Friday, 8 March 2013

High School Swimming Carnival

This week I had my very last High School Swimming Carnival. It's an event that no one really takes seriously. We all dress up in costumes and race each other in a series of swimming races to determine who is the best house. Next week we'll have the Athletics Carnival. As the name suggests, it's more or less the same thing, except on land.

My house, the yellow house, named Bleazby; has won both of those events every single year that I've been in high school. We are the best house by a long shot, and I'm not just saying that. See, kids get put in the same house as their siblings when they start high school, so if you get a really super sporty kid, you'll get their younger siblings as well, and chances are, you'll get three or four really sporty kids in a row.

I think what happened was that Bleazby just had a really good run a few years in a row, and started winning back to back years. I think the other houses started to lose heart and began to stop trying as hard. And now, Bleazby has such a reputation for being the only house to win in something like twelve years, that we feel compelled to keep that reputation up, and try really hard to win.

In year nine, I started dressing up in a costume. Most kids don't dive straight into the costumes in year seven, not until they're a little comfortable with the school. I was going to dress up as a superhero. I had a mask, a cape, yellow pants, and briefs over the pants, a black skivvy with yellow dish washing gloves, and a florescent yellow singlet on top. And a yellow and black bicycle helmet.

To this day I don't know why I added the helmet, but it became one of the most important pieces of my costume. My costume evolved over the next four years, as I wore it to different events, even outside of school. But the overall look was consistent, and someone decided to call me Captain Bleazby.

Now, anyone can dress up in a costume, most people do. But not many people swim in their costumes, not the ones with capes, pants, and a bicycle helmet anyway. But that's what made me stand out, besides the fact that I looked ridiculous, I would swim the races in my costume, and I would swim in every event in my age division.

See, you get pretty good points for coming in the top three, but anyone that doesn't place, but still participates, will get points too. So even for walking the race, and taking ten times longer than anyone, you would still get points... so that's what I did.

I would stand at one end of the pool in my cape, pants, and helmet, next to a bunch of guys in their speedos, and when the gun was fired, they would all dive in and swim like their life depended on it. I would casually jump in, try and arrange my cape so that it wouldn't drown me, (and believe me, that's a real hazard) and then I would walk to the other end if I could touch the bottom, and pull myself along the lane rope if I couldn't.

What's interesting is that a lot of people dress up and go, perhaps because it's meant to be compulsory, but very few people actually compete. In fact, last year; I was the only competitor in the under 17s Butterfly. So even though I walked across the pool in my cape, pants and helmet, I still came first in that race, and got a heap of points for it too.

In fact, I was technically through to the zone level, and was to represent my school in the under 17s Butterfly against people from schools from all around the area. But since I can't actually do Butterfly, I decided not to go to that.

But the point is, that a lot of people don't swim because they don't think they're good enough, or fast enough. I'm certainly not. But I went in every event, and came home with more ribbons than most people, simply because I would place in the top three by default.

Last year I even entered the medley relay in an age division higher than my own, because no one else was competing in it. No one from my age division wanted to join my relay team, so I got three year 7s, tiny little twelve year olds, and me, the under 17, in my cape, pants, and helmet, and we won the under 21 medley relay because no one else could be bothered.

The moral of the story is that if I can win ribbons in my cape, pants and helmet, then anyone can.

We did win this year, just for the record. We had 250 points, and the runner-ups had 160, third and fourth were on 90 and 70. So we didn't just win the swimming carnival, we destroyed it. Not because we had the fastest swimmers, but because we had the most people trying.

Having one person win a ribbon doesn't mean anything if you don't have ten people by your side not winning ribbons.

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