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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 11th day of Eating, Yr 23
The Neopian Times Week 108 > Short Stories > The Not-So-Great Swimmer

The Not-So-Great Swimmer

by kid4dolphin

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 screamed.

     "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 Griffin.

     "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 and swimcap.

     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 Penina.

     "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 both asked.

     "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."

     "Really? Wow!"

     "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?"

     "Yes, sir!"

     "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 again, okay?"

     "Okay."

     "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.

The End

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