Those who could dive and were practicing for their deep-end swim test were greens. The experts, who had passed the final test and could do it all, were blues.
At the end of last summer, Adam had accelerated right through green and straight to blue, and Jenna had been totally jealous. Not many eleven-year-olds were blues, and it killed her that Adam was so far ahead of her. But staring at the water just then, she felt she wouldnât have minded staying a yellow forever.
âOkay, Jenna, just put your hands together over your head like a V,â Tyler Bernal, the swim instructor, told her. He was in the lake, one hand holding onto the ladder to the pier, the other treading water.
Tyler was new to camp this year, and with his curly dark hair, tanned skin, and killer smile, every girl at Lakeview was in love with himâespecially Jennaâs sister Stephanie. Half the camp was whispering about the possibility that Tyler and Stephanie would be a couple before summerâs end. Even Jenna thought Tyler was pretty cool. But if he really made her dive headfirst into this lake, that opinion was going to change.
Jenna did as she was told, but her knees were shaking so violently, they were actually knocking together. This was something Jenna had thought only happened in cartoons.
âGood, now bend forward toward the water,â Tyler instructed.
Jenna bent at the waist. She felt like she was going to throw up. This whole feeling was new to Jenna. Normally she wasnât scared of anything.
âCome on, Jenna! You can do it!â Alex called out from the water, clearly sensing her terror.
âGood, now bend your knees a little, tuck your head, and dive,â Tyler said.
You make it sound so easy , Jenna thought. Like Iâm not about to die.
âOkay, Jenna, on the count of three,â Tyler prodded gently.
Jenna squeezed her eyes shut. She could hear the first-year campers giggling and splashing at the shallow end of the lake. She could hear the water lapping against the platform. She could hear Tyler counting up.
I can do this, I can , Jenna told herself. Though her pounding heart didnât seem to agree.
âTwo . . .â
I can. I can. I can . . .
Jenna opened her eyes, saw the water, and panicked. She stumbled back from the edge of the platform, and her bare heel caught in one of the grooves between the boards. Luckily, Grace caught her before she could fall on her butt.
âAre you okay?â Grace asked, pulling off the little nose clip she always wore for swimming.
âI canât,â Jenna heard herself say, shaking her head. âI canât do it. I just canât.â
Tyler was out of the water in an instant, walking over to her with his red swim trunks dripping all over the planks. âItâs okay, Jenna. You donât have to do it today,â he said. âWe can work on it some more.â
âYeah, donât worry, Jenna. You donât have to do it today,â Candace said, repeating Tylerâs words like she always repeated everyoneâs. âItâs no big deal.â
âRemember last year? It took me, like, forever before I could even put my head under the water,â Grace reminded her. âI felt like such a total freakazoid! But you were the one who told me to just take my time, and by the end of the summer, I was swimming.â
Jennaâs heartbeat started to return to normal, and she managed to smile at her friends. They were right. She didnât have to get everything on the first try, did she? Besides, she was the best softball player in the bunk and the best kickball player. She didnât have to be great at everything .
Just when she was starting to feel better, Chelsea and Alex stepped up from the ladder.
âOmigosh! You looked hil- ar -ious standing up there all shaking,â Chelsea said, holding her stomach as she laughed. âI canât believe Jenna