Written by and courtesy of: Elena Evans has been a competitive swimmer for 13 years, and currently lives in Williamsburg, Virginia. She is a member of 757swim, the Queens Lake Eagles, and the York High School Swim team.
Every swimmer has those days where they come home after hours of training and just throw themselves on their bed and ask themselves “why am I doing this?” The fact of the matter is that only a very select group of swimmers will walk away from the sport with an Olympic medal, a national title, or a college scholarship. So you’re putting everything you have into a sport that will most likely spend more money than it earns, rob you of pretty much any social life outside of the pool, and push your body to the absolute limit every single day. There has to be something besides gold medal glory that swimming gives us in return for the countless hours of training, the blood, the sweat, and the tears. The things you receive aren’t tangible, but they shape the person you’ll be for the rest of your life.
I struggled for a long time to come to terms with the fact that I will never swim at the Olympics, in fact not even close. I kept asking myself what the point of pushing myself to the very extreme of my physical and mental limits if I wasn’t even going to get anything out of it. What I didn’t realize was that that the traits that I acquired were far more valuable than any medal or title. Because of swimming, I am confident in the body that I have because it has been shaped by every pull and every kick that I do when I don’t think I can go one meter more. No challenge seems too intimidating when you’ve faced a set of 10×400 IM’s at
When a swimmer leaves the sport behind, they don’t lose the lessons that years of the sport has ingrained in them. There will always be that athlete’s mentality inside of them that is constantly pushing them to be the best that they can be, as students, as employees, as parents, and as people. We won’t all walk away from the sport with national or state titles, but we all take the knowledge and experiences that only swimming can give.
Written by and courtesy of Elena Evans.