4 Teammates to Deal with During the Holidays

Photo Courtesy: Maureen Fahey

By Maggie Lasto, Swimming World College Intern.

The holidays are a special time, but for swimmers, this time of year gets complicated. While most people are spending quality time with family, swimmers are surrounded by their teammates. In the sport of swimming, this is such a crucial time of the year. Training gets pumped up, the mid-season slump is felt, and training trips loom just around the corner. Christmas cheer is felt everywhere, and is one of the only things to keep us going. Everyone celebrates the holiday season differently, and spending so much time with teammates allows you to see their true colors (Well, their holiday colors at least). Here are the 4 types of teammates you see during the holidays and the best way to deal with each of them.

1. The Elf


Photo Courtesy: Pexels

This teammate is responsible for spreading cheer, or creating an annoyance (depending on your perception) during Christmastime. They convince coach to set the practice playlist to “Christmas hits” the day after Halloween and can be heard belting out the lyrics to “Jingle Bells” between sets. When they walk onto the pool deck in the month of December, they undoubtedly look like a walking ornament. Their suits are covered in snowflakes, Santas, or Christmas trees, and they have festive caps to match. On Christmas Day, when you see a text pop up in the group message, or a notification show up from the team snapchat, you know it must be The Elf there to wish you well.

How to deal with them:

Embrace their positivity and feed off it. You can laugh with them, or at them (they won’t know the difference), or buy them gifts because they’ll appreciate the small things. Even if you are counting down the days for Christmas to be over, look at how happy they are and think of what makes you feel that way. There is nothing better than jumping into practice with a positive mindset.

2. The Workhorse


Photo Courtesy: R-Sport / MIA Rossiya Segodnya

This teammate shows dedication. Even though they’re on winter “break” there’s no stopping them. The holiday baking can’t even deter them from their healthy diet, so they avoid the cookies all together. They choose to fill up with water instead of overeating turkey and mashed potatoes at dinner. Instead of building gingerbread houses, they hit the gym, and they have no time for ice skating or hanging out with friends because they know that swimming doubles is more important. When the team is back together for the first practice, the workhorse is cruising ahead, leaving the rest of the team struggling behind.

How to deal with them:

Look at how their dedication payed off and try to be more like them next year. Instead of feeling frustrated when you fall behind during a set, think of how much you enjoyed those cookies and work harder to get back up to speed.

3. Rudolph


Photo Courtesy: Pexels

This teammate can get down on themselves sometimes, but they point the team in the right direction. They want to celebrate the holidays, but at the same time they know what they need to  focus on. They get upset when they are struggling to make the intervals at practice, even though they are the fastest one on the team. They don’t get up caught up in all the distraction of the holidays when they’re at practice, but are able to enjoy the fun when the they leave. This teammate is responsible for putting together the Secret Santa grab bag and hosting the team holiday party. If It wasn’t for Rudolph leading the way, the rest of the team would fall apart.

How to deal with them:

Follow their lead and let them know they are appreciated. When they get down on themselves, encourage them, and most importantly enjoy the holidays with them when the time is right!

4. The Vacation Seeker


Photo Courtesy: Pexels

This teammate loves the training trip… for the palm trees and the tan. They can be heard saying, “I am so pale,” all throughout the season, even when everyone knows they really aren’t. They plan lots of excursions for the team in hopes that coach gives them a practice off one day. In between doubles and lift, this teammate can be found on the beach soaking up the sun, napping, or eating. The vacation seeker even coordinates the team bathing suit order, so everyone can look cute taking pictures at practice. They are really prepared to have a blast on training trip, but not so prepared for all the hard work… the real reason for the trip!

How to deal with them:

Try to be their hotel roommate and their airport buddy, because their excitement is sure to rub off on you. If you’re still recovering from last year’s training trip, mentally or physically, this can be a great way to enhance your experience. Even though we all know the training trip is far from a vacation, thinking that it is can help make the whole trip more manageable!

Take aways:

In the midst of the so-called, “most wonderful time of the year,” what is your personality like? Every team is unique in its make-up and its identity, however these characters are sure to be found when the holidays come around. Even if your opinions of Christmas align more with the Grinch or with Scrooge, there are ways to deal with these teammates that can lead you to find success.

Happy holidays and merry swimming throughout the new year!

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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Maureen Fahey
Maureen Fahey
5 years ago

Well said Maggie!

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