Courtesy of Donna Hale
It is an Olympic Year so visions of Rio are dancing in the heads of swimmers far and wide. No one denies that somewhere deep inside of almost every true swimmer lies this dream. Everyone also realizes that for most ordinary athletes swimming is not about making the Olympics or even the trials. If you wanna love the sport your whole life, it is important to embrace your own destiny. Even if you are not Rio bound, here’s how you can enjoy an amazing ride one stroke at a time.
Swim because you love it.
I see kids everyday who do it for mom, dad, or a coach. Don’t be that person. Swim because it makes you happy, inspired and whole. Give me a good swimmer with a big heart any day over the best athlete in water who simply does not wanna be there. It is the kids with heart who inspire others to succeed.
Have a goal.
It’s great to dream. But if you want to get the most of this journey, figure out where you can really go and how you will get there. So many kids enter the college hunt without figuring this out. If you love the sport in your soul choose a place where you are an integral part of the team. Be your best not someone’s else’s vision of who you should be.
Focus on why you started swimming so many years ago.
What motivated that five year old to learn to fly? There are many ways to spend your precious free time as you get older. The why matters. Be proud of what you have accomplished. Remember when.
Enjoy THE moments.
If you’re a swimmer through and through you know what I mean. Your first blue ribbon. Your first medal. Save them. Your first team trip. Treasure the photos. The silly moments. Striving to get better is a part of being a swimmer. But your journey is not totally about the destination. It’s about MOMENTS. Laugh. Cry. Dance. But live in the moment.
Appreciate your greatness.
Yes you are great. You dedicate yourself to a schedule few could endure. You deal with setbacks. You sacrifice. And you keeping come back to swim back and forth often alone with your thoughts. Savor your gift.
Love your teammates and coaches.
Yes. I said love them. They are your partners. They push you. Cheer for you. Celebrate your success. And console you in the life lessons you gain from your swimming. It is the very best part of this sport. Lifetime friends bound together by passion and power. You are one of the lucky ones.
Donna Hale has been a swim mom for 12 years as well as executive of several nonprofit organizations. She volunteers regularly for her daughter Hannah’s USA Team The Potomac Marlins, summer team Burke Station Destroyers, and Lake Braddock Swim and Dive Bruins.