Mourning A Perfectly Imperfect Career

by SwimSwam Contributors 5

February 17th, 2022 Lifestyle

Courtesy: Liv Swanson

My swimming career is over, 17 years later. That is that.

At this point, it’s not even about the swimming. It’s the feeling of being a part of something so amazing and so empowering that I am mourning.

My grief is not for the 5:45 lift/swims, but for the women, I’d get to see when I got there.

I am going to miss the feeling of driving my hand to the wall and hearing the stands cheer and not the time on the clock.

I will hold on to the memories of watching my teammates break national records rather than those of my own swims.

I am heartbroken over never being in that circle of women who support and uplift one another on their worst day and not over pushing my body beyond limits.

My tears are for the loss of the uniquely disciplined and driven environment our women created and not the immense pain I felt being pushed to swim through an injury every day.

I mourned my swimming career a long time ago. That process began the day I wasn’t allowed to train or compete with the team anymore and I had to swim alone every night in order to remain a member of the team. It started when I’d sob in the empty locker room as everyone had already done their practice and I felt so alone, isolated from my greatest support system. But even then, I was still an active member of Denison Women’s Swimming and Diving. Today, I am not. I am no longer a swimmer, but I am a BAWB and I always will be. I am forever a part of that legacy.


Liv Swanson is a senior at Denison University in Granville, Ohio and has been a member of the Denison women’s swimming and diving team for the last four years. Liv also represents Denison as a Campus Captain for the Hidden Opponent, an organization that advocates for student-athlete mental health support. She is originally from Eden Prairie, Minnesota where she swam for Aquajets Swim Club.

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11 months ago

I hope you give Master Swimming a try. People develop incredible friendships there too. And you can do it for the rest of your life.

11 months ago

How very sad and emotionally grueling to have to practice by oneself and be unable to compete-It can’t have been healthy for her emotional well-being. One would think her family or friends or trusted teammates would have stepped up to assist her so that she did not have to be on her own. Shame on Dennison for their lack of support for her.

Sunday Morning Grind
Reply to  Tabitha
11 months ago

The team always comes before the individual. Shame on you for not looking for the bigger picture.

Reply to  Tabitha
11 months ago

To be fair, there’s not really any context to understand what that “not allowed” is all about. I wouldn’t be comfortable taking sides unless I knew more.

Reply to  Tabitha
11 months ago

Hi I’m the author. Thank you for understanding and for your sympathy. I wasn’t going to let anyone dictate my last few months with this sport and with these women.