TITLE: AGAINST ALL ODDS
GENRE: YA Contemporary
If you want something, take it.
This was what Amy chanted to herself as she stepped behind the block in lane six. The 100 free was the last event at Swim Philadelphia’s August Invitational. If she didn’t qualify for Junior Nationals during this race, come September she’d be forced to enroll in her local high school. If she did qualify, she’d spend freshman year on scholarship at Heartdale Prep, the school for elite-level swimmers that her three older siblings attended.
Not getting into Heardale wasn’t an option. Amy’s favorite Heartdale shirt, the one she slept in every night, was signed “you can do it!” by a freshman she met at one of Cat’s swim meets when she was eleven. Every night before bed, she watched YouTube videos that showed off the school’s campus. Every morning before getting up, she whispered Heartdale’s motto, “Anyone can be an Olympian,” into her pillow.
Cheers bounced across the pool deck. Banners waved and cameras popped, but Amy’s gaze stayed locked on the athletes in the water. The girl in lane five flipped, leading her heat into the fourth and final lap of the race. Her streamline was rigid, her dolphin kicks tight and powerful. Amy didn’t know her name, but she knew the desperation on her face. It wasn’t the shallow desire that played, sharp and hopeful, across your skin for a few months. This was a want that burrowed deep into your brain when you were young, shaping your face and the bones behind it.