10 Things That Should Not Be Said to a Swimmer

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10 Things That Should Not Be Said to a Swimmer

By Brooke Irving, Swimming World College Intern

Swimmers lead a lifestyle that doesn’t make sense to non-swimmers. But can we really blame them for not understanding? Like no other, we voluntarily jump into a cold pool in the dead of winter (most often more than six times per week) and spend hours at swim meets only to actually swim for a couple minutes. As a swimmer, we are far too familiar with Aunt Susan’s questions at Thanksgiving, or footballer-Michael-from-English-class’s assumptions about the sport we are so passionate about. On a daily basis non-swimmers say things to us, which quite frankly grind our gears. As much as we may smile and respond, on the inside we are gritting our teeth as our faces heat up with irritation. So, here are some things you should never say to a swimmer in order to avoid our wrath:

“Swimming isn’t a sport”

This one sentence alone has the power to make any swimmer’s blood boil. For the non-swimmer, swimming may be a leisurely way to spend your summer holiday, but if you think that swimmers spend hours per week in practice floating up and down on an inflatable, you’re wrong. Swimming requires skill, strength, endurance and a determined mindset. To any non-swimmer who thinks this, I hereby invite you to a swim practice, oh and the main set is 4 x 200 fly… 3 times through.

“You’re going to eat all that?”

pasta-spaghetti-food-swimmers

Photo Courtesy: ponce_photography

This bowl of spaghetti, a chicken sandwich and a side salad? Yes, of course, and I will probably have this carton of chocolate milk too… And that’s just lunch. As competitive swimmers we can burn up to 2,500 calories in a 2-hour practice, so food and nutrition is vital for recovery and performance in the pool.

“Did you win your meet?”

For us, it may not always be about winning. First and foremost, we as individual swimmers cannot win an entire meet. However, we take pride in the successes we make at competitions. A win for us may be the fact that we swam a new personal best, or that we won our heat, or our team may win the championship. This is a loaded question, so brace yourself as we explain how it all went down.

“Are you fast?”

Faster than you? Yes. Faster than an Olympian? No.

“We should have a race”

At this pool party, right now? That’s cute. I just don’t know if I would want to put you through the embarrassment when I get to the other end of this eight-metre pool in two seconds, while you’re still at the start line doing some weird form of breaststroke.

“A second is nothing”

A single millisecond holds indescribable value to a swimmer. A tenth of a second (.1) can be the difference between qualifying for a championship, winning gold, or beating your rival. Sometimes we may swim just one second faster than we have ever swam before, but that can be make or break.

“Can you just skip practice?”

Unfortunately, I haven’t injured myself, which is the only redeemable token to miss practice. But, if you’d like you can call my coach and hear their wrath of fury when they find out I’m missing practice to go to the cinemas, go ahead!

“Will you make it to the Olympics?”

Olympic-flag-rings

Photo Courtesy: Wikipedia

Every swimmer wishes that they would be at the Olympic Games one day. But the reality is, we just aren’t sure if we will be! There are billions of competitive swimmers worldwide, and we all can’t be the next Michael Phelps.

“How many laps did you do at practice?”

One second and let me get out my calculator and add up every set and divide by the length of the pool. We don’t really count the laps, but rather the distance we do in our sets.

“Aren’t you tired?

After getting up at 5:30 a.m. for the fourth morning in a row, we are certainly tired. But it’s all worth it. Swimmers have big goals to achieve, and we will put in the hard yards to get there.

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2 years ago

Grace Merrin ?

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2 years ago

Ryley
Milena
Stella ?

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2 years ago
Reply to  Julie Taylor

Julie Taylor lucky we’re all swimmers here!

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Catherine hey
2 years ago
Reply to  Milena Babic

Well said! As an ex swimmers
Mother I know exactly how hard they have to work along with schoolwork too!

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2 years ago
Reply to  Julie Taylor

Julie Taylor aghhh I hate when people say those things to me! They just don’t get it

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2 years ago
Reply to  Julie Taylor

“You’re going to eat all that” ????. Oh man and Millie thinks she’s always hungry

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2 years ago
Reply to  Julie Taylor

Stella Matthews you should have seen me in my swimming days!!

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2 years ago
Reply to  Julie Taylor

Ryley Eckert you understand

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M Cross
2 years ago
Reply to  Milena Babic

This is so true. Well said. Just keep swimming#

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2 years ago
Reply to  Julie Taylor

Milena Babic the amount of avo on toast (with feta and spinach from ink, duh!) I would eat was just ridiculous

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2 years ago

Matthew Lowe this made me laugh ?

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2 years ago

This one and ‘swimming isn’t exercise’ are really annoying!

“Swimming isn’t a sport”

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2 years ago

Holly Williams

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Anonymous
2 years ago

530? That’s a sleep in – we rise at 420 to be stretching at 450 !

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2 years ago

Peyton Becker Do you agree?!? ?

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2 years ago

How many football idiots have said that before that swimming is not a sport? Too many!

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2 years ago
Reply to  David Moreno

I had that happen to me in gym class where the football players were making fun of swimmers. We had to warm up with a 500 and they ALL died. Of course, we swimmers finished rather quickly. They asked us if we cheated. We replied that we did more than double than that for warm up every day! I think they changed their tune after that!

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2 years ago
Reply to  David Moreno

David Moreno so, my high school had a really nice tour bus donated to the sports program. It typically went to the football team, for their away games. We swimmers got tired of never getting the “good” bus so our coach challenged the football coach. “Send your 5 best players to my practice and I’ll send 5 of my swimmers that you choose to your practice. Whoever makes it through the whole practice gets the bus the rest of the year” the football coach picked me, two other girls and two guys. He sent 5 first string varsity seniors to do swim practice. All 5 of us swimmers made it through the entire 2 hour football practice. Not a single one of the football players made it halfway through our 4 hour swim practice!

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2 years ago
Reply to  David Moreno

Hallie Stoffal that what happens when you ask the body to move constantly for hours w/out stopping. Where football you get big breaks to rest and wait. I doubt they could do a full soccer practice! ?

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How about “When does your season end?”

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2 years ago

Also, “Are you ok?”

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2 years ago

Zoe Myers-Bochner this is a good one

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2 years ago

Madelin Hansen

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Colleen Kloiber
2 years ago

Swimmers are remarkably, talented athletes, dedicated to their sport. Proud grandmother of two high school swimmers

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Harry
2 years ago

This is gold

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Pete Hyset
2 years ago

It always amazed me that people would ask the same thing over and over year after year..
Yes, I get up at 4:15 am to make the 5:00 practice and after school I hit another 1:30 hour practice.. and the next week.. and the next week for the next year.

I never did get those questions.

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Brent
2 years ago

I am 53 years old .. and was a swimmer (once a swimmer, always a swimmer, right?!). I was a distance swimmer. I am not overweight, but just a typical 53-year-old guy. When friends find out I was a swimmer, I get the “you wanna race?”, I just smile … I have only lost once — to a swimmer (he was a sprinter). Side note … I beat, or rather ABSOLUTED CRUSHED, him in the “50 yards underwater” race 🙂 …

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1 year ago

Eoin Neeson

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Barbara Gould
1 year ago

How about the dumb questions the coaches get asked about swimming?

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1 year ago

Lily O’Toole this is a good read

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Kevin Pierce, Tim Pierce, Ashley Kulp Pierce

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1 year ago

Soooo true!!!!

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1 year ago

Nailed it ?

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Anonymous
1 year ago

Yep – at 63 I still get pissed at some of these questions

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Anonymous
1 year ago
Reply to  Anonymous

Robert Kannegieser my favorite:

“Is the Butterfly really that hard to do?”

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Mike zabel
1 year ago

I’m sorry but our milkshake machine is broken

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JBS
1 year ago

You swim the intermediate medley?

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Itza
1 year ago

I was told once that a baseball player is more of an athlete than a swimmer. UGH!!!

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Rob
6 months ago

I love the “wanna race …” to which we can reply: `and I’ll beat you without using my arms.’

25 underwater kick wins every time

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Andreas
1 month ago

“There are billions of competitive swimmers worldwide” really?

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Jean Wiegand
1 month ago

I was a coach for many years in Sarasota, Fla and I remember the looks on the faces of the owners of the buffet restaurants when our busses would pull in with a busload of swimmers to eat them out of the entire buffet many times on our bus trips for meets. Those kids could eat like no others.

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