3 Traits of Swimming Soulmates

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Photo Courtesy: Mary Messina

By Emily Messina (From the Archive)

In contrast to other sports, the swimming world is pretty small. It involves a select group of people who have dedicated their time, energy, and sometimes sanity to a certain lifestyle. Not everyone can handle the individual nature of the sport, the commitment level, or the seemingly minor improvements that may only come once or twice a year.

Even people inside of swimming have trouble handling it on their own. As a long-time swimmer, I understand the stress and exhaustion that comes with being practically the only one responsible for my own success. That is why, in addition to building a strong relationship with my coach, I have recognized the importance of having a solid training partner.

There are a few prerequisites a person must meet before becoming your training partner a.k.a. your “swimming soulmate”:

1. Committed

A key component of a training partner is that they take it just as seriously as you do. It is not hard to find someone in the swimming community who is equally as committed to achieving goals. You and your training partner may share in a verbal or silent understanding of your strong desire to continually work hard and have a successful season. While ultimately the quality of your training and race is up to you, it is really helpful and comforting to know that someone is nearby providing strength and accountability.

You are interacting with your partner on a daily basis, experiencing similar challenges. Because of this, swimming garners a certain level of respect among its athletes. You want success for your partner because you understand and appreciate their sacrifices. You know that they deserve their accomplishments and they know the same about you.

2. Motivated

A training partner can help you stay focused, push you, and remind you of your potential. It can be a physical drive, like swimming right next to you or helping you reach targets in the weight room. A partner may yell at you to keep going when you want nothing more than to stop and force you to stay responsible. In addition, they can provide mental support. They motivate you to finish what you started and remind you of your potential and goals. You do not have to be holding the same pace or even doing the same training, because being a partner is about being on the same wavelength. Silent encouragement can provide a calming aspect to a potentially stressful and overwhelming environment. Just knowing that someone else is there for you can make all the difference in the world.

3. Like-Minded

Swimming is very much an individual sport. In order to thrive in such a selective environment, I think it is important to find someone to who has similar desire and intensity. Find your swimming soulmate. In high school, I had a particular training partner who, although much faster than me, would shout at me on number six of ten 100s to fight for my dreams. She always relied on me to show up to dreaded morning swims with the intent to practice fervently. In college, I met a new training partner who shared my will to work hard both in and out of the pool. He is encouraging and caring, but also an impetus to endure the challenge that is swimming.

I love my whole team and we support each other immensely, but it is nice to have one person who you really connect with. Someone who will swim that fourth round butterfly with you or remind you to go to bed early the night before a meet. The motivation and strength is endless, and although I do not always need it, it is encouraging to have that extra inspiration and reinforcement.

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6 years ago

Sounds like a VSTP Swimmer. Valar Morghulis…Valar Dohaeris.

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6 years ago

@em_mess_ Omg congrats intern Em!!! So cool miss u!!

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6 years ago

Samantha Martin

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6 years ago

Mike Ferrari, Charles Worden, Bob South, Ed Heinrich, Bill Currier does the guy second from the left look like anybody we knew?

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6 years ago
Reply to  John Lambert

Do not recall anyone from GHS or Citrus.

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6 years ago
Reply to  John Lambert

Charles Worden I thought it looked like Tim Riley

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6 years ago
Reply to  John Lambert

Tagging ‘the original ‘ Mike Ferrari

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6 years ago
Reply to  John Lambert

Not off the top of my head.

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6 years ago
Reply to  John Lambert

Still think it looks like Tim Riley

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6 years ago
Reply to  John Lambert

If you say so. Ask Tim Riley

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6 years ago
Reply to  John Lambert

He won’t see it, but I bet his wife will. He’s been tagged three times here, we’ll just wait and see

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Loretta Postiglione
6 years ago

Awesome article Emi…. Congratulations!

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6 years ago

Olivia Bachman

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