It was a hot day, and the whole neofamily was soaking some
rays in the pool; Penina the blue Kougra, Dolphin, the blue Peophin, and Griffin
the blue Eyrie. Griffin kicked his back legs up and put his paws over the side
of our up-ground pool, while Dolphin sat by the ladder, both were waiting for
Penina to stick he paw in the water.
"Come on Penina!" yelled Griffin.
"It's been almost an hour now since we got in
the pool, and he still hasn't even touched the water yet!" whispered Dolphin.
"Okay, I'm ready...." Penina came toward the
pool with water wings on his front legs, an inner tube around his waist, and
a snorkel set on his face. He slowly climbed up, then down the ladder into the
water, stuck his toe in the water, then climbed back up. "It's too cold!" he
"You are being such a baby!" exclaimed Dolphin.
"No, I'm not!" It's just too cold!"
"Just jump in, and you'll get used to it!"
"But then I'll get wet!"
"Well, duh, that's the point!"
Dolphin was getting more and more impatient.
She smacked her tail against the ladder, and Penina fell in. Thanks to the inflatable
toys he was wearing, he was okay. Dolphin and Griffin snickered to each other
when they saw what he looked like wet.
"He looks like a shaved baby Lupe!" snickered
"That wasn't fair! You made me really wet!"
"Awwwww! You have huge paws! Make use of them!
Try taking a swimming class!" Griffin joked.
"Alright, I will!", Penina said as he stamped
off back into the NeoHome.
That afternoon, he signed up to take classes
at Grundo's gym, starting the next day. He kept whispering to himself, "Wait
until later, I'll be the best swimmer ever!"
The next day, Penina got up early, took a shower,
and sat down to some Neocruch cereal when his siblings came in. They continued
to tease him, calling him "Water Wuss" and "Shaved Lupe." He ignored it all,
and went on his way. He got his gym bag ready with his swimsuit, towel, goggles
He met the Flotsam instructor at Grundo's Gym,
got changed, and met her at the pool. She told all of the students to get in
the shallow end of the pool, and wait for her.
"Alright, new swimmers, I know that this is kind
of scary and awkward for you, but let's get started by first getting in the
pool." All of the neopet students stood there, cowering from the water, except
"There, we have one brave student to complete
step one, and is one step closer to finishing this class." As soon as she said
this, all of the students lowered themselves in the water, and grabbed on to
the wall. "Now, today I am going to teach you the basics of swimming, and if
you cooperate enough, I will teach you some of tomorrow's material."
Afternoon came, and Penina was finally back to
his NeoHome. As soon as he stepped inside, questions seemed to flow like a rough
river. "Where were you?", "What did you do?", "Why didn't you tell us?" Penina
slowly answered each one, as not to confuse his brother and sister. By bedtime,
everything was cleared up. His brother and sister couldn't believe their ears.
"Water Wuss, you actually took a class?" they
"Yep, and my teacher said that I have learned
so much so fast, that by the time she finishes teaching me, I will be good enough
for Mystery Island's swim team."
"Really?" Dolphin asked with disbelief.
"Yeah, and I'll be better than you." Penina swished
his striped tail in her face and walked off into the shower.
Everyday he looked forward to his swim classes,
and everyday he got stronger and better at swimming. Almost every other day
his instructor would call on him to demonstrate this stroke or that kick, and
he would perfect it for his classmates. A week later, in the middle of his swim
class (that he was then co-teaching), a muscular yellow Jetsam walked into the
indoor pool area, and called him out for a minute.
"Son, your teacher has told me of your improvement,
and I am thrilled that you are making that much of a difference in your life."
"Okay," he said as he was dripping wet.
"She feels that you have not only graduated early
from your class, but you may be ready for the Grundo Gym's swim team."
"In order for me to allow you to join, you need
to pass a couple of tests to meet our requirements, sign a few papers, and fit
you for a team suit if you make it in. But you must realize that joining this
team means a lot of commitment, time, and strength. Practices will last more
than half the day, and meets will sometimes last all day. Are you ready to make
that kind of commitment?"
"Alright, I'll hold your tryout tomorrow. Meet
me here at 10:00 am with your swimsuit and everything. If you make it in, you
may practice with the team as your first day."
"Thank you so much, sir! I'll be there!" He waved
goodbye to his class and instructor, and raced home. He told his family the
good news, and went to bed. His brother and sister just stood there with their
mouths hanging open for hours on end. Penina woke up at 8:00 am, took a shower,
got dressed, got his gym bag with everything in it, and flew out the door. He
met the coach Jetsam in the pool area.
"Alright son, look down those long blue lanes.
One lap is 20 yards long. When you finish each of your laps, you will have a
couple seconds to cool down and catch your breath, and get ready to start up
"Now, I want to see you do 60 yards freestyle."
He looked at the swim clock, a big clock in the corner with only a second hand.
"3... 2... 1... Go!!!"
Penina raced off, and swam as fast as he could.
He reached the edge of his last lap, and sat against the wall.
"Son, slow down. You are going to tire yourself
off too quickly. Yes, you have to have a certain time to be on the team, but
it seems you don't need to worry about that, with the time you have. I want
to see how well you can control yourself during a race or during practice. Now,
I want to see a 40 yard backstroke. 3... 2...1... Go!!!"
Penina grabbed the wall, and with his arms above
his head, plunged into the water, and took off. He didn't worry about time,
nor about getting on the team, he just enjoyed swimming. He liked the sound
of the water rushing past his ears, the feel of flying without wings, the sight
of a deep blue sanctuary, calling his name. He liked it here. Here was where
he was meant to be.