Life After Sport

by SwimSwam Contributors 3

August 04th, 2021 Lifestyle, Opinion

Courtesy: Rudo Loock

We put in so much time and effort doing something we love. We train our whole lives to get better at something that will eventually come to an end. Why do we do this? Perhaps it is to prove something to ourselves or our peers, or maybe it is for that sense of satisfaction when you finally reach your goals. Whatever your reason might be, the reality is that eventually, it ends. When this day comes around, it isn’t easy to move on. We have worked so hard to be the best, just for it to end so abruptly.

I remember the day I retired from swimming. I have been swimming competitively since I was nine years old. For fourteen long years, I have put everything I have into the sport. It was challenging to hang up my cap and goggles. At times I felt like my hard work and dedication to the sport was all for nothing. However, I realized that I had done everything I could, and now it is time to move on.

In this post, I will share some fantastic ways we, as athletes, can keep ourselves going after doing what we love for so long. These are all things that have helped me significantly to keep moving forward without looking back.

1) Find a way to share your knowledge with others

This was probably the one that helped me the most. My love and passion for swimming allowed me to stay in the sport with coaching and, of course, this blog. These two ways will hopefully enable me to make a difference in others’ lives. My goal is to share what I have learned throughout my years with as many people as possible.

Sharing your knowledge with others is an excellent way for you to keep doing what you have done for so many years. The best part is that it does not require you to start from scratch. You already have the background. Now, you need to find the right way to share all the lessons and skills you have learned.

2) Find another challenge

As athletes, we tend to be overly competitive. We all know that one guy that wants to turn everything into a competition. There is nothing wrong with being competitive. After all, that is what made us all great athletes. However, once it all ends, we feel empty. At least, this is how I felt. We miss our teammates, and we miss the competition with each other every day. So what do we do now?

Go out and find something else to challenge you. Yes, it might not be on the same level as what you have done, but you might find that it brings the same satisfaction when you achieve your goals. We are athletes because we love competition with ourselves and with others. It is what makes us who we are.

3) How can you use the lessons and skills you have learned going forward?

The third and final step you can think about is what have you learned throughout your many years of competing and how you can use it moving forward. Sport is a fantastic thing in our lives. It teaches us so many valuable life lessons. For example, how to perform in a team environment or the importance of work ethic if we want to succeed.
You probably already thought of a few others as well. The thing is, sport prepared you for your life after retirement in ways you probably never thought of. It made us believe that we can do anything and everything. The only requirement is commitment. If you stay committed to your goals, then you will achieve great things.

Life after sport is challenging. So it is a good thing that we welcome challenges. We know what it feels like to be knocked down, and we know how to get back up again. If you ever feel scared about what lies ahead, remember all the great, challenging things you have overcome throughout your career. I can honestly say that I don’t regret anything and am excited for the long road ahead of me.

Please tell me in the comment section below which of these steps you will use or have used that worked for you. I would also love to hear about all the different actions you have taken in your life after sport.


My name is Rudo Loock and I am from South Africa. I was blessed with an opportunity to go swim for Florida State University. I am a 4-time ACC qualifier and one time NCAA qualifier. After battling many ups and downs throughout my career, I now aim to share my knowledge about the sport’s physical and mental side through my personal blog at with the rest of the swimming world.

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James Couvillon
1 year ago

I was only a high school competitor in water polo. Something known as life happened when going to college. Later in life I got a competitive spark back. Nearly 20 years after my last water polo match, I went into marathoning and half marathoning. I know I am not going to win a Boston Marathon, but competing to finish, just awesome. Actually I failed at my first attempt, the dreaded DNF. Most people would have walked away, I went back to the water, where I just had my thoughts. What do I need to change. The answer was I needed cross training, the pool helped with the cross training.

1 year ago

Awesome article!!

Rudo Loock
Reply to  FLSwimmer
1 year ago

Thank you! I appreciate it:)