3 Ways to Overcome Jealousy in Swimming

Photo Courtesy: Rica Generoso

By Diana Pimer (From the Archive)

My mom always tells me, “Jealousy is an ugly emotion.” She is right. And in swimming, jealousy can reign supreme.

Then again, while ugly, jealousy is also natural. It is a justifiable emotion that everyone has at at least some point in his or her lives. However, it is not necessarily the emotion that gets people into trouble, but how they handle coping with the emotion that does.

Jealousy is predominant everywhere in swimming. Whether a teammate broke your record, someone beat you on your best set in practice, or someone took your relay spot away from you, swimmers always find themselves opportunities to become jealous. Jealousy even exists in the little things, like someone taking your favorite kickboard or a teammate ordering the new practice suit you wanted.

It is okay to be jealous from time to time, but here are 3 ways to overcome jealousy in swimming so that you can be happy and be a good teammate:

1. If you must, tell someone you trust.

It is never good to keep all of your emotions bottled up inside. However, it is usually worse to talk about people behind their back to all of your teammates. When someone does something to make you jealous, think.

First, is this really worth getting upset over? If not, let it go from your mind. If it is, find someone you trust to talk to who is NOT on your team. It could be your mom on the way home from practice, or your non-swimming best friend at school the next day. Sometimes you just need to vent, but to the right person. No matter how much you trust your teammates, gossip gets around quicker than a 50 freestyle. It is not worth it.

2. Be a good sport, show your support.

Swimmers, like anyone, have two options when something goes wrong. We can learn from it and use it to inspire us, or we can let it tear us down. First, if someone has a breakout swim or breaks a record, don’t think of the things they did wrong, look to the things they did right. It is easy to say, “Well, he eats junk food all the time,” or “She leaves early in every set,” or the oh so dreaded, “But they PULL during KICK sets.”

It is a lot harder to say, “He does push himself in the weight room,” or “She has not missed one practice all season,” or simply, “Good for them. They work hard, they deserve it.”

Think of reasons why this person accomplished their goals. Maybe they do something extra that you could learn from. And it is always best to be supportive even when you are a bit jealous. Did your competitor from your team’s rival out-touch you? Nothing is better than shaking their hand graciously even when you did not come out on top. It shows maturity and appreciation for the racing opportunity.

Try to let other swims inspire you to perform at your best. If your teammates keep having good swims, let their emotions carry you through your own race. You can use the positive energy to your advantage if you have the right mindset.

3. Give yourself a compliment, stay confident.

Most importantly, while it is good to boost your teammates up, you cannot tear yourself down in the process. The worst thing to do is compare yourself to others. While there are a plethora of reasons why swimming is a team sport, every swimmer is an individual with different strengths and weaknesses.

Try focusing on what you are good at. This will make you confident, and will help you be proud of your own races. However, be careful again not to compare yourself. Don’t think of things you are better than others at, think of things you, yourself, personally excel at.

At the end of the day, this is all easier said than done. Any swimmer can vouch for that. Always remember that jealousy is natural, but it can have some negative effects. The next time you are feeling a little jealous, be supportive, positive, and willing to keep trying!



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9 years ago

This is a great article. I know some swimmers that should read this.

Laurie Ann O'Shea
9 years ago

Great article. Going through this right now, thanks so much!

Stella Paz
9 years ago

Kimberlee Wells oh boy! Brings back memories from our dorm talks lol

Liz Loffredo
9 years ago

i’m famous

Natalie Passarelli
9 years ago

Liz Loffredo SMOKIN

Lauren Corradi
9 years ago

Liz Loffredo

Kimberlee Wells
9 years ago

Stella Paz those talks were the best!!

Suzana Samuela
9 years ago

Read this article Tracey Wickham

Suzana Samuela
9 years ago

Read this article Tracey Wickham

Andrea Domenica Davila

Camila Pacheco Granda

Helen Rhee-Minkin
9 years ago

Mia – great article!

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