Yolanda Porter Goes From Sinker to Swimmer to Masters Meet Medal Winner

By Elli Overton – February 1, 2014

This describes the swimming journey of one of my amazing clients, Yolanda Porter. At the time of print, Yolanda had not yet competed in the Jesse Coons Memorial Invitational Swim Meet/Masters of Brazos Short Course Meet mentioned in the story; it took place in late January. We thought you might like to hear, in her own words, how the meet went for Yolanda. I felt very lucky and proud to be there with her and to be part of her transformational journey. She is truly an inspiration!

25 January 2014–The Day of the Meet

 9:36 a.m.: Wow, I am at Aerofit Health and Fitness Center in Bryan, TX for my first ever swim meet!  After a two-hour drive, I am stiff and a little bit unnerved. Part of it is due to thinking about the swim meet, the other is because of the drive itself. I am so happy to see my coach, Elli Overton, waiting in the parking lot for me.

 9:45 a.m.: All checked in at the desk and am really freaking out on the inside now. I can't believe I actually signed up for this and now I am here.  Elli asks me what I want to do. I really want to run away, but I told her I wanted to get in the water to calm down. I can't believe that came out of my mouth given that just two and a half short years ago, I feared and hated the thought of getting in the water. Now I find peace there. Talk about a transformation!

 10:30 a.m.: After a good warm-up and a warm shower, I am back on the deck eating an energy bar and contemplating my schedule of events with Elli. I must look really calm on the outside but I am anything but calm.


12:02 p.m.: I am standing at the start of my first event, the 100-yard freestyle. I feel nervous but ready. I have trained long, hard hours for this moment; I just need to get through it. The buzzer sounds, and I dive in—and in a couple of minutes, it is over. I can swim. I can swim faster than I have before. I feel strong. The next two events come up quickly and before I know it, it is time for my longest event, the 200-yard freestyle. If I can get through this, then I know I can meet the goal I set with Elli: to complete my five events without getting disqualified. 

2:00 p.m.: I did it! I actually did it. The icing on the cake is that I won my age group High Point* award! I actually got a gold medal in my first swim meet. Words cannot describe how I feel. However, I would like to give credit where it is due, to God—without whom, none of this would be possible; to Elli, for coaching me when others had given up on me; to all the managers, life guards, and staff of the swimming facilities where I have trained; and last, but not least, to my daughter Jazmin for being my motivation.

 Yolanda Porter

*This age group award is given to the swimmer who gathers the most amount of points for placing in their various events in the meet.


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