Don't Stop! The importance of Perseverance!
A dear West Point Brother, Peter Vu, led several of us in marveling at the amazing US swim team and the memories their accomplishments have stirred in us of our mandatory swim training at West Point - officially known as "drown proofing." My own memories are of waters comfortably adjusted to the likes and tastes of polar bears and being told that I swam with the speed and grace of a freighter!
When the time came for us to face the combat equipment swim test, I remember it as one of my proudest moments! The Cadet in front of me slowed waaaay down the last 10 yards away from the finish and I bumped into him...and then sunk like a stone! Undeterred, I low crawled underneath him - passing him - and crawled those last ten yards on the bottom of the pool bouncing up upon reaching the finish.
For the only time in my Cadet career, a Department of Physical Education instructor was speechless (the insults and put downs are generally endless.) Much to the dismay of the instructors, I technically completed the task AS INSTRUCTED! I didn't stop. I didn't surface. I didn't walk and I used a literal crawl stroke to complete the task. The instructor mumbled the evaluation in disbelief almost with a question more than an answer, "Passed?" he offered. The senior instructor shrugged and bellowed "Passed!" Yes, I passed! Oh the beauty of the memory of West Point Rock Swimming!! That's my personal swimming best and the emotional equivalent of 21 swimming gold medals!
It's also a reminder that when obstacles slow you down, don't stop trying to press on! Crawl if you have to, but by all means, PRESS ON!