4 Reasons Why Thanksgiving Break Hasn’t Hurt You

Photo Courtesy: Gian Mattia D'Alberto / lapresse

By Seren Jones, Swimming World College Intern

I’m sure for most of us college swimmers, the Thanksgiving holiday was glorious. When your life revolves around daily doubles and piles of school work, no one can appreciate a break like we can. Perhaps some of us may feel guilty about taking the time off, while others don’t think twice about our three or four days of freedom. Either way, the holiday provides a break to swimmers across the nation. A brief time-out for us to recognize what we are thankful for in our chlorinated lives, as well as a time for us to refresh and revive ourselves for the final lap of the semester.

So for those of you who are swim addicts and think that rest is only for the weak, here are 4 reasons why Thanksgiving break hasn’t done you any harm and will not negatively affect the rest of your season.

1. Your Body Needed To Rest

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Photo Courtesy: Mark Mitchell

Whether you’re a sprint, mid-distance, or distance swimmer, you work hard. (Yes, sprinters work hard, too.) In fact, you’ve been working your weighted fins off since season began in late August or early September – some of you have even been working since off-season. #WhatOffSeason. Not only have you endured endless yardage, swam at great intensity, and tolerated what seems like illegal amounts of lactic acid and lactate sets, but your bodies have been beaten in the weights room, due to exercises such as deadlifts, pull ups, plank holds and so on. Let’s not forget the weekly dual meets in which you have killed yourself twice over to touch the wall before the person in the lane next to you. Even physical rehabilitation is tiring, despite it curing those irritating, niggling shoulder, knee or back pains. The bottom line is, your body needs to rest. And honestly, what is three or four days off (for you lucky swimmers) going to do?

2. Your Mind Needed To Rest, Too

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Photo Courtesy: Ian MacNicol

As you all know, our sport can be physically as well as mentally and psychology exhausting. Although we may not realise it at times, we fight a mental battle with ourselves every day. This battle begins when our alarms go off at ridiculous hours of the morning, and we wonder why we decided to choose the student-athlete lane over the NARP (Non Athletic Regular Person) lane. The battle continues as we contemplate diving into the freezing water before us or simply hanging up our goggles. By the time we’re in class, we fight with ourselves to stay awake, and at lunch we tell ourselves not to go for the pasta marinara because you know it will give you immense heart burn during practice. When practice rolls around we fight to stay motivated in the set when we feel like giving up, and we fight to motivate our teammates in the set when they feel like giving up. When it’s time to do homework it’s like being in class all over again, as we fight the urge to sleep, and insist that there are not enough hours in the day for collegiate swimmers. So yes, your mind needs to rest, too, before the chlorine actually drives you crazy.

3. You Needed Some Real Food

traditional-thanksgiving

We would be lying if we said that the school cafeteria provides us with all the necessary nutrients and minerals required for our hectic lifestyles. “I just love the food at school,” said no one ever. After a while, pizza, grilled chicken and chili really doesn’t suffice, and there’s only so much penne pasta a swimmer can consume. Even for those of you who have a house and cook for yourselves, you know your food has nothing on mom or dad’s home cooked meals. Besides, after all of the physical and mental hard work you have invested in the semester thus far, don’t you think you deserve copious amounts of good food like turkey and potatoes and vegetables or whatever it is you eat during Thanksgiving? Spoil yourself. Enjoy your food. Enjoy your dessert even more. Because after those three days, you’ll regret not taking that unnecessary extra slice of pumpkin pie. Believe me.

4. You Needed Some Down Time

libby-george-family

Photo Courtesy: Libby George

Although during the swim season our team becomes our family, the time inevitably comes where you simply need to get away. No amount of personal days or private walks around campus will discard your cabin fever from everybody and nobody in particular. The only way to get through this lap is to have some down time with the family. Your real DNA family. The family who lives at home; who miss you; who can’t wait to have you back for the holiday; who will listen to your rants and complaints; who will comfort and console you; who will encourage you to keep going, even though it’s unbearable at times. Everybody needs some quality time with the family, and in order to tackle the rest of the semester to the best of our ability, down time with the family is the perfect remedy.

So for those of you who live, sleep and breathe chlorine, don’t be too hard on yourselves when you look back at your Thanksgiving break. Instead, dissect the positives from having time out of the water. Be thankful for your rest, and be thankful that you’ve returned to your sport raring to go. After all, who can say that they regret taking time off during Thanksgiving break? Exactly.

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Author: Seren Jones

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Seren Jones is a senior butterfly/backstroker from Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom. The Metropolitan Conference individual champion grew up swimming for The City of Cardiff Swimming Club, and qualified for the Great Britain Olympic Trials in 2012.

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