Adjusting to Grade Nine was different. Sometimes it felt like I was in a mad dash to get from one class to another. I had one class that was way out in the portables, and then my next class was in the basement at the opposite end of the school. I only had 10min to my new class in between each class. So it was a sprint at times! And other times it felt like we were cattle being herded to the pens, as we all were moving slowly up the stairs in rows. I was getting great at saying my name to teachers at each class, as a few thought I was French.
A couple of weeks went by into Sept and then I saw it. The poster I was waiting to see. It was plastered to one of the white brick walls inside the school near the gym teacher’s office. On bright blue paper with black letters read: “Swim Team Try-Outs”. My feet stopped dead in their tracks. Yes! I thought to myself! At last! I wrote the details down in my agenda smiling. There was also a place to put my name on the there as well.
“Mum! The swim team poster went up at school today! I am so excited to try out!” I phoned my Mum at work when I got home from school that afternoon. I was happy to share the excitement with her.
The day of the try-outs I packed a second bag for school it had my swim suit and a couple of towels in it. Got to my locker and stuffed the swim bag into my locker. I sat with anticipation at each class dragged on. Feet twitching in my seat, and having issues concentrating on what the teacher was saying.
“Bbbbrrriiinnngggg” The bell for end of day finally went. I raced to my locker and got my swim bag. Then turned on my heels and bolted to the pool. I knew this hallway well. I had grown up at this pool, taking lessons since I was 5 yrs old.
“Hi Kelly! Fun to see you!” I saw a couple of the girls from my grade, Kelly and I went to elementary school together and I knew she was on the town’s synchronized swimming team. I turned and saw a girl with bright red hair, I smiled at her. “Hi I’m Deb.” She said to me. Everyone was changed and we shuffled onto the pool deck.
No more time for small talk! We were on the deck at the pool the cold white tile was wet with puddles, and the brown wall at the shallow end had the swim time clock turning. Four different coloured hands turned around the clock face that looked like a giant stop watch.
Two female teachers were sitting on the floor on flutter boards. The blond one yelled “Alright! Everyone come over and tell us your names, and what grade you’re in!” We organized ourselves and one by one stepped up to the coaches. Us new kids could tell some of the swimmers knew the coaches already. “Nice to see you again Jess!” The coach with short brown hair said.
Finally it was my turn. “Hutton, Aime, I’m in grade 9.” Both coaches smiled and also giggled. “Sorry, what’s your first name?” The blonde coach said. “Oh, sorry, it’s Aime.”
We then got into the pool and were in different lanes swimming different strokes and had to do them a few times over. I sort of knew how to do butterfly, that was the only one I struggled with. I was good at back stroke, front crawl (now I knew it was called freestyle), and breast stroke. I was tired when done.
“Thank you everyone. We can only take 40 of you, so some will make it, and some will not. We thank everyone for coming out. We’ll post the team roster in a few days.” The blonde hair coach said to us at the end.
“How do you think you did?” Deb asked me as we were waiting for parents to pick us up.
“I think pretty good. Only time will tell. I hope I get on though. I grew up at this pool with going to lessons.” I smiled at Deb.
“I hope I get on too. I love doing breast stroke.” Deb replied. “What stroke do you like?”
“Back stroke, I think.” I laughed. “Anything but butterfly!”
Those few days were agonizing in waiting. I needed to practice patience!