4 Reasons Why THIS Is The Most Wonderful Time of the Year for Swimmers

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

By Andy Ross, Swimming World College Intern

As I was flying back from my nice, warm tropical training trip, my teammates were all complaining about the cold weather that would await us off the plane. But even though a lot of people don’t like January and starting up school again, here are a few reasons why the next few weeks are the best time of the year for swimmers.

1. As the weather gets cold, it’s time to swim fast.

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Photo Courtesy: Emily Grigsby

If you don’t live in the midwest or the northeast, or anywhere else it gets cold and snowy, then you probably have no idea what I am talking about or think I am crazy. It seems mother nature always drops a huge snow storm during the February high school sectional and college conference championships. There is something homey about stepping out of the bus to a cold, frigid, snowy scene and trudging to the pool and seeing all of your conference rivals warming up and stretching inside. When I think of February, I always get chills (no pun intended) because of that scene. And with talk of championship season approaching that means one thing…

2. Taper Time

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Ah yes, the best phrase that has been uttered from your coach’s lips, strongly rivaled by “there is free food available after practice.” Your whole season has come down to those last two weeks. Those cold February days when all you can think of is trying on that tight tech suit and shaving all the hair off your body. The time when you jump in the water feeling good and you realize why you woke up every day at 5:30 in the morning. We can all agree taper is a beautiful thing. We finish practice an hour earlier and have added energy because of the increased rest. We all look forward to our championships because it means we will be fully rested and ready to bust out some fast swims. With all those fast swims, it builds excitement, momentum and it leads into the next reason why this is the best time of the year.

3. Team Unity

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

There is nothing like being on a college team. You and your 20+ brothers or sisters spend an entire year together going through insane practices, impossible lifting sessions and share countless memories from everything else that goes on in any given school year. All those moments peak at the championship meet at the end of the season. Ask any former college swimmer and a lot of them will tell you their favorite college moment came during a championship meet. The cheering will make you lose your voice, your passion for the sport and your school will be raised, and your love for your teammates will increase as well as personal vendettas seem to be forgotten. Swimming in a championship meet for your school (whether it is high school or college) means so much more because of the team aspect. Taper meets for club are still a big deal, but it cannot match swimming for your school. It seems that all the preparation done during the summer and fall is in hopes to peak in February and March.

4. Retirement/Break

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Photo Courtesy: Marthe Sorensen

For a lot of seniors in high school and college, this is their farewell tour. There will be a lot of sentimental posts on Facebook and Instagram during the month of February because of swimmers ending their careers. It is an emotional time, but also an exciting one. This is what all the practices have come down to: one final weekend, one final shave-down, one final suit and one final race. Every good thing comes to an end, and for a lot of swimmers, that time is rapidly approaching. It is something that has been on a lot of seniors’ minds since the start of the season in September. “I am almost done!” No longer will they have to deal with hard practices, cold early mornings, and the smell of chlorine in their skin.

It is a bittersweet time but that is just what makes these next few weeks so special. So even though we are back in the swing of things with school and cold weather, just remember the worst part of the season is ending and the best part is about to begin.

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