Middle Eastern Swimmers Know Not All Opportunities Are Created Equal

Middle Eastern Swimmers Know Not All Opportunities Are Created Equal

By Maddie Strasen, Swimming World College Intern

It’s 4:45 a.m. It’s pitch black outside—the sun has yet to rise. You debate in your head whether to turn off your alarm and go back to bed or endure the pain of morning practice. You unwillingly get out of your warm bed and face the freezing cold air, put on your suit, grab your swim bag, and walk out the door. You grumpily mope onto the pool deck, mumble complaints to your teammates, smell the overbearing stench of chlorine, and send death glares to your coach.

It’s 5 a.m. You dive into the cold water, questioning why you chose a sport that requires early mornings, late nights, and excessive discomfort. You go through the motions of warm-up and the pain of your main set. You cool down, dry off, and get ready to go to school. It’s 7 a.m. You’re in the United States of America.

It’s 4:45 a.m. It’s pitch black outside—bombs have gone off again. You debate in your head whether to go outside, fearing for your life, or to close your eyes and pray for peace. You reluctantly slide out of bed, careful not to wake your sister next to you, grab your swim equipment, and walk outside into the ashy air. You cough as you walk onto the pool deck, noticing new holes in the walls from recent attacks and smelling the overbearing stench of smoke.

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