הכל מסתכם בגישה
קח/י רגע, הרגע/י
הקבוצה היא הכל
אל תחמיר/י עם עצמך
חגוג/י את ההצלחות
זכור/י מאין באת
גם המאמנים הם בני אדם
By Chandler Brandes, Swimming World College Intern
10 years. 120 months. 3,652 days. No matter how you count it, it adds up to the same thing: one decade of competitive swimming.
As I get ready to begin my freshman year of college, I want to take a moment to reflect on eight things I have learned throughout the past ten years.
1. It really is all about attitude.
Yes, swimming is hard. Yes, I’d rather sleep than wake up at 5:30 a.m. Yes, sometimes I want to give up. But a negative attitude doesn’t make the grueling workouts and early mornings any easier. If anything, it makes them harder, and makes it less enjoyable for your teammates and coaches. Attitudes are contagious, and a positive outlook will motivate you and those around you.
2. Take a moment to relax.
Coach may get mad if you breathe off every single wall, but outside the pool, take a moment to breathe. Swimming is a treacherous sport, mentally and physically. Although swimming is a huge part of our lives, it isn’t everything, and swimmers are people beyond the pool. There are sacrifices that must be made, but never forget the importance of school, family, and friends.
3. Team means everything.
To an outsider, swimming may seem like solely an individual sport, but we know that it’s just as much a team sport as an individual one. Imagine swimming without a team. Hard to think about, right? I wouldn’t have made it this far in swimming if it wasn’t for my teammates. Not only did they become my second family, they made those long swim meets memorable, holiday training more bearable, and waking up before the sun just a little bit easier.
4. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
Swimming is a sport of delayed gratification. It may take months, even years, to drop a few hundredths of a second. It may not seem fair after countless hours of hard work in and out of the pool, but that’s just the sport of swimming. No matter how frustrating it is, don’t give up, and don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Keep working hard; it’ll all be worth it the moment you finish a race and get a best time.
5. Celebrate your successes.
I always expect more out of myself: lift heavier weights, swim faster times, hold faster intervals. It’s good to strive to be better, faster, and stronger, but don’t expect perfection; it’s unattainable. Sometimes you need to take a step back and assess where you currently are. Take pride in being able to do a few more reps than last week and be happy that the technique change is making your stroke smoother. While you work towards that new cut time or personal best, remember to be happy with the progress you’re making.
6. Remember why you started.
My parents brought me to watch a summer league meet when I was seven years old to see if I was interested in joining the following summer. After seeing the chaos that is a summer dual meet, stubborn seven-year-old me decided that competitive swimming was not for me. However, the following summer, I asked my parents to sign me up, and I haven’t looked back since. Whether we were forced to join swim team because our older siblings did it or we joined by our own choosing, we started swimming one way or another, and we’ve made it this far.
7. Coaches are people too.
Just like us, our coaches have their own families and other interests outside of swimming. They may not have to dive in a cold pool each day, but they dedicate countless hours behind the scenes to run a successful team. You may think they’re trying to make your life miserable as they write the main set on the board, but they never set you up for failure. Don’t forget that they’re the ones who believe in you when you don’t believe in yourself.
8. Thank your parents.
If you’re anything like me, you sometimes forget the sacrifices our parents and loved ones make in order for us to achieve our goals. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without my parents’ unwavering love and support. They may never understand why I enjoy staring at a black line for hours upon hours, but that never stops them from driving to meets in all sorts of weather and putting up with the persistent smell of chlorine.
2/5 of a decade. 48 months. 1,460 days. No matter how you count it, it adds up to the same thing: four years left of competitive swimming. After spending the majority of my life in the sport, four years seems like nothing, and I can’t wait for this next chapter to begin.
All I have to do is dive in.