4 Things To Do When You Don’t Drop Time

Emily Seebohm
Photo Courtesy: Swimming Australia

By Tori Caudill, Swimming World College Intern

One of the best parts of swimming is competing. For many swimmers, competition can become more intense over time, just as anything else that you devote much of your life to. As an 8-and-under, dropping time was always easy, as long as no DQ was involved. As an age-group swimmer, some days of watching your friends have good races and meets can be gut-wrenching. And in college, watching your training partner swim well while you’re stuck in a rut can seem like the end of your career. Over the years, dropping time gets harder and harder. Swimming can become more frustrating and more upsetting, and can drive us to want to hang up the goggles.

However, there are many ways to keep from falling apart after a rough race, or even a trying swim meet without having to resort to quitting a sport you’ve devoted what seems like your entire life to.

1. Keep Some Perspective

Photo Courtesy: Swimming Canada/Scott Grant

Photo Courtesy: Swimming Canada/Scott Grant

Take a deep breath. Not everyone can drop time in every event, or even every weekend. The years of almost weekly competition and year-round swimming has taken a toll on you mentally more than any swimmer can fully comprehend. Realistically, there are barriers that just cannot be broken. Keeping that in mind will save you a lot of pain and drama. There will always be another race to swim and meet to compete in. One rough patch doesn’t define your entire swimming career.

2. It’s OK To Be Upset

Just because things can’t always go right, that doesn’t mean you have to hold it together after a race doesn’t go your way. It’s OK to be frustrated about your race. It’s OK to think that you should have done better. Being upset about things is a part of being human, and an even larger part of being an athlete. As a rule, athletes are harder on themselves than anyone outside of the sports world would know. Sometimes, being upset can be the best fuel for a rebuilding period.

3. Venting Is Normal


Photo Courtesy: Linda Striggo

Your teammates know better than anyone what you are going through. No one understands a dry spell like a teammate who has experienced the same thing. Keeping them as your support system when you feel down is a large part of how the swimming family operates. They will always be there to have your back, talk times, or just give you advice on what to do. No one can help you out of the black hole of swim-pression that comes with not being on top of your game.

4. Rise Above

Staring the enemy that is a dry spell directly in the face can be horrifying, but nothing can stamp out an enemy like hard work. Staying in the pool and keeping your eye on the prize is the best way to get out of this funk. Try some new drills. Focus on technique instead of speed for a change. Going back to the basics can not only revitalize your love of swimming but also get you back in the right mindset for keeping you on the right track.

Even after the longest time, when dropping time seems impossible, out of nowhere, a best time has a way of sneaking in and repairing all of your doubts about swimming. The most important thing to remember is that no one can take away your previous success, even if a best time doesn’t find it’s way to you. After all the time that you have devoted to swimming, just keep fighting through the hard times. All of the same things that you loved about swimming will come rushing back to you after the slightest reminder. So keep working, keep the faith, and more importantly, keep swimming.

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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Christine Stamm Fris
8 years ago

Good reminder for the kiddos swim family

Ginger Schauer Dudek
8 years ago

What? No kicking screaming or crying?

Natalie Archer
8 years ago

Brittany Archer

Keara Carbonell
8 years ago

Jess Todorovski Fml ?

Christy Garrett-McClain

MaTyah Jackson

Heba Mohamed Elseidy
8 years ago

Sara Hossam
That’s good article.

Todd Fonck
8 years ago

Shared this with my college roomie, who coaches girls cross country and track. Sports are very similar and it definitely applies to running as well.

Mitzie Carlson Gibbs
8 years ago

Great article!

Eric B Godsman
8 years ago

Technique tips here from coach Eric B Godsman … usaswimming.net

Steve Gougeon
8 years ago

Patsy Morin

Jen Thompson
8 years ago

Good article. Sharing with my daughter

Kristie Wisniewski
8 years ago

My kids are young but one swam his best times the first meet and didn’t drop again until the last meet of the season.

Sarah Hall Pugh
8 years ago

Great article

Kristi L Brewer
8 years ago

So you don’t fro time. Crapppp!!! But can we please shake hands over the lane lines?

Geoff Wood
8 years ago

Exactly what I ask my swimmers to do after every race; 1st or last. Makes no difference. Unfortunately, so many just get a glazed look from the person they offer the hand to ?

Mark Moffatt
8 years ago

Interesting article Vanessa Moffatt.

Elissa Haake
8 years ago

Lauren Haake

Kate Lawman
8 years ago

Alex Lawman

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