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Nicole Zhu, 28 Jul '12

Seconds, milliseconds, nanoseconds. Her life is made up of snapshots of time itself.

Her body slices through the water at the precise moment her teammate’s palm touches the timing board. Every movement she makes is designed, practiced, and executed to beat her competitors, beat the clock. The angle her hands cut the surface. The tilt of her head to grab a breath and a glimpse. The flip-turn, the lunge off the wall, the dolphin kicks that propel her closer to the end.

The tempo of her strokes increase, the breaths and glimpses lessen. This is when her brain starts screaming for oxygen but her mind suppresses the urge to translate it into action. This is when she feels as though she’s entered a zone reaching above and beyond the bounds of human and individual capability.

This is when she beats time.

This is when she makes history.

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