It’s okay. I know it doesn’t feel like it right now. But it is…
I know you feel like you did all this training for nothing and you expected more from yourself. We’ve all been there. And it’s okay.
The main thing you have to remember is this: swimming isn’t everything. Right now, in the midst of your emotions, it’s definitely a hard thing to remember. But put your life in perspective: you are not just a swimmer. You are a son or daughter, a friend, a teammate. You are whatever you want to be. There is more to life than swimming. Defining your self-worth by how fast you can go from one wall to the other is like saying that every person who ever lives can only choose one passion. And if they have a setback, they’re doomed.
Remind yourself that even though you didn’t reach your goals, you still accomplished so much.
Swim training is extremely rigorous, and you got through. Hours and hours on end of training. It would be difficult for the average person to do this, but you’re not average. You’re an athlete competing in one of the hardest sports out there. And that’s something to be proud of in itself.
If you want to, take some time off. Exercise another way. Go for a few runs, work some machines at the gym, sweat a little. Change is good. Necessary, even. By the time you return in the spring, you’ll be craving the water. The chlorine smell doesn’t seem like something you’d miss but you’ll start to realize it’s not there anymore. When you go back in spring, you’ll work harder than ever.
Let failure fuel you.
Let it make you angry but don’t dwell on it. Use the anger to motivate you to make sure the same thing doesn’t happen again next season. It won’t.