12 Things Swimmers Hate

1. “Did you win”

No. I didn’t. A single person cannot win a meet. It’s just not possible. End of story.

2. New caps

The gross chalky white stuff that comes on the inside of a new cap makes sure it slips off your head the first 5 times you wear it.

3. Olympic Swimming Fervor

That week of the summer olympics when everyone is suddenly a swimming fanatic. Ryan Lochte becomes every teenage girl’s phone background.

4. When people touch their feet

If you’re going to swim faster than me, go ahead of me. Don’t stay on my feet unless you have a death wish.

5. “Good job” after a bad race

If I’m walking away from the blocks not smiling, don’t say good job. Don’t try to make me feel better, because it’s just a reminder that I sucked.

6. When people complain about waking up early

Waking up at 5:15 for training gives us the right to be annoyed by people who complain about waking up at 9:00.

7. People who talk to you before your races

I’m trying to get in the zone. I’m trying to focus. Your incessant tapping is not helping. Stop talking to me.

8. Goggle marks

No, it’s not part of my makeup.

9. “You’re going to eat all of that?”

Yes. I am. Don’t question it. Don’t ask me for some. Get your own food and leave me alone.

10. “You smell like chlorine

No kidding. No matter how many showers I take, it won’t go away. Don’t remind me.

11. “I can beat you at swimming”

Oh, really? Can you? With all the training that you do? Playing marco polo in your backyard pool?

12. Swimming

We love it…and we hate it.

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Curmudgeon here…. but the vast majority of swim meets contested in the universe are dual meets. High school, college, YMCA, summer league, etc etc etc. And somebody (a team) wins each of those meets.

You know that you were at an invitational and there was no “team” winner and only individual event winners. But the person who asked the question doesn’t understand that and shouldn’t be subjected to eye-rolling and inclusion on every one of these lists on swimswam.

This person showed an interest in what you were doing. Appreciate that. Explain that it wasn’t that kind of meet.

Sorry. End rant.


if the majority of your swim meets are dual meets, you are not a competitive swimmer. you may know how to swim, but you are certainly not competitive. competitive swimmers usually belong to a club team within the USA Swimming organization, and dual meets are certainly not the norm there.


I think, Joe, you mean they aren’t necessarily a professional swimmer. Professional does not equal competitive. Even NCAA Div I teams swim dual meets, and obviously DI is incredibly competitive – ex. the above mentioned Ryan Lochte swam DI in college, and to get on to Gregg Troy’s team, he probably swam a lot of dual meets in high school. Even Missy Franklin has to swim dual meets for Berkeley. And as a DIII swimmer, I’d like to say that I may not be very fast, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t “competitive.” As for #1, the annoyance IS regarding the people who think of football or baseball – think of it in the traditional sense rather than an individual… Read more »


The intentions may be nice, but the author is right, it’s annoying. I appreciate the effort but swimming is a lot more complea than just winning.

Swim Dad

I agree. I think it’s not only an innocent question, but a valid one. My daughter at times gets her medals and ribbons that say “first place” with details of event on back. She can then say “I won 100 fly but nothing else” or state where she placed. I think when a FRIEND asks this question they don’t actually care about the club/team but are asking how their friend placed.


I think it was implied that the question was a more personal: Did you (second person, singular) win your meet? Which then does lend itself to the rightful annoyance of swimmers.


Any person who wakes up at 5:15 is privileged… Wake up at 3:50 then complain… Only thing I contest to.


#13- Understanding that you’re not the center of everyone’s universe and you should take people’s interest in your life as a compliment.

About Bryana Cielo

Bryana Cielo

Bryana Cielo Shortly after Bryana Cielo’s birth, she developed her love of water at her family beach house–and hasn’t stopped since. At the conclusion of her swim lessons at age 7, it was recommended that she try out for the local summer swim team. After her first season, she won the …

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