Sunday, September 12, 2010

Swimming Across the World, By Greta Kinsey, Age 11

I am a military child, but that does not stop me from practicing and enjoying the sport that I love: swimming. I have been in over 30 pools around the world. Some of them, I have been in 200 times, and some only once.

I have moved my whole life. By the age of ten, I was settled into my eighth house. Moving is so much a part of my life, it is normal. I am in the sixth grade and I am in my eighth school. I guess I don't really mind all the moving as long as my new place I call home has a pool and a swim team.

I learned to swim in Alexandria, Virginia. My sister, Halladay, and I were both born in Alexandria. Before my third birthday, we moved to my third house and found a pool in Indian Head, Maryland. My favorite aunt, Aunt Lucy has a house with a pool in Frederick, Maryland. She is my favorite for many reasons, but the pool helps. My second sister, Annika, joined us when we lived in Maryland. She, like Halladay and me, was a water baby. I remember Monterey, California, because there was a pool with a water slide. I learned to love to slide into the water in Monterey, even though we were only there a few months before we moved to Sicily, Italy.

Sicily, Italy is very hot in the summer. Life in Sicily in the summer must include a pool or you will never enjoy the outside. It was in Sicily that I learned how to swim and joined my first competitive swim team.

In Sicily, when we first arrived, there was an old pool with a twirl-ly waterslide. It was very fun, but old and dirty. Soon, the construction of another pool attracted everyone's attention. My dad was the engineer in charge of building it.

After the new pool was finished, my sisters and I were the slide testers. Plenty of workers had tried the two new slides, but the engineers needed to know how far little kids would glide across the water at the end of the slide. My sisters and I, ages seven, five and three, were all strong swimmers, so we tested the slides! We were happy to be the first kids on the new slides.

During our time in Sicily, we met many Italian friends. Most of them have pools at their villas. We were invited to Sicilian pool parties. I remember Italian towns and places I've been by the pools I swam in.

In Sicily, I joined the Sigonella Swordfish, the base swim team. We swam in all home meets that year and even qualified to swim in our first European Championship meet. My sister, Halladay, and I traveled to our first away championship swim meet. That was my first time in a 50-meter pool. My sister and I were both afraid; 50 meters looks like forever if you are seven or five years old. We both swam faster than ever before.

Right after I turned eight, we moved to California. I continued to swim with my sisters. My youngest sister, Annika, who was now five years old, joined us on the Buenaventura Swim Club in Camarillo, California. During the time we lived in California, we raced and played in many pools and on many beaches in Southern California. I remember the towns and cities in California by the memory of the pool or the beach. I even raced in my first triathlons in California. One was in a pool in Santa Barbara. The other one was in a lake in Los Angeles. I remember everything about those races, especially the swims.

It was after the second triathlon that we learned we were moving back to Sicily. Back in Sicily, we gladly re-joined our first swim team, the Sigonella Swordfish. This time, my sisters and I were all older so we were able to travel to England, Germany and the Italian cities of Aviano, Lignano, Vicenza, Catania and Naples for swim meets. I remember the European trips we took by recalling the pool I raced in just before we took off to see the sights, like London, Cambridge, Venice, Pompeii, the Italian Dolomites, German Christmas markets, and the city of Berlin.

My daily schedule in all places is the same. I go to school. I go to swim practice. I eat dinner with my family. I do my homework and I go to sleep. My daily schedule is comforting for me because it is generally the same no matter where I live. I know what to expect. In Europe, I have to travel very far to compete for meets, but I see so many things along the way, it is worth the trip. I have traveled to Naples, Italy, more times than I'd like to recall. I have traveled by car, plane, train (that boards a ferry) and by overnight ferry. I always enjoy the trip regardless of the method of travel and I always look forward to swimming as fast as I can.

Next month, I will travel to Eindhoven in the Netherlands for my third European Champs. I am excited to swim fast and am excited about the family trip in Bruges in the days after the meet. I love the Navy and all the moves, because I travel to places all around the world to do what I traveled there for: to swim.

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Julie Rahm

Mindset means everything. And no one knows this better than Julie Rahm, aka America's Mindset Mechanic. A former naval physicist, Julie applies physics to the energy of human thought and the results thoughts create. As a military daughter, spouse and mother-in-law she has experienced the challenges of deployment separations, frequent moves and telecommuting careers while remaining happy and achieving her dreams. With her passion and people-loving style, Julie has provided the metaphorical tools for thousands of people to bridge the gap between their thoughts and their lives. Julie Rahm, M.S., is a certified Frame of Mind Coach who has appeared on numerous television and radio broadcasts, including The Phil Knight Show and ABC affiliates. She hosts The Mindset Mechanic LIVE on Saturdays and Sundays on FM107.1 WTKF and AM1240 WJNC in Eastern NC. Her weekly column The Mindset Mechanic appears in The Pamlico News. She has been quoted in numerous newspapers, and on the web at and Julie is an inspirational keynote speaker conveying life lessons through a blend of intuitive success strategies, enlightened wisdom, humor and fun. She is the Champion of Military Kids around the World. Julie's latest book is Volume I of Military Kids Speak.

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