Dear Swimming, The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me

You have made me cry a million times. You’ve made me think to the point of mental exhaustion, and you’ve broken down my body. You’ve made me immune to Advil.

But at the same time, you’ve made me smile a million and one times. You’ve taught me how to have a winner’s mindset and how to fight through physical pain. You’ve taught me how to help myself.

It’s no question you are one of the hardest sports out there. Us swimmers need to be fit, but not just in our legs or our arms. Everywhere. Your training is relentless. The clock has no mercy. It won’t hear our excuses.

And even when we’re positive and we put all of ourselves into you, sometimes races still don’t go our way. Because mental strength is just as important. We have to know how to make our bodies do exactly what it needs to do, at exactly the right moment. And if we make one mistake, it could cost us half a second. And half a second could mean everything.

As much as you have broken down my confidence, you’ve built it right back up.  You have enabled me to discipline myself like very few people in this world ever will.  You have taught me how to prioritize.  But, most importantly, you have taught me how to keep pushing when the going gets tough.  And it took me a long time to realize how strong you have made me.

Throughout my decade as a swimmer, I’ve watched so many people quit.  I’ve asked myself why I swim.  But the answer was always simple: I just can’t give it up.

Even though it’s been a few years since I’ve swum a lifetime best, I’ve come too far to quit.  You’ve planted a strong desire in me to lower the number on the board.  It’s never gone away, and I don’t think it ever will.  That desire is what makes us true athletes.  The relentless, never-good-enough attitude.  Always wanting to be better.  Thank you for making me always want to be better.

You are a huge part of who I am.  I’ve never seen another sport that is as complex as you are.  You’re a team sport, but if we mess up, it’s on us, and only us.  You’re physically challenging but you also force us to be in incredibly good mental shape.  And nothing teaches dedication like staring at the same black line for 15 hours a week.

I held onto you because no matter how much you broke me down on the pool deck, you’ve made me so much stronger emotionally, intellectually, and academically.  And I wouldn’t trade that strength for anything.

Thank you for presenting me with my most testing moments, and forcing me to be strong.  Thank you for allowing me to make mistakes, and making me realize that it’s okay.

Thank you for being my home.  My safe haven.  My happy place.

I love you so much.


A Forever Indebted Swimmer

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6 years ago

This is perfect. As a college swimmer in my final year, it brought tears to my eyes. Happy tears, sad tears, and everything in between. I’m forever grateful that I hopped up on the block 16 years ago.

Peyton Fulmer
Reply to  SeniorYear
6 years ago

I am so lucky to be a swimmer. Swimming prepares you for life and also teaches you true friendship.

6 years ago

Dear Swimming…. the best thing that ever happened to my kid.

Reply to  swimmom
6 years ago


swim mom timer
6 years ago

I am so lucky to have experienced the swim meets with the girls who changed before my eyes into young women. Their dedication was something to be admired. The teamwork I witnessed was extraordinary. I would not trade that experience for anything.

Lisa Michael
6 years ago

Dear Swimming,
You are the best thing that ever happened to our family. You made our life an amazing journey, allowing us to meet people we would’ve never met, nurture friendships that will last our lifetimes and create a life that most only dream about, possible.
Love you forever,
A proud swim momma & her two sons

Swimmer's #1 Fan
6 years ago

Thank you Swimming for showing my kids that dreams can come true, that goals can be achieved, records can be broken and that life continues to bring on unique challenges. You have given them so many skills, the strength to reach for the stars and believe that there it is darkest before the dawn, but that each scary step is worth it in the end.

Thank you for the strength to help me pick them up, drop them off, to cheer no matter what, for the understanding that comes along with the hard times, for showing me the joy of the wins, the great friendships on and off the pool deck. I love you, Swimming. Thank you for helping… Read more »

6 years ago

You have been the sport that not only told people what I did but who I was and blessed me to be able to see my daughters go through all the ups and downs of the sports that too defined them.

Proud swim Momma
6 years ago

Thanks swimming for helping to make my baby girl the wonderful young woman she is today. You instilled a sense of responsibility and dedication that only a team and individual sport can. That has carried over to her adult life and helped shape her life as a new wife and L&D nurse.

6 years ago

Dear Bryana,

thank you so much for sharing this valuable and incredible article!
A great reminder!
That was exactly what I needed to read today after my morning swim practice. We had a really tough set today and I got super frustrated, but after reading this inspirational article, I calmed myself down and I am ready now what comes next.
Choosing a college swim career is the best thing I and many other young people could do as a swimmer.

Reply to  Nana
6 years ago

So glad you enjoyed it! Keep pushing through, it’s well worth it 🙂

Reply to  Nana
6 years ago

So glad you enjoyed it! Keep pushing, it’s well worth it 🙂

About Bryana Cielo

Bryana Cielo

Bryana Cielo Shortly after Bryana Cielo’s birth, she developed her love of water at her family beach house–and hasn’t stopped since. At the conclusion of her swim lessons at age 7, it was recommended that she try out for the local summer swim team. After her first season, she won the …

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