Courtesy of Bryce Perica, a swimmer who swam and was a giant.
You’re horrible at IM, but you wish the 100 IM was an event in NCAA swimming.
To you, the 200 IM looks like an unpleasant race. You could finish it, but it wouldn’t be pretty. The 400 IM though? This is cruel and unusual punishment. You’re not sure how anyone does it and you have a deep respect for your teammates who swim it at every single meet. But the 100 IM, this is a different animal. You’re a sprinter. You may look like you’re drowning when swimming breaststroke, your arms may fail to clear water after 50 yards of butterfly, but you can handle 25 yards of each stroke. Individual Medley can be enjoyable and you can put in a decent time, just keep it to 100 yards.
You face a lot of practice envy.
While the rest of the team is doing a best average set of 10 x 200s, you get to do 6 x 50s all out from a dive. You’re still working hard, but it’s not a 2,000-yard set and, let’s be honest, you are having more fun than the rest of the team. At times, many of your teammates will be envious of your practice and this will come out in challenging expressions of anger and misunderstanding. You will spend a lot of time defending yourself and sprinter practices.
10 x 100s best average is a distance set for you.
When you see it on the sheet you do a double take and start panicking. Ten 100-yard swims, are you kidding me? You have two speeds, warm-up and fast. 10 x 100s is not part of warm-up so it means you have to sprint. How will you survive? You have no idea, but you have been here before so this is how the set will likely break down: #1-3. You’ll feel great. Your stroke will be long and powerful. #4. You’ll get a hint of your stroke weakening, perhaps combined with a brief moment of panic when you realize you have six more of these. #5. Maybe there will be a moment of fortitude here, with you holding your stroke together and bringing in a decent time. #6-7. In order to forget the pain, you focus more on just beating the person next to you. #8-10. These are the ugliest 100 freestyles you will ever swim.
To most everyone else on campus you look like a basketball or football player.
Unlike most other swimmers on your team, you might have some serious bulk on you and/or extraordinary height. To a fellow swimmer, you look like a sprinter, but everyone else you run into inquires about when the next basketball game might be. Do not worry; the matter will be cleared up when they see you actually show up for class.
You get an extra week of taper.
Ah, the most sacred part of the season and you get an extra week or more of it than the rest of your teammates. You thought they were envious of your practices in the middle of the season? Nothing compares to the eye daggers they are now sending you across the pool while you do some band work and 25s from the block. Just smile and wave.