Why I Swim - a Thank You Note (Opinion)
Hello Swim Team and Adult Fitness Swimmers! PSA - longer post today as it is an opinion piece.
It's 6am, you're groggy, scratching at your eyes. Your body is cold, the water looks colder, and all you can think about is how much you don't want to stare at the black line at the bottom of the pool. Sometimes it feels like that line is your only entertainment during the monotony of everyday practice. I know, I've been there. Lap after lap, stroke after stroke, we move up and down the pool with goals [hopefully] in mind, but sometimes that's much easier said than done. We're continuing our series on the mental side of swimming this week, albeit in a different tone. Coach Justin here, and I'm just looking to take this week as an opportunity to talk about why I swim, and what swimming can be for anyone who chooses to take part in their own aquatic journey.
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What Makes Swimming Challenging (link) Short article on what makes swimming one of the most challenging sports. Found the above helpful? Share with a friend!
Any of my swimmers can attest that I sound like a broken record more days than not - all my trite adages appear at high frequencies. For example, "treat the water like your dance partner, not your sparring partner"; or "first half of a race is talent, while the second half is work"; or even "swim like a Ferrari, and not like an F-150" (alluding to using the legs as the engine rather than the arms). But, there's more than that. What we all have to consider is that everyone has their OWN experience with water. Some days, it can feel like your worst enemy, and others - less often - it can be your best friend. Not everyone has to have a collegiate dream, not everyone has to feel wholly fulfilled by a swimming career, but having YOUR reason surely makes life more comfortable.
My own swimming career was marred by a handful of setbacks. My high school years included a torn shoulder, twice torn left ankle, multiple bouts of flu, hip tendonitis, etc. etc. Personally, my "reason" changed throughout my career. It started bright-eyed as a young age grouper with an early growth spurt who felt he had the world in his palms - I was in love with the water. It turned into a chore through early high school - I fell out of love. Some days, practice felt like the most elegant waltz, while others it felt like I was in the octagon with someone far superior. It wasn't until my upperclassman years of high school that I truly fell all in once again. My goals re-materialized and love propagated through them.
I swim because it calms me. I've never loved something more than I loved the feeling of being in the water. I experience the silence, yet also the crash of the water. I accept the feeling of the wake around me, the repetitive rhythm like a metronome in my head.
I swim because I feel free. There's nothing outside the pool's four walls that can bother me during MY time. Every motion feels like the water is an extension of my body, my dance partner, and also my solace.
I swim because it's the closest to artistic I've ever been. The coordination required feels like the effortless glide of an ink pen writing calligraphy to whoever will listen. I swim because swimming is beautiful.
I swim because it HAS actually afforded me so much in my life that I can only hope to give back to it. This is why I coach, and also why I still swim myself.
Why do you swim? Fact of the week: Swimming is hard, it's unforgiving, it's a give-and-take relationship in which the swimmer puts countless hours in to be rewarded by mere seconds or hundredths of seconds. Whether you treat the water as release from your life outside the pool, your time to center yourself, a way to blow off steam, or just a time to socialize with your best friends, find your reason. If you have a dream, chase it. If you have a goal, achieve it and then some. If you need the time away from the stresses of young/adolescent/adult life, take that time to be yours and yours alone. When you think about what your reason is, and why you show up to the pool, you'll find the answer may be more profound than you previously imagined. How does my swimmer move up? Our group promotion standards are your guide to growing and graduating! Promotion times can be achieved in practice or swim meets. We prefer to see them happen at a swim meet! Find YOUR reason to swim. It's your journey and yours alone. Thank you all for reading! Justin Roy, Gold Group, Fort Worth Eli