go: Stroke, stroke, stroke, kick, kick, kick.

How many turns do I have to do?

Oh yeah, just one.

Is that somebody on my right?

Oh yeah. Damn, he’s keeping pace.

Catch me now; Stroke, stroke, stroke, kick, kick, kick.

See ya!


How many strokes was that?

I need some air.

No breaths: Can’t take a breath.

Where’s the wall?

Here it comes.

No breaths; can’t take a breath.

Attack the wall; Attack the wall.

Here we go: flip.

Pound the wall; Pound the wall.

Damn, that guy is still with me.

Kick hard now, kick, kick, kick.



Catch me now: Stroke, stroke, stroke, kick, kick, kick.

Not today, Buddy, I’m feeling fast.

I need some air.

Is he still there?



No breaths: Can’t take a breath.

OK, OK, just one quick one.

Sweet Jesus, air; Stroke, stroke, stroke, kick, kick, kick.


Where’s the wall?


Come on legs, don’t fail me now: kick, kick, kick.


Here comes the wall. I can get one more stroke in.

Stretch, touching now.

Did I get beat?


Where’s the clock?

Yessss! First!

That’s what I want.

What’s the time?

Damn, no record.

Where’s Mom? Where’s Dad?

There they are.

Why’s he smiling?

Oh yeah, I won the heat.

I want that team record.

I want the team record.

I wonder if the coach will let me time-trial it?