How to stay motivated for college swimming in the summer

Let’s face it- it’s almost the middle summer and if you’re like me you’ve hit a low point in your summer training. College season seems about 100 years away, it feels a little weird to be back with your high school team, you most likely have a job that demands a lot of time and energy, and, honestly, tanning by the pool sounds like a much better option than getting in and swimming laps. Despite all those factors you (usually) still find a way to drag yourself to the pool every morning because a tiny voice in your head reminds you that the work you put in during the off-season actually does pay off. This little voice though is getting quieter as the days go by and if you don’t do something it might disappear completely. So what can you do? The list below has some suggestions that can maybe help you stay focused and motivated through a training season that is like a 50 meter pool: long, with no end in sight.

Be realistic

Two-a-days every day of the week for the whole summer is a recipe for getting fed up with training. So is getting up every morning at 5am. You know yourself better than anyone and you know what kind of training works and what doesn’t. Come up with a training plan that is challenging but also realistic. Even if you’re spending fewer hours in the pool overall, you’ll ensure the time you are swimming is spent well. Quality over quantity.

Keep your goals visible

True, your college championship meet is over half a year away but that doesn’t mean your goals disappear. Sometimes it’s hard to think that long-term which is why it’s important to keep your goals visible in your everyday life. Write them on a bathroom mirror, put them by your car keys or above your bed. The more you see your goals, the easier it is to re-focus on them day after day.

Find a friend

Maybe someone from your college team is close by or a former teammate who you like to train with swims at a local pool. Find them and swim with them. Not only does it make a practice more enjoyable if you have someone to suffer with you but it also keeps you accountable for your practice attendance.

Mix it up

Just because you’re training for a swim season doesn’t mean you’re limited to only swimming. Not only is changing up your form of exercise a way to stay motivated, it can also be really good for your body and your swimming. Try something new so you’re not burned out once the fall season rolls around.

Make a playlist

Pump up music is one way to get from your early morning sleepy stage into a good practice mindset. Make a playlist you can listen to while getting ready or in your car. Even though it seems like a small detail, listening to your favorite music can wake you up and put you in a better mood. Plus it’s always nice to have a song you like stuck in your head while swimming back and forth.

Acknowledge accomplishments

It’s ok to be proud of yourself! Whether it’s making it to all of your morning practices one week or cranking out an awesome practice time, make sure you take time to acknowledge what you’ve succeeded in. You have to be your own cheerleader, especially in summer swimming.


Even though it’s the middle of summer, it’s a good idea to check in with your training. Reflect on your successes but also your failures. Where can you improve or evolve your training? How are you working towards your goals- both short-term and long-term ones? What can you continue to do? By asking yourself these questions, you can ensure your training stays interesting and useful. Training without a goal or purpose quickly starts to feel pointless.

Hopefully some of these suggestions help you re-energize your summer training. Hang in there- just like a 50 meter pool, the end may be far away but it’s always there. College season will be here before you know it.

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Jennifer Parks
7 years ago

As a former college coach, it’s great to read this article. Some swimmers thrive on summer work, others need a kind of mental break…like all of the above ideas: change it up a little, work on technique, or a different stroke, different lifting regimen, run, bike, too.

About Lindsey Fano

Lindsey Fano

Background Lindsey started swimming on a summer club at the age of 6. Despite numerous attempts to persuade her to join a club team, she continued with the same summer league team for 13 years. Until high school, swimming was a small part of her life and she did it mainly …

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