by Olivier Poirier-Leroy. Join 14,000+ swimmers and coaches who read his motivational newsletter last week by clicking here.
Fancy a swimmer, do ya? It’s understandable, with their broad backs, chiseled mid-sections and habit of finding themselves mostly nude.
Here are some things you should know before you profess your love to your friendly neighborhood competitive swimmer:
1. The smell isn’t going anywhere. Get used to it. We might not be able to smell it, or notice, or frankly, care, but the smell of chlorine is our natural scent.
2. Free time is a rare commodity. Most weekends are off limits. Either there is a swim meet, or we are catching up on sleep, eating, and sleep. Weekdays aren’t much better either between unpacking and packing swim bags, homework, inhaling food and promptly passing out.
3. If you plan on buying, don’t take us out for dinner without a sizable brick of cash in your wallet. Suggestions: anywhere that has an all you can eat menu. We eat. A lot. (Here’s a tip: don’t make a face—whether you are impressed or disgusted—when we order seconds. This is what we do.)
4. If you don’t like muscles, move along. If you are a guy who isn’t into girls who have muscles, or a girl who isn’t into guys whose shoulders are as wide as doorways, than hit the bricks.
5. Movie theaters are a risky date choice. The combination of the darkness, full-backed, plush chairs and a double of distance workouts that day is a sure-fire recipe for a 2-hour pass out session.
6. If the teammates don’t like you, watch out. It’s hard enough dating someone who has the ever-judging parents and siblings, but swimmers take this to another level with teammates. They sweat, bleed and cry together. They swim up and down that black line for 15-20 hours a week, spend weekends traveling to compete, and see one another at their best and their worst.
7. The 1-2 punch to a swimmer’s affection. Ultimately, there are two keys to every swimmer’s heart: food, and excellent massage skills.
8. Don’t slag the sport. Swimmers can complain about the hours they put in, the lack of attention it gets compared to major sports, but you can’t hate on the sport. Yes, it’s bizarre that we complain about all the meters we have to swim, and then still do it anyway, but we earned it.
9. Her idea of “sleeping in” is different than yours. A nice leisurely 7am wake-up call is a luxury for your little swimming crush.
10. Don’t be the bad influence. Don’t be the guy or gal that tells their swimmer, “Oh, it’s just one morning workout.” The routine of a competitive swimmer doesn’t leave a lot of time for extracurriculars. This is the sacrifice that they have chosen to make. If you put them in a place where they have to choose between the sport they love and you, odds are pretty good you won’t like the answer.
11. When we say we are too tired to hang out, we actually are. Sure, the “I’m so tired” excuse might come across as suspect when it comes from a non-swimmer, but when your prospective datee says, “I can’t feel my shoulders and can’t move from the couch” they mean it.
12. Have our back. We don’t need you to obsess over the sport we love, nor do we want you at every one of our practices and meets (it’s great to have a non-swimming element in our life to provide balance, after all). But we certainly do appreciate someone who is a positive influence and is supportive as we tumble along the journey of swimming competitively.
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Note: We now have motivational swimming posters. Five of ’em, actually.
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