Courtesy of Claire Forrest (featured image: Ryan Lochte)
The holiday season is full swing, and that means swimmers are fully immersed in what is perhaps the most difficult training of the year, Winter Training. The break from school gives coaches ample time to inflict three-hour practices on their athletes. You may be stumped on what to gift the swimmer in your life, and the answer isn’t yet another new swimsuit, but much simpler than that. Here are a few gift ideas that will make your swimmer feel like taper came early this year!
10) A pass to an all-you-can-eat pasta bar.
Not only will your swimmer absolutely love this, but it is also a very economical gift from your perspective. Every single cent you spent on this gift will be put to good use.
9) A get-out swim.
Who needs the consumerism of the holidays anyway? The best gifts are free, and it is the thought behind them that counts! And the thought that a coach just gave them a chance to hit a goal time on a sprint and get out of the remainder of a tough practice? Priceless.
8) A coupon redeemable for five uninterrupted naps.
There’s nothing better than finally drifting off into one of those beautiful post-morning practice swimmer naps where you fully intend to wake up not knowing what day it is. And there is nothing worse than a nap being interrupted by a knock on your door. Promise to let you swimmer sleep, and they’ll be forever grateful.
7) A one-time use of the best shower in the locker room.
Let’s be honest, we all know there is one shower in every locker room that has significantly better water pressure than all the others. If you’re looking for a gift to give a great teammate, look no further. Sharing the good shower is caring, especially if they’re trying to relieve their shoulders from the straps on their speed suit after a long meet.
6) Recovery day.
Coaches are chuckling reading this, knowing this one isn’t likely to happen, but what’s the holiday season without the wonder of dreaming big dreams?
5) A day off…with no obligations!
This happens once in a blue moon, but when it does, it’s pure magic. No homework, no chores. Just thinking of it makes you blissfully sigh.
4) A snorkel that doesn’t leak.
Wouldn’t that be something? If anyone knows if this actually exists, please let me know, because I want one.
3) Hot tub time.
Perhaps as rare as a day off are the times when your coach says, “You know what? You guys worked hard today. Enjoy the hot tub for a bit.” Instead, it just calls to you from beyond the deck while you’re struggling through practice. A little hot tub time is a true treat.
2) A tournament of Sharks and Minnows.
Only swimmers know how epically intense this game can be. Take no prisoners! Or minnows, I guess.
1) A swimmer’s body without having to swim.
Well, this will probably never happen. But wouldn’t it be nice? You’d have to be at the top of Santa’s list for this one. Until then, back to the pool we go!
Claire Forrest is a recent graduate of Grinnell College with a degree in English. She is currently based in Minneapolis, Minnesota as a freelance writer. The only competitive swimmer in her family, Claire went to her first swim meet at the age of eleven on a whim without even knowing what a swim cap was. She fell in love with the sport and never looked back. A S6 classified disabled swimmer for US Paralympics, Claire specialized in mid-distance freestyle and backstroke and made national and world rankings throughout her career. She was a 2008 and 2012 Paralympic Trials participant. Claire is passionate about integrating disability swimming into the larger swim community, having swum for able-bodied club teams and her college’s DIII team. She enjoyed both Paralympic and prominent integrated able-bodied meets equally for the many commonalities they share. Over 13 years after her first meet, she’s happy to report she now owns more swim caps than she can count.