Swimming is a funny sport. You put hours and hours of training in, all for a couple of minutes of racing, or in some cases, seconds. When we finally hit that touch pad and finish up a race, it’s always intriguing to see how a swimmer reacts. The resulting display of reactions can put on a show for the fans and spectators in the stands. Not to mention, those reactions will quickly hint toward the swimmers that want to hear “Great Job!” or the ones that want to be completely left alone.
We all know the satisfied look and nod… likely the most common at a midseason meet from an athlete is just looking to see progress. While simple satisfaction might not be the most fun and rewarding, hitting our goals and making progress will certainly do.
One of the worst feelings in swimming is to touch the pad, and see that you did not go as fast or place as well as you wanted. This one comes with certain personalities after bad races. The other type of person will tend to have a bit more of an emotional reaction…(up next)
All swimmers will be angry with a swim or practice at some point throughout their career. And, its ok to be angry, but don’t be the guy that throws his cap and goggles. It’s not the poor goggles’ fault that it didn’t do well! This reaction should set off a red flag to teammates: “Approach with Caution.”
Being annoyed after a race is interesting, because often times it comes after objectively great races that the swimmer knows could have gone better. The example that comes to mind for me is when Michael Phelps won the 200 Fly in WR fashion on his quest to 8 Gold Medals. Regardless of the Gold and WR, goggles leaking off the start will annoy about anyone…(Watch Video)
These are fun to watch. When a swimmer had no idea a fast swim was right around the corner, and they look up to see a fast time; that wide mouthed gaze is priceless. It looks like someone needs to readjust his or her expectations!
This can honestly come with any type of race, and it is pretty dependent on the swimmer. I have a teammate who swam a Top 10 time for an American in 2016 and looked as if nothing had happened at all. It can be funny and even frustrating at times, just wanting these stone cold racers to smile after a race!
Sometimes no matter what the result of a race is, all an athlete can express is how exhausted they are. This reaction is saved for our distance, individual medley (IM) and 200 stroke swimmers. There is something satisfying, however, knowing that you left every last ounce of effort in the pool.
8. Pure Joy
Easily the best one. When you finally make that cut, win that big race, break that barrier or achieve that goal; this reaction is saved for the best of the best moments. If you need some visuals, just watch the end of some Olympic Trials races, when athletes make the team. Sometimes swimming can bring you instant pure joy. Those hours and hours of training have finally paid off for that short race.