Courtesy of Nikki Flynn, SwimSwam intern. Follow: @NikkiFlynn3
Ask any college level swimmer when they started swimming, and they will most likely say somewhere between the ages of 6-10 years old. However, you may find a swimmer that has just broken into the community, and they are an enigma. If you are one of those few and far between, you know these things to be true:
Your parents pretend to know what’s going on, and they will always be proud of you. “Great job, you looked great!!” “Dad, I gained 4 seconds in a 50…”
You probably started swimming because of an inability to perform in another sport. Whether it was due to an injury or getting cut your freshman year from your dream team, you wanted to keep active and there was always room on the swim team.
You have to have some natural talent to make it. Initially. You would have never kept swimming if you didn’t have some natural talent that was recognized early on.
You realize your talent won’t get you to your goal, and you start working your butt off. Once this happens, people actually start to take you seriously. Workouts become daily challenges to help you reach your goal.
You secretly like to brag about how few years you have been competing. “You’ve only been swimming for 8 years??” “I actually didn’t get competitive until about 3 years ago…”
You may not have known how to do a certain stroke or turn when you got to college. Since you didn’t start from the beginning, you never truly learned how to do some things that are taught in basic swim lessons. To your coach’s dismay, you finally learn how to do that pesky open turn, or swim backstroke like the rest of the swimming community.
People don’t think you work hard, because you don’t have 10+ years of training under your belt. Initially, there are the naysayers that call you out for “sandbagging” or being a Sally Save-Up. Little do they know you had no idea how to swim the set properly due to lack of experience.
You still love the sport, unconditionally. Swimming can truly be a love-hate sport, but for new swimmers there is significantly more love. You haven’t had enough time to “burn out”, and there is still so much progress to be made.
At the end of your career, you aren’t ready to be done. You simply haven’t had enough time to do what you love!