I’ve participated in The Gypsy Mama’s Friday writing prompt “Five Minute Fridays” numerous times over the past year. She gives a prompt and then we write, unedited, for five minutes. Then publish it. This post, on the prompt “deep breath,” is my favorite.

P.S. I made a hilarious error writing it so fast. Can you find it?

Russian Swimmers Sports Visitors in Floridaphoto © 2010 Exchanges Photos | more info (via: Wylio)


I sit in the queue, in the merciful shade. The desert sun evaporated my swimsuit within minutes after our warm-up.

The caller yells out heat numbers and lane numbers, and we shuffle forward one row at a time as the time of my heat nears. I flex and bend the card I will give the time-keeper when I reach my designated lane.

My  name, my team name, my seed number. The number that encompasses my swimming skill compared to everyone else.

It’s discouraging.

My adrenaline starts flowing as I eye my competitors. We’ve been racing one another all season. They are familiar. I know how well they swim. I am determined to be the dark horse this race, this final championship meet, to break out of the pack from my edge lane and stun the cheering crowd.


It has such a stimulating effect that I can hardly hold still. My feet start drumming on the pitted concrete.

Shuffle forward.

We’re next. We walk in orderly line towards the starting blocks, standing behind the timers waiting for this round of swimmers to put in their time. They lunge out of the water, flinging droplets everywhere.

“Heat 12, freestyle, high-school ladies. Step forward.”

I stand on the block, shaking my arms to calm the nerves.

“Swimmers ready. Take your mark.”

Deep breath.

The gun fires and we’re off.