If you are a swimmer, you have been asked this question a myriad of times: “Why do you swim?” It is a seemingly simple question that, for me, has many answers. I cannot pinpoint a specific reason for why I swim, as there are so many factors that have led me to swim and to continue to swim for so long. Here are a few reasons why I swim:
Parents get their children involved in sports at a young age to give them an active and healthy lifestyle. This is one reason as to why I swim. In the wise words of Elle Woods (Legally Blonde), “Exercise gives you endorphins… endorphins make you happy!” With a hard workout under your belt, you have a clear mind and a healthy body.
While I began to swim as a form of exercise, I continued to swim because of the strong friendships that I made on my club team. There is no way to get closer friends than by spending hours every day going through excruciating pain. There is so much laughter, there is pain, there are tears, there is competition that can test a friendship, but nothing else in my life has given me stronger bonds with people than swimming has. I have made lifelong friends from the sport of swimming
I worked hard every day in practice from the age of six. My friends and my coach pushed me, and this led to success in the pool that allowed me to travel to meets across the nation. Not many people can say that they have had the opportunity to travel all across America as a young kid. The biggest opportunity swimming has blessed me with is the ability to go to an amazing college in a state far from home. This has been an opportunity that I thank swimming for every single day no matter how difficult I think school is. If you work hard, swimming can land you in your dream school and give you the opportunity to see the world.
There are certain characteristics that all swimmers share. Patience, perseverance, motivation, passion, and competitiveness are only a few. The countless hours of hard work and time spent on the sport that seem to often wash up subpar results at meets would drive a normal person to insanity. However, swimmers do not give up. That is a character trait that I am proud to wear as a swimmer. My coach used to forbid “I can’t” in practice and in life, and “I can” has become a phrase that I and other swimmers live by, in every aspect of life.
So, when asked, “Why do you swim?” I have to stop and think for a moment. My response is always longer than I expect, as I continually find reasons as to why I swim and what I have to thank swimming for. It has given me a healthy lifestyle, lifelong best friends, huge opportunities, and character traits that make me strong. So, for these reasons, I SWIM.