As club and high school swim teams begin to prepare for the start of their seasons, younger and newer swimmers can begin to feel overwhelmed with everything that is happening. This feeling is perfectly normal and is something that every swimmer goes through.
As a fellow swimmer, I know how daunting the beginning of the swim season can be, especially if you have never swum on a team before. I remember feeling incredibly nervous for my first couple of meets on the Randolph YMCA (RANY) team. I was nervous for my first few high school meets on the Randolph High School Lady Rams as well. No matter how long you have been swimming, the start of the season is always stressful. In response to this, I’ve asked some of my fellow teammates on RANY to share some advice that will help alleviate some of this stress.
The first piece of advice is from senior Andrew Matjucha. “Newer swimmers should just keep working at it; it’s not always going to be easy, and you’re not always going to get a best time,” said Matjucha. “But, if you’re working your hardest, you’ll get the results you want down the line.”
This does not just apply to newer swimmers-it applies to everyone. We will all have those days where we don’t feel 100%, but that doesn’t mean you stop trying. You should always give it your all, no matter what.
Alexa Petrie, a member of RANY’s YMCA National’s team, explains that “your best is not other people’s best. You are you, and the only thing that you can change is yourself, so don’t worry about anything else.”
When you are racing, the other swimmers don’t matter. Each swimmer’s concern should be how they personally are doing. It’s a race between you and the clock, so don’t let yourself dwell on how other people are swimming.
One problem that all swimmers face is figuring out what event and stroke they are best at. Instead, young swimmers should focus on improving all of the strokes. Eventually everyone finds their event, but that may take time.
Senior Benjamin Sorrentino offers great advice on this topic. He explains that swimmers should “try every event more than once. You might find something you’re really good at.” This is important to keep in mind, especially at the beginning of the season where you have the opportunity to try events you don’t normally swim.
The last pieces of advice go hand-in-hand. During practice, there will be times where your coaches are pushing you out of your comfort zone to see what you can do. Michael Pietrucha, a senior on RANY, says that “if it hurts, it’s working.” While this may seem odd, he’s right. You will never know how fast you can go unless your coach is pushing you.
Connor Poetsch, another member of the senior group on RANY, furthers this point by stating, “trust your coach, your coach wants to bring out the best in you. Those hard practices will make you a better swimmer, you just have to put in the effort.”
I wish all of my fellow swimmers a fantastic season. Everyone has the potential for greatness, you just have to keep working hard and to realize you can do it.
Courtney Poetsch has been swimming on RANY since she was 9 years old. She is a member of her high school team. She has swum at the YMCA New Jersey State Championships. She is a distance freestyler and a butterflyer.