It’s 5am when your mom walks in your room with the ever so dreaded “honey, it’s time to get up for practice.” After rolling over and making a fuss, you rub your eyes and slowly drag yourself out of bed. Slumping to the sink to brush your teeth, you look at yourself in the mirror and think “why do I do this to myself?” You shake off the thought, hop in the car, and soon enough you’re looking into the freezing cold pool that ensures you’ll wake up. You cringe at the thought of getting in. You think, “I could be in my warm bed right now sleeping, I’m so tired, why do I do this to myself?” So, why do we do this to ourselves? Because, in the end, WE LOVE SWIMMING!
Let’s be honest, swimming can suck sometimes! You have to wake up early multiple days a week, practice four to five hours a day (including weekends), eat healthy, get through some rough practices, and deal with soreness and keeping your sanity. Swimming is not a leisurely game of volleyball or a fun baseball or softball practice. Swimming is a constant physical and mental struggle, but the perks of swimming make it all worth it.
Don’t let the idea of swimming fool you, there are definitely perks! For those guys who have dreamed of having a six-pack of abs, swimming is the sport for you! Not only will you feel good about your body, but you’ll also be able to show it off thanks to swimming allowing you to be 90% naked for 99% of the time. Besides getting into awesome shape, one of the best parts of swimming are the people you meet. For swimmers, your team is your family. After many hours in and out of the pool, you grow to love your teammates. Not only do they understand everything you’re going through, they go through it with you! They understand the time commitment, the struggles, and even better, the successes. So, even though you have early practice, you bet your teammates will be right there alongside you, making jokes at 6am. Your teammates push you to become a better swimmer and make practice fun to go to. Without teammates, swimming wouldn’t be the same!
You can’t forget the perk of success. One of the best feelings for swimmer’s is when you’ve trained hard all season for that last meet and you crush a race and your best time. The feeling of looking up at the clock and seeing all your hard-work pay off is one of the most rewarding feelings. Swimmer’s are addicted to success!! I mean, we spend all season swimming in random meets unshaved and un-tapered to see how close we can get to our best time before we get to the end of the season meet. We go through constant struggles throughout the season and may have some pretty rough races before we get to where we want to be. Yet, we persevere. Through the up’s and the down’s, we keep going, waiting for that rewarding feeling of success to hit just one more time.
So yeah, swimming may be hard, the practices may suck, and it may be tiring, but what swimming offers is too much to give up. Friendships that will last a lifetime, being a part of something bigger than yourself, the feeling of self-gratification when you go a best time or win a championship, and being in crazy, awesome shape make swimming feel like less of a task. At one point in our careers, all swimmers say that we hate the sport. It happens, we get overwhelmed and stressed out, but the truth is that as many times as we say it, deep down, we know we could never give it up.
“Your teammates push you to become a better swimmer and make practice fun to go to. Without teammates, swimming wouldn’t be the same…”