13 Thoughts Every Swimmer Has During Practice

Photo Courtesy: Kathleen Samland

13 Thoughts Every Swimmer Has During Practice

By Isabelle Robuck

Staring at a black line for two hours can be pretty grueling sometimes. With long sets, the alone time gives our mind a chance to wander far beyond just swimming. Here are 13 thoughts that every swimmer has during practice!

1. Ouch!

Belinda Hocking showing the strain of another hard set of training. University of Auburn Aquatic Centre, Alabama USA. Australian Olympic Swimming Team are in their final training staging Camp before heading over to the Rio2016 Olympic Games. July 29 2016. Photo by Delly Carr. Pic credit mandatory for complimentary exclusive editorial usage. Thank You.

Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr / Swimming Australia Ltd.

This is probably the most universally used word at practice. To get better, you have to work hard; if you work hard, chances are you’ll feel pain. But swimmers know all too well – no pain, no gain!

2. What are we doing next?

Kick? Stroke? Pull? Drills? Sometimes, what we’re doing next dictates how hard we push in the current set (although it shouldn’t). Nonetheless, portioning out our energy saves trouble in the end, and we’re not as gassed for the rest of the day’s endeavors, like weights and dryland.

3. Oh, that’s the answer to the question that was on my test!

ajroberts-smiling-swimming-summer league

Photo Courtesy: Colin Sheridan

During long sets, it’s almost impossible to catch your mind from wondering off into oblivion. “What shirt am I going to wear to dinner tomorrow? What am I swimming at the meet this weekend? Hopefully not the 200 butterfly! What movie are we going to watch tonight? Wait – what number are we on?” Often, you end up reviewing the day and – on the rare occasion – have a light-bulb moment.

4. What’s for dinner?

What’s best part of finishing practice? Your post-practice meal! That’s right, there’s nothing quite like your favorite meal after a grueling workout. Although nutritious foods replenish our body properly, it can be fun to splurge on a cheeseburger or pizza every now and then. A delicious reward after a long day never felt so good. But don’t worry, only every once and a while, right?

5. This must be what death feels like.

training trip-uvm-vermont-tired-practice-hard

Photo Courtesy: Kristina Posnick

Swimming is all fun and games until your legs and arms fall off simultaneously. On top of that, you haven’t finished the set yet; you’re only halfway through practice. All that’s left to think is: “Oh, no…”

6. *Crying*

Whether it be tears of joy, defeat, or pain, we’ve all shed a tear or two during practice. Sometimes, a good cry helps alleviate some of practices struggles. In this case, cry on! Your goggles will wipe away your tears.

On the other hand, if you’ve finally cut time in your best event after six years, you can’t help but cry tears of joy- and a lot of them.

7. I should have used the restroom.

You’re probably familiar with that painful feeling when you forget to use the restroom before a set begins. Now, not even half way through, you’re regretting your life decisions. Not to mention, knowing that you can’t go for a while makes your remorse that much worse. In addition, the bathroom is a good hide-and-go-seek spot when coach rattles off a rough set.

8. You’re not serious, are you?


Photo Courtesy: Chandler Brandes

“There’s no way that set is possible, coach. I mean, come on! That’s not even a realistic interval, and you want me to do 12 of them? No way, Jose. I’m going to the bathroom now.”

9. Only four? That’s a good number!


Photo Courtesy: Maddie Kyler

Better than 12, right? Whether it be 50s or 500s, the less time staring at a black line, the better! Most of the time, single digits are good, unless they represent rounds.

10. Why are you touching my feet?

That’s right – one of the biggest no-nos in the sport is touching the feet. There’s nothing more annoying as your lane mate pushing off just two seconds after you and petting your feet during a set. However bad it seems, we’ve all done it, and we’ve probably all got yelled at for it. You live and you learn!

11. If I do this now, it won’t hurt as much during a meet, right?


Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr / Swimming Australia Ltd.

While this may be an accurate statement, meets aren’t always peaches and rainbows – all swimmers know that. No matter what, racing is challenging regardless of how hard you train at practice. Sometimes, it just hurts less! Moreover, finishing a difficult set helps give you motivation to chase down your goals!

12. I did it!

Ah, the sweet feeling of success! There’s nothing quite like killing a long, hard set. Your muscles burn of soreness, but it hurts so good! Even better, your already-increasing confidence sky rockets when coach notices you had a killer practice and comments on it. That’s a day maker!

13. We’ve got this!

Caitlin Leverenz cheers her teammatesin the 400 medley relay.

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

This is the best kind of motivation for your wonderful team mates. If you’re struggling through practice, you’re all struggling through it together. No one is left behind, and you bet your teammates will be there supporting you, even if you never think you’ll make it. All for one, and one for all – no matter what!

Swimming is no easy sport. You spend hours of time with your head underwater, left to nothing but your thoughts. What runs through your mind during practice?

All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.

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Teri Mortimer Lavo
6 years ago

I haven’t swam competitively for over 35 years but all these thoughts were exactly spot on!!!!!

6 years ago

I’m constantly getting drafted on by one swimmer who’s timing is so poor he ends up hitting my feet before I’m passed the flags.

I thought the most obvious thought would be, What time is it? To help quell these thoughts in a 2-hour practice, I view it as a 90-minute practice where I don’t hold anything back plus a 30-minute practice where I shut down my brain’s pain perception to prepare for when we start swimming for time.

Carol Goodey
6 years ago

Missed off my shopping list and what am I doing tomorrow?

3 years ago

‘Beam Me Up, Scotty!’

Matt Ciavarelli
3 years ago

Shannon Donovan Diven# 6 and #10!!

Tanis Carter
3 years ago

mine was and is always food

Ruby Greenhalf
3 years ago

Charlotte Abramson

Tammy Lee Jameson
3 years ago


Carmel Kelly
3 years ago

Alex Kelly…

Alex Kelly
3 years ago
Reply to  Carmel Kelly

Carmel Kelly “what he say “ – another regular ?

Gail Gibson
3 years ago

All of the above plus is today Donut Friday??

Rhoda Griffin Duco
3 years ago
Reply to  Gail Gibson

Gail Gibson agree!

Yarel Montalvo
3 years ago

Very true, especially#2: What are we doing next?!

Lynette Hines
3 years ago

Pretty much accurate !!!

Colleen Hazlett
3 years ago

Was that number 19 or 20?

Tracy Copping
3 years ago

Laura Copping xx

Liz McCredie
3 years ago

Owen McCredie

Driston Owen
Driston Owen
1 year ago

We had to do 25s and if 2 people did not make the intervole we have the same amount left and coch wold pick 2 random people and I wold yell to hipe everyone up.

Ben Yamsek
Ben Yamsek
8 months ago

Is it common for your whole life to flash before your eyes while trying to do all out 50’s at the end of practice????

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