Olivier Poirier-Leroy is a former national level swimmer based out of Victoria, BC. In feeding his passion for swimming, he has developed YourSwimBook, a powerful log book and goal setting guide made specifically for swimmers. Sign up for the YourSwimBook newsletter (free) and get weekly motivational tips by clicking here.
1. You are much more capable of yourself than you ever thought imaginable. Looking back on your competitive days you will be amazed at the things you were able to do. The 5k’s for time. The New Years Day 100 x 100’s. Two-a-days over Christmas break. Swimming teaches us that we are much more resilient than we give ourselves credit for, and that when challenged we will rise to the occasion.
2. The shared struggle. Swimming – or rather – the shared experience of endless laps and the shared glory of triumph – will create and forge bonds that will last a lifetime. Regardless of how you may feel about some of your teammates outside of the pool, you cannot help but respect them for being right beside you during every early morning practice.
3. That your new favorite song is only one workout away. The shortest distance between a song being a casual favorite to being on steady, unending repeat for hours is one practice. How many times have you gone into a practice with a song in your head, only to sprint home afterwards to download it? If you’re like me, too many times to count. Nothing guarantees a song’s place on your “most played” playlist than singing it over and over in your head for two hours.
4. How to make a plan to achieve cool stuff. No matter where we fall on the scale of swimming ability, from age grouper to national champion, we each have things we’d like to do with our swimming. In order to do so, we pick a goal, make a plan, and get after it. Swimming is a perfect proving ground for learning how goal setting works best for each of us. There are fewer things more satisfying than having a dream, putting together a strategy, and then achieving it from start to end.
5. Learning how to bounce back from failure. Setbacks and failure come in every size and shape. Injury. Illness. False start. Suit rip. Whatever the case, swimming shows us that not everything will go smoothly all of the time, no matter how well we plan. Via swimming we learn how to cope with the tough stuff, rejecting “rejection,” and ultimately making us more successful in the long term.
6. You learn exactly what type of temper you have by the number of times that someone steals your kickboard. Or tickles your feet. Or smacks you across the top of the head with a paddle. Learning how to control the impromptu rage that overcomes us when a swimmer pushes off right before we are going to turn comes in handy in real life.
7. It’ll prepare you for tough times ahead. Swimming will teach you how to struggle through something, even when it is the last thing on Earth you want to be doing at that moment. It will show you how just how satisfying it can be to turn an “I can’t” into an “I did.”
8. How to spend time with your own thoughts. Our sport is a mix of team and individual effort. On the one hand we train in a team environment, represent a team, but yet compete in individual races, and spend an overwhelming amount of time with only our thoughts and the black line. This isn’t such a bad thing. In a world that is desperate to distract us from sunrise to sunset, from our phones to social media, it’s great to have some distraction-free time to swim around in your own thoughts.
9. How to be grateful for the simple things. Gratitude for people who can pass you without clawing your legs and abdomen, backstrokers who can swim without Wolverining from across the lane-line, and the butterflier with 9 foot arms who bends his arms when he swims past you. For swimmers, it’s the simple things.
10. How to win, and how to lose. You can learn a lot about someone when watching them be defeated. The way they react both in the immediate aftermath, in the hours afterwards, and in the days and weeks that follow. Swimming (and sport in general) provide the opportunity to learn how to win and lose with grace.
YourSwimBook is a log book and goal setting guide designed specifically for competitive swimmers. It includes a ten month log book, comprehensive goal setting section, monthly evaluations to be filled out with your coach, and more. Learn 8 more reasons why this tool kicks butt.
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