15 Ways Swimmers Do It Much Better

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.

Here are just 15 of the ways that swimmers do it a little better:

1. Swimming is something you can pick up at any age. Masters swimming provides a fantastic example of this; there aren’t too many sports out there that have thriving masters scenes. It’s not limited to former age groupers either; there are tons of men and women who get into the sport later in life.

2. It’s a team and an individual sport. We have our individual races, plus the relays, plus the overall team points and competition at meets. We churn up and down those lane lines lost in our thoughts, and then get up at swim meets and cheer for swimmers in groups on our team we have never trained with.

3. It’s the only sport that quite literally saves lives. According to the CDC, for kids under the age of 14, drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional death, and is fifth for all age groups combined. Forget it as being a competitive sport for a moment, swimming is a life saving skill to have.

4. We have simple pleasures. Tapers, sprint sets, and three magic words – “get out swim!

5. We wear parkas in the dead of summer. Because warming up three times during a long finals session is less appealing.

6. Swimmers sound straight gangster when detailing workouts. Telling a non-swimmer how much we did that morning always gets a couple raised eyebrows and a “how many laps is that?” Explaining your workout in “thousands” is pretty much certified badass.

7. Your split-breaking skills are approaching “A Beautiful Mind” levels. Ask any non swimmer to split 2:00 into 4 parts. They might say “50” or more likely give you a strange look. But a swimmer can not only break it evenly, but also account for a slightly faster first 50 thanks to the dive. And that can help with, like, counting and stuff later in life.

8. Swimmers are a shockingly good looking bunch. Broad back, ripped mid-sections, and chiseled shoulders. Pretty much all that needs to be said.

9. You get to unplug from your cell phone, friends, social media, and so on. You can’t hide your cell phone in your suit, or check your Facebook between sets. Swimming allows you the opportunity to fully unplug and worry only about you and the water.

10. Quietly proud of our work ethic. We practically invented the term “two-a-days.” Football players describe their stretch of two-a-days as “Hell Week” or “Double Days.” We call it another week at the office.

11. Other sports have Gatorade baths; we throw our coaches into the pool. Nothing says “great meet!” than a coach who is sopping from head-to-toe, and still manages to have the biggest grin of anyone on deck. (Just remember to give him a second to pull his phone out of his pocket before tossing him into the drink.)

12. Speedo tans. No farmer tans here; swimmers get a nice, relatively even tan. With the exception of the goggle strap tan.

13. 8,000 calorie meal plans. Voracious appetites make for expensive food bills (thanks, Mom!), but it’s pretty satisfying devouring pasta by the litre after a massive workout. The ensuing carb nap is always awesome as well. Just remember to stop eating like that in the off-season.

14. Complete strangers will cheer for you when you are having the race of your life. A handful of times at a competition you’ll have a swimmer doing something special. It’s usually threatening a record, but whatever it is, the crowd senses it and gets behind the swimmer. Teams and  allegiances don’t matter anymore. All that matters is helping to cheer that kid to the wall. There is quite possibly no better feeling in the world than surfacing for a breath and hearing the whole building unleash a collective, “GO!

15. Diving into the water is like hitting the reset button in life. It’s a Zen-like feeling, when you dive into a quiet lane, leaving the stresses and troubles behind you as the cold, crisp water washes you anew. The annoyances of day-to-day life — for an hour at least — disappear with those first few strokes.

Can you think of any other ways that swimmers simply just do it better? List them in the comments below!

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7 years ago

Three words for what older swimmers don’t know they enjoy working on:

‘Streamline Butterfly Kick’

That is all.

7 years ago

Two things I love about this article:
1. The photograph. Thank you, Jesus, for God’s design of what male swimmers typically look like. Lord have mercy. I’m so happy today!
2. #15 in the article about how blissful it feels to dive into the water and leave the earth behind. I am more at home in the water. I feel amphibious and free of my weight, free of gravity. Again, I am happy.

Reply to  Mary Roach
7 years ago

Yeah. All male swimmers look like that. I keep telling my wife that, but she sees something else in the mirror 😉

Scott Doherty
Reply to  SwimmingDidnotripme
6 years ago

I’m about half to 2/3 there………shoulders, arms, back are good…..my 51 year old waistline isn’t quite that trim but that would probably require giving up beer and who wants to do that? I love swimming but not THAT much.

A Person
Reply to  SwimmingDidnotripme
5 years ago

On my team they are all ugly ?.

7 years ago

Great list, but methinks your Canuck upbringing overly influenced #5. Parkas in the summer? I feel so sorry for you. Come down to Tempe in July sometime.

Reply to  AZsunswimmer
7 years ago

Or Bakersfield, CA during July at Sectionals. Don’t care how many races you have on night 3, warming up is going to be far better than putting on that parka when its 110+

Reply to  AZsunswimmer
7 years ago

I’ll bring my toque as well 🙂

About Olivier Poirier-Leroy

Olivier Poirier-Leroy

Olivier Poirier-Leroy has been involved in competitive swimming for most of his life. Starting off at the age of 6 he was thrown in the water at the local pool for swim lessons and since then has never wanted to get out. A nationally top ranked age grouper as both a …

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