Sometimes winning is everything. Champion swimmer Aerin Keane is ready to give up her dreams of college swimming and a shot at the Olympics. As she starts senior year in her third high school, Aerin's determined to leave her family troubles behind and be like all the other girls at Two Rivers. She's got a new image and a new attitude. She doesn’t want to win anymore. She's swimming for fun, no longer the freak who wins every race, every title, only to find herself alone. But when her desire to be just one of the girls collides with her desire to be the best Two Rivers has ever seen, will Aerin sacrifice her new friendships to break a longstanding school record that comes with a $50,000 scholarship?
During swim season you can find Marianne Sciucco, a dedicated Swim Mom for ten years, at one of many Skyline Conference swim meets cheering for her daughter and her team, the Mount Saint Mary College Knights.
Marianne is not a nurse who writes but a writer who happens to be a nurse. A lover of words and books, she dreamed of becoming an author when she grew up but became a nurse to avoid poverty. She later brought her two passions together and writes about the intricate lives of people struggling with health and family issues.
Her debut novel "Blue Hydrangeas," an Alzheimer’s love story, is a Kindle bestseller, IndieReader Approved, a BookWorks featured book, and a Library Journal Self-e Selection. She also has two short stories available on Kindle, "Ino's Love" and "Collection.”
A native Bostonian, Marianne lives in New York’s Hudson Valley, and when not writing works as a campus nurse at a community college.
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Aunt Mags didn't say a word on the way to the high school and neither did I. We were up and out too early for anything more than, "Got everything?" "Uh huh," and "Let's go." We'd left the house before her first cup of coffee and she was not in a talkative mood.
It was just after dawn, the moon still visible as the sun peeked out over the horizon. A chill in the air hinted at summer's end. I regretted leaving my sweatshirt behind, although after swim practice the sun would be shining and we'd be back to the mid-August heat.
We arrived at the school and a deserted parking lot. Mags parked her minivan at the athletics entrance.
"Are you sure it starts at 6:45?" she asked.
"Positive," I said.
She yawned. "Looks like you're the first one here."
"I doubt it."
Today was the first day of swim season. Tryouts started at 7 a.m. The coach had instructed all wannabe swimmers to be on the pool deck no later than 6:45. My experience as a varsity athlete told me that anyone with any degree of competitiveness had already arrived. I had five minutes to spare.
"Want me to walk in with you?" Mags asked.
My horror at her suggestion must have been all over my face, because she said, "Sorry. Having a teenager is new to me. My girls would beg me to walk them into that big, scary building." We looked at the three-story hodgepodge put together to house Two Rivers High School.
"I can take it from here." I was sure I’d remember the meandering route to the pool area from the tour we took when we registered for my senior year.
She still looked anxious. "Sure you're all right?"
"Don't worry. I've got this routine down pat." Two Rivers would be my third high school. I played the role of new girl so well I deserved an Oscar.
I opened the door and hopped out. "Don't hang around waiting for me to call for a ride home," I said, reaching back to grab my bag. "I'm not sure when I'll get out, and I don't want to mess up your day. I'm okay to walk."
Aunt Mags nodded, and I shut the door.
"Don't forget we're going back-to-school shopping later on," she said through the open window.
“Go get 'em, Aerin." She gave me a thumbs-up.
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