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Sarah Bennett: Swimming is about more than swimming

By Anita Mitchell, Broward People, for SouthFloridaReporter.com, Aug. 1, 2015 – We at South Florida Reporter welcome a new contributor – Anita Mitchell. Anita is the founder and creative director of browardpeople.com. Join us every week to meet a new Broward person from browardpeople.com.

CITY: Fort Lauderdale
“What if my incision rips when I dive in?”

I was so excited to return to swimming that I could hardly sit still or carry a clear thought in my head. I was scared too. What if my stitches ripped while swimming? What if I couldn’t make the intervals? These are were the concerns of Sarah Bennett.

If I could return to the swim team then I was going to be all right. I needed to swim. Swim Fort Lauderdale had always been my place to flush out stress.

The first 50 yards were tough. For the entire one-hour practice, Coach Marty Hendrick watched me. He told me to swim with the slowest group and go really easy. I did what he said and started to feel like myself again.

Coach Marty always said swimming is about more than swimming and no one understands that better than me.

I am a single mom with a 12-year-old daughter. When I got the shocking news that I needed a double mastectomy, I knew I could deal with the pain and getting used to my new body but how was I going to make sure my daughter had some semblance of her regular life and at the same time grocery shop, keep up the house, cook and somehow get myself back on my feet?

Look, as tough as I like to think I am, things were getting complicated. Two weeks recovery became four months.

I got a letter from Linda Webb who represented the team. She made a schedule of which team member was bringing me dinner on what night, who was driving my daughter Conner to where she needed to go, who was available to run errands, who could be on call, who could take me to my doctor appointments.

I cried my eyes out after I read that letter.

Team members brought us delicious dinners. Chicken, pasta, vegetables and always great company to eat with. Conner has known the swimmers since she was four years old. She is a swimmer too.

Slowly I recovered and got stronger and wiser. I have tempered my competitiveness, I pay closer attention to who my friends are, I appreciate people more.

I could never repay my swim team for what they did for me. The team is the reason I recovered.

Swim practice is more that swim practice. I am so grateful.”

Originally published by BrowardPeople.com on July 8, 2015