To the retiring college swimmer,
You probably only have a few months left of your swimming career. You’re so close. You’ve been giving this sport your all for what feels like an eternity. It makes sense that you’re just about ready to be done. Swimming is a huge commitment – it takes everything you have. Not only your time, but your strength, your patience, you name it. But you already know that.
It might feel like a relief once you get out of the pool for the last time. And you’ll have earned that feeling. Because no matter what that clock says, you’ll know that you did it. Being a college athlete is a huge accomplishment in itself, but swimming is a whole different level. It’s difficult enough to get to the level of being a varsity athlete in college. But pushing through four years? College is the time when you really find yourself. Dedicating those years to compete at such a high level and making it is an insane accomplishment.
You probably can’t wait to feel the satisfaction of knowing that you gave it your all and accomplished what most people can’t do. It’s understandable. Sometimes, swimming feels like a huge weight on your shoulders that you just can’t seem to get rid of.
What you might not know is that it’s a part of you. Swimming is part of your identity. It’s not something you just do. It’s far more than that.
Swimming instills a drive in you that you probably don’t even realize you have. The drive to get better. To lower the time on the clock. Each practice is fueled by the desire to get better.
Your body gets used to being pushed to its limits. Your brain will continue to wake you up early as if you have practice. You’ll wonder what to do with all of that extra time you have for the last few months of college. You’ll learn what it’s like to be a “normal” college student.
But you’re going to miss it. You may not know that now, but try to cherish the last few months of something you’ve known for your whole life. You will remember your lasts more than you’ll remember anything else. Your last home and championship meets, your last team dinner, and your very last race. That will stay ingrained in your memory forever.
Try to enjoy those 5 a.m. wakeups, impossible intervals, and 200 flys. Remember that the “lasts” are coming up. They only happen once.