The End of an Era

There has been a lot of life changing events over the last 13 years. There have been monumental elections in multiple nations and the deaths of leaders of major terror groups. Not only have things changed around the world, they have changed in my life as well.

At eight years old I joined Irish Aquatics (IA) not knowing the impact it would have on my life. When I first joined IA I hated it. The girls were “mean” and I didn’t fit in (they probably weren’t mean but 8 year old Katie thought they were). Throughout the years I struggled with trying to fit in with the South Bend girls, seeing them only a few times every few weeks was rough.

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I struggled with feeling like they didn’t like me and that I wasn’t fast enough. I struggled with connecting with the coaches from South Bend and I felt awkward and uncomfortable every single time I went to Notre Dame to practice. The start of my career with Irish Aquatics was a rough one and the journey throughout the thirteen years proved to be the same.

I have had many life changing things happen while swimming for IA. I have gone through more coaches than I can count on two hands. Some I liked, some I was terrified of and happy that those coaches decided to move on and coach other teams. I have gone through multiple broken bones. Each of which proved to bring on different challenges, both mentally and physically.

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I have gone through more heart breaks than I care to remember. From friends to “boyfriends” I am sure that each of these heart breaks brought along mental breakdowns, tears, and life talks from coaches and teammates.For a few years in a row, each time I would show up at the state meet I would have a mental breakdown. Each season these mental breakdowns were accompanied by lots of tears and lots of sit down talks from my coaches trying to get me to calm down.

I have gone through being kicked off of relay teams and replacing others on relay teams. Each of which have brought out a lot of emotions. I’ve had too many weird illnesses to count. I’ve had weird skin rashes, bouts of pink eye, weird stomach issues, a really bad sinus infection, and cancer.

allie jake and I

Although, the journey with IA was a rough one, it proved to be the best time of my life. I’ve swam best times and I’ve swam terrible times. I experienced my first travel meet and I experienced a train ride that I thought I was going to die on (shout out to the OG St. Louis crew). I’ve met my best friends and I’ve watched friends move away.

The thing that has remained constant over the last thirteen years is this team. Even though I started out hating IA, I have ended my journey (as a swimmer) with IA completely in love with the team and everything it has offered me. I have had the best experiences of my life. I have spent weeks on end in a hotel with the greatest group of girls and made some of the best friends of my life. I have had countless coaches but each one has taught me valuable life lessons. I am thankful for the journey I have been on with this team and I am looking forward to continuing my journey with IA in the future as a coach.

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My time with Irish Aquatics has proved to me that there are things in life that happen because they are meant to happen. I have learned more about myself on this team than I would have if I had been somewhere else. I grew as a swimmer, and as a person, and as a result I was able to get a scholarship to swim in college. No matter what has happened over the last 13 years, the good times outweigh the bad and I wouldn’t change anything about it.

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