Jody had to win. There was no doubt about it. She took a deep breath, and thought about it. Pulling her head down in a bowing position, and waited for a whistle to be blown. She remembered how she got there, all the trouble she had to get through.
"I am not paying all that money for you to chicken out," she remembered her father, tough but fair, telling her. "You will win. You will take the prize."
"But I don't think I have it in me anymore," she tried to explain. "I don't know how to explain it. I just can do it." She pulled frown, hoping that she could get some sympathy out of her father.
"Look here," he father demanded loudly, "you will win. You will take the prize." Jody could remember being scared. She hated to disappoint her father. She had to win.
"What if I don't," she asked softly. "What if I fail?" She made sure that she didn't stare her father in her eyes. She couldn't stand the anger that beamed from her father's eyes.
"You will win. Don't you ever say you will fail. There is no failing in my house."
The whistle blew, and Jody dived into the cold water. The shock made her swim faster. The first length was quick. No one was in the lead. From the side of the pool, she could hear her father screaming for her to swim faster.
"Faster! Faster! Don't give up, you wimp," she could hear her father yelled.
Every time she took a breath, she took a look at the other competitors. A few of them had drifted behind her. Up a head was on last obstacle. Her rival was a body length in front of her.
"Don't bother trying," she could remember her rival telling her, just before she got onto the block. "This is my race." This angered Jody.
Something inside her kicked in. Hidden strength entered her. She could win. She had to win. She will win. The gap between the two began to get closer. In a few seconds, she was in front. She could hear her father screaming.
"Faster! Faster! Don't lose you lead!" his voice was not choking.
And then a though slipped into her head. Her father wanted her to win, not her. She didn't have to win. It was her race, not her father. It was the last lap and she started to slow down. In a heartbeat, her rival was ahead. It was too late; she had lost, and had to face the wrath of her angered father.