5 Impossible Things to Explain to Non-Swimmers

Photo Courtesy: Hayley Good

By Erin Himes, Swimming World College Intern

Swimming is a different sport, which is why explaining things to non-swimmers can get tricky sometimes. While swimmers pretty much speak another language, here are a few of the hardest things to explain to someone who doesn’t spend their days in the pool.

1. Taking one day off will kill you.

Alicia Coutts collapses on pool deck after another hard set at training. University of Auburn Aquatic Centre, Alabama USA. Australian Olympic Swimming Team are in their final training staging Camp before heading over to the Rio2016 Olympic Games. July 30 2016. Photo by Delly Carr. Pic credit mandatory for complimentary exclusive editorial usage. Thank You.

Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr / Swimming Australia Ltd.

One day off of working out isn’t the worst thing for the average gym-goer. However, for a swimmer, one day feels like a week off of anything else. When a non-swimmer can’t understand why you can’t miss just one practice, you know they have never experienced that feeling.

2. Just how significant half a second is

Photo Courtesy: Griffin Scott

Photo Courtesy: Griffin Scott

When a non-swimmer shows up to a meet and sees a personal best by .50 seconds, they might be surprised to see a smile. Those who don’t spend every day working for those slim margins of victory probably can’t comprehend how sweet it feels, even when it is small.

3. How long a meet is

australian-night-practice-laugh-stand

Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr / Swimming Australia Ltd.

Explaining that your race that is just a few minutes long is going to take up your entire day, or even your entire weekend, is confusing for those who don’t know about it. Prelims, finals, and the obvious in-between nap are extremely time consuming, as swimmers know.

4. That winning isn’t the only important thing

simone-manuel-celebrate-silver

Photo Courtesy: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

One of the most difficult concepts to explain to a non-swimmer is that losing a meet doesn’t always hold just disappointment. When a classmate or friend asks “Did you win?!” only to be answered with no, there’s an assumption of sadness after the answer. However, explaining that the meet might have been a success because of new best times and strong team efforts always throws people off a bit.

5. Taper

georgia-relay-ncaa-championships

Photo Courtesy: Reagan Lunn/Georgia Tech Athletics

Explaining to a non-swimmer that we swim less in order to go faster is maybe the most confusing part of the sport. To an outsider, it makes absolutely no sense that you would back off before a big meet. To a swimmer, the importance and necessity of taper is absolutely unquestionable.

All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.

34 Comments

34 comments

  1. Nadia Margison

    Jeff Depew ….. is that you in the cover photo?

  2. Anastasia Renssen

    Freek Gabriรซls ik probeerde taper vandaag nog uit te leggen aan een hockeyster๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

    • Raphaelle Blaser

      FYI I DO get it now ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

  3. Melanie Walker

    Terry Depew there’s your boy โ˜๏ธ

    • Terry Depew

      Wow! He’s got the Dumb Dempsey look going. haha!

  4. David Campina

    I am not a good swimmer or a pro, but this was very informative.

    • Erin Hachez Messier

      ๐Ÿ˜„ so true! I remember eating spaghetti for breakfast ๐Ÿ˜†

  5. Chris Zedick

    Reid Carter Sydney Ford ๐Ÿ˜‰ #3 right?!?

  6. avatar
    Randy Neff

    Jeff Depew!

Author: Erin Himes

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Erin Himes is a rising senior at Pepperdine University. She swims distance freestyle and has been a top scorer for the Waves in the 1,650 free each year at the Pacific Collegiate Swim and Dive Conference Championship. She grew up swimming in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

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