Courtesy of Lindsey Fano
It’s mid-season invite season which means swimmers all over are competing in some big meets, maybe for the first time all season. While it’s fun to get up and swim fast, it can also be pretty intimidating. Here are five things to remember at any big swim meet.
1. A pool is always a pool
It doesn’t matter if it’s your local neighborhood pool where you learned to swim or an Olympic aquatic center, a pool will always be a pool. Sure, the facility might look different, the lane ropes might be different colors but in the end it’s still a rectangular hole in the ground filled with water. Take comfort in knowing your home (the pool) goes with you know matter where you are.
2. It’s ok to be nervous
As my coach likes to say, being nervous means you care. That’s a good thing. Take some time to yourself to acknowledge your nerves and understand why you feel that way. Then, take those butterflies and use them to motivate you to swim even faster.
3. Trust your training
Everything you’ve done up to this point has prepared you for this moment. You’ve put in the hours and now it’s time to show it off. Trust your body, your coach, and everything that’s gotten you to this point.
4. Let everyone else do the worrying
Over-analyzing other swimmers and their performances is never going to help you. Yes, being nervous is ok, but worrying about other people is a waste of time. Focus on your race and leave the worrying to everyone else.
5. Pressure is a privilege
Big meets tend to make swimmers feel like there is a lot of pressure on them to perform well. There’s the pressure of not letting your team or your coach down and also the pressure of not letting yourself down. We’re under constant pressure to win a race or go a best time. It can be a lot. But, this pressure means that you have something to prove. It means people believe in you. Pressure means you are a part of something greater than yourself. Instead of feeling burdened by all these pressure, embrace it.