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It did not hit me until the boys 200 freestyle race Wednesday night that this would be my last meet at the Henry E. Lackey High School pool.

We have meets sporadically at different pools throughout the winter season from Prince Frederick to the College of Southern Maryland and, in the past, the Great Mills pool, but the Lackey pool has been somewhat of a home these past four years.

This pool is definitely a monument on my life’s timeline. It is where I first learned to count my strokes for a backstroke turn. It is where I experienced my first disqualification. It is where I have won races and it is where I have lost races.

There are so many memories tied to this place that to walk off the pool deck for the last time really was utterly devastating. My entire swim career has revolved around the conditions of this pool, and to see it in the bus rear view mirror made me experience so many emotions that I could not tell if I was crying happy or sad tears.

It may not be easy to understand considering it is just a hole filled with water divided by some ropes, but this is the place that has challenged me both physically and mentally.

Some of the best memories come from seasons past. My fellow seniors will definitely remember a certain someone whose harmless jokes led to him ripping off button-up pants revealing a Speedo right before a race, the meet where we all fell apart due to a team-wide sickness and all of us cried but we managed to win anyway, or the countless times we screamed cheers and exciting bus rides chanting, “I believe that we just won,” after every score was received.

These are things you do not forget. These are the things I am proud to experience and so lucky to have been a part of. I could not ask for a better team and a better group of seniors to swim with. These past four years have meant everything to me.

As the tenses change from “I do,” to “I did,” it gradually begins to hit me that senior night Wednesday against Chopticon High School will truly be one of the hardest nights of my life.

I will say goodbye to high school competitive swimming forever. No more regular season meets but continuing practices and moving full throttle towards Southern Maryland Athletic Conference Championships.

It is tough to let go, and if it isn’t obvious, there will be tears.

My days as a Leonardtown High School varsity girls swimmer are numbered, but I am grateful for the lessons that my coaches and sport have taught me.

Alex Theriot

Leonardtown senior