By Celina German
Given our current circumstances, it is challenging to stay motivated at these times, even if you are an Olympian or aspiring to be one. However, we have to remember a growth mindset is paramount to every situation. A pandemic doesn’t permit us to put valuable ideas, plans, and dreams on the back burner. While the current events have changed how we achieve goals, we are fully capable of both adjusting/redefining and accomplishing our goals. We simply ought to figure out creative solutions. It is all a matter of perspective. To my fellow swimmers across the world, I hear your concerns. Being a fellow swimmer, I miss my pool, my teammates swimming beside me, and the coaches on deck. Here are 10 tips to keep you improving your swim game while we all wait.
1. Practice your signature
At eight years old, I envisioned long lines of people waiting to get my autograph. Even though my best time in the 100 back was 2:20, I still believed that I needed a signature. I was so certain of it. I practiced my autograph on art projects in school, on foggy mirrors, and on Snapchat with its original color selection. While we are all waiting for normalcy to return, encourage yourself that success doesn’t need an audience. Envision it now. There is no better time to sharpen your mental game!
We often only remember the wonders of staying hydrated when it is highly crucial, like a swim meet. In a time like this, remember how important it is to take care of your body. Remember the little things that accumulate to success. Keep bringing a water bottle to whatever practice looks like for you. Celebrate your good habits!
3. Watch YouTube
Do you ever feel like you sometimes get behind on watching your swim videos because life is so busy? Well now, this can be your opportunity to improve by watching some film! If you don’t have any videos of your own, I suggest watching some impressive swim videos on Youtube.
4. Create new memories
Some of my favorite times at practice and meets were when I was simply laughing alongside my friends. That essential team bonding isn’t gone! Teammates are not far away. Pick up the phone and reach out, rehash an old memory. Be heartfelt and make someone smile, they probably are in need of it, too.
5. The 3 person rule
This skill comes from Brendon Burchard’s High Performance Habits. I am adding my own flare to it to make it more swimming related. The rule is as such: reach out to 1) someone you want to 2) someone you know they would like if you reached out and 3) someone you haven’t chatted with in a year. How often do we forget to chat with those who influenced us the most? This also means you can reach out to your former coach! Maybe, even reach out to a fellow Olympian you thought you might never have the opportunity to chat with. They might want a swimming friend right now too.
Even before COVID-19, I knew that my stretching could improve! Now, I make sure to start and end all my indoor dryland practices with stretching since there is no rush to get to class or hit the showers. The best part is you don’t need the pool or equipment.
7. Reflect (sharpen your mental game)
This goes in hand with practicing your signature. However, there is so much more to the world of mental health and training in sports. Wonderful mentee and good friend, Joni Neidigh, actually presented a webinar to swim coaches and swimmers to explain the power of the mind (3/28/20). Look into how you can improve your mental health by writing new goals, thinking of affirmations, or looking into some of these resources.
8. Breath control
Having great underwaters doesn’t require a pool. Practice holding your breath while you go up the stairs. Therefore, when you hit the pool again, your lungs are better than ever. Try to incorporate breath control into your core workouts.
9. Partake in Social Media
I was recently challenged to #medoingmysport post as well as the #see10do10 push up post on Instagram. Even though I don’t feel the most comfortable posting on my Instagram story, I challenge myself to get those reps in and share the positive energy. Keep the momentum going!
10. Stay competitive
Right now, the thing I miss the most about my sport is racing. I love battling it out in the last ten yards of my swims. However, that competitiveness can still be honed and mastered in the comfort of your home! Challenge your whole family to beat you in boardgames. Play Pictionary. Practice the same focus, come up with a pre-race routine, and stay playful.
I hope you find some of these tips new and intriguing. My last bit of advice is that you don’t need to implement all of these tips the minute you finish reading this. Try to become the master of just one of these tips, and you will be on your way to improving yourself. Good luck out there swimmers. Stay hungry, always adapt, and have fun.
ABOUT CELINA GERMAN
Born and raised in Bloomington, Ind., Celina German has been swimming since she was five, visiting her local outdoor pool. After those summers, there was no turning back! Celina continued on to represent Counsilman Center Indiana Swim Team, Team Indiana, and Fishers Area Swim Tigers. In 2017, she matriculated into Kenyon College, after being recruited to swim. Now, she is a rising senior, majoring in History and concentrating in Women’s and Gender Studies. Learning to navigate the fluctuating course of collegiate athletics and rigorous academics is probably one of her favorite challenges! She loves pulling from every skillset possible to establish her sea legs. Celina plans on applying for graduate school in African American studies and pursuing a career in publishing. It is highly probable she will join masters swimming!