For so many of us, being on the swim team as a kid was like being a part of a socially-acceptable cult. These were your people. The people who saw you with crazy koala goggle lines, the people who never judged when you picked wedgies from your racing suit, the people who watched you grow up every summer from an awkward little tad pole to a slightly less awkward young adult. If you were a swimmer growing up, instead of being 50% water like most human children, you were (and maybe still are) made up of 45% water, and at least 5% chlorine. And just in case nobody believes you, the roots of your hair are still a little green to prove it.
There were plenty of awesome reasons to be a swimmer. The workout is unbeatable, for one. And you'd be lying to yourself if you didn't pretend to be Michael Phelps at the Olympics at least once. But whether you were there to try to swim impossible distances or just there for all the free snacks and awesome card games waiting for your heat, being on swim team as a kid was the bomb-diggity. Brace yourself for some nostalgia, folks, because I'm here to remind you why:
The Craziest Tan Lines You've Ever Seen
If strangers ever saw your bare shoulders when you were wearing the suit you don't practice in, they probably wondered why your parents let you get extremely nonsensical tattoos. You wore tan lines with pride.
You Were A Literal Mermaid
You could probably swim forever and ever and ever without taking a breath. Which came in handy during the 50-yard butterfly. You know, for the first fifteen seconds. Your streamline game was untouchable.
Cheers That Made NO SENSE
"YOU CAN'T RIDE MY LITTLE RED WAGON!"...Whose wagon? Don't know, don't care, but you sure as heck can't ride it, you hear?
Ridiculous Neighborhood Rivalries
Maybe we would have been faster on swim meet days if we hadn't gotten up at six in the morning to litter the entire route from the opposing team's pool to ours with giant posters to intimidate them, but now the world will never know. It was totally worth it anyway.
Excessive Body Paint
Your parents' worst nightmare was when this stuff didn't come off in the pool at meets and ended up dripping down your legs onto their nice carpets.
CARBO-LOADED PASTA NIGHTS
Obviously the night before a meet you had to shove literally as many carbohydrates as your small child body could handle because science.
Being a BAMF at Sharks and Minnows
Call me when the Olympics stops screwing around and declares this a sport already, because I will dominate it.
Never Actually Needing to Shower
Voilà! The pool water already did it for you. Just think of how much money you saved on your parents' water bill. (This is gross and untrue; we needed showers most of all. Just don't try telling us that as kids. We were not hearing any of that.)
Doing This With Your Swim Cap
Cap choices: you either had to have a ridiculous quote about swimming that you found very hilarious as a child, or a Batman insignia. There is nothing in between.
Never Actually Knowing Anybody on the Dive Team
The hipsters of the swimming world. No thanks.
Mastering the Art of the Long Distance Spit
Before there was texting, you let your best friends know how much you loved them by spraying chlorinated water out of your mouth at them during kick drills.
Perpetually Losing Your Goggles
Only to discover they were on your head the whole damn time.
Awkward Summer Swimcest
Every summer there was always that couple that got together after being separated at different schools all year, and every summer it was super cute until it wasn't. So much drama.
Your Coach's Taste In Music
You know exactly what it is, because it blared at every single warm-up for every single meet, and now even after all these years you know all the words to every Aerosmith song that ever existed.
TROPHIES AND RIBBONS FOR EVERYONE!
Even if you were terrible at swimming, someday you will pull out all those ribbons and trophies and show them to your children and lie.
Images: Getty Images; Giphy (15)