BRIDGER VALLEY — You just became keenly aware you are standing alone behind a starting block near a swimming pool, really not even sure what town you’re in this week.
Between the high school season, and USA season this has become part of the ritual you’re accustomed to. It has somehow become your life, and even though you might complain from time to time, you wouldn’t trade it for the world. Suddenly you take a look around, and for the first time you notice there are a lot of people screaming as they watch the race immediately preceding yours. You hadn’t really noticed until now, but the thought of it makes that knot in your stomach seem to clench a little bit tighter, or is that just a hunger pang.
At this point it’s hard to tell because it seems like you’re always hungry from the time you get up, until you go to bed. That’s what happens to the human body when you push it to a point of exhaustion only a competitive swimmer can understand. Most people can’t even fathom what it means to swim 6,000 to 10,000 yards a day. The thought of swimming two lengths of the pool for many people is daunting, but 10,000 yards, or 400 lengths of the pool? That almost seems like self-inflicted torture.
When you think about it, you can’t help but ask yourself why in the world would someone would do this to themself. Then you allow your mind to drift back to that moment you finished that race that felt almost perfect.
If anyone has been to the Lyman pool for open public swimming the last few weeks, then they have already known the Valley suddenly seems full of competitive swimmers. The lanes are full of kids, and they are putting in their miles on a path toward their next goals. SWAT (Sweetwater Aquatics Team), the defending winter and summer Wyoming USA State Champions, has come to the Valley with a new branch of the team joining existing branches in Green River and Rock Springs. The SWAT brand has proved to be the elite in Wyoming, and has recognized Bridger Valley as an area that can produce top notch swimmers, due in large to a similar mindset and work ethic shared by the people in the communities. It’s a win, win situation for the program, which gets the benefit of strong swimmers, and for the swimmers who get to be part of the top program in the state.
Several swimmers have already competed in meets in Heber, Utah; and Green River over the last three weeks.