For many senior college swimmers, this weekend marks the end of their swimming careers. Others have earned cuts for nationals, and have earned themselves a few more weeks to earn one last title. After years of dedicating hours each day to swimming, these swimmers will be figuring out how to spend their newfound free time. Some will join master’s swim teams, while others will fill the time with new hobbies and activities. Either way, those years spent at the pool have led to lifelong friendships, cherished memories, and too many accomplishments to count.
In the moment, it’s bittersweet to think that the last race is the last race. It’s the last time you will put on a skin-tight racing suit. It’s the last time you will dive into the pool with your team cheering you on. And, it’s the last time you will touch the wall and look up at the scoreboard to see your time. But, in that moment, you will also think back to the memories that made swimming so much fun. The times you made cuts for meets. The times you traveled with your teammates to meets. The times you cheered so loudly that you lost your voice the next day.
In the end, you will remember those memories when you reminisce on your swimming career. You will value the friendships created through swimming and the lifelong lessons you learned. Whether your last meet was a huge success or not, don’t dwell on the performance. Remember, instead, the journey, the friends, and the memories.
Years ago, my coach told me that after your swimming career is over, you won’t remember your times, but you will remember the time you spent at the pool and the memories with your team.
He was right.