When I first started training to swim in the Senior Olympics, and was going to the pool a lot, a man in the lane next to me one day was waiting for me to complete a lap. When I stopped to rest, he gave me a tip about how to improve my butterfly stroke, which was his specialty.
His advice to me, though unsolicited, was not unwanted. I truly wanted to get better. I wanted to qualify for the national championship. So I thanked the man, who introduced himself as Slava. He is from Russia. He used to be a swimming coach there.
As we saw each other at the pool on other days, Slava continued to critique my swimming. He complimented my breaststroke, which had been strongest event as a competitive swimmer in my younger years. He helped me tweek my freestyle. He gave me training tips on conditioning. …
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