5 Things Distance Swimmers Wish They Could Have

counters
Photo Courtesy: Christa Weaver

5 Things Distance Swimmers Wish They Could Have

By Robbie Dickson, Swimming World College Intern

“All right, sprint take lanes 1-4, mid take 5-7, and distance go take the far lane.” Most distance don’t even need the instruction. They automatically drag their worn-out mesh bags and bodies to the far side of the pool and begin to mentally prepare for the beast coming their way. Throughout the workout, in between gasps of air or trying to read the next part of the set, you will see them looking across the pool with envy as their shorter distance counterparts are smiling and chatting it up.

Here are the five things distance swimmers wish they could have more of:

1. Rest

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

While hanging onto the lane line, every distance swimmer has begged their coaches to add a simple five seconds to the existing interval. Just enough so that they could clear their goggles or get a sip of water. Throughout most of the workout, it seems like the pace clock taunts the swimmers, making sure they can only get a quick breathe on the wall before they start the next repeat. It seems as if the sprinters always have plenty of time at the end of the lane to joke around, refill their bottles, and talk about how their day went. Will five extra seconds really affect my performance at the end of the year?!

2. IM and Stroke Sets

We all know how boring it gets day in and day out staring at the same black line for two hours at a time. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could get some change from the monotonous motions of freestyle and do some backstroke, breaststroke, and even butterfly? Changing up strokes would take the pressure off our beaten down shoulders and shake up the regular routine. We may not be the most gifted IMers and strokers, but there will not be many complaints if a set is written up on the board that does not contain freestyle.

3. Fame

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Photo Courtesy: USA Swimming Twitter, @USASwimming

While Katie Ledecky is doing the best she can to make distance swimming “cool,” that coolness factor has not made its way to everyone yet. You can still count on most swimmers heading to the locker room while the distance group is pushing through the final set of their workout. They are more preoccupied with a hot shower and getting on with their lives than watching their teammates finish up. We all wish that we could be given a little more credit and attention. Maybe it’s all the time we spend with our faces down in the water in solitude that makes us want it more than the others. We definitely would enjoy a little more appreciation when we get to the locker room or even a simple, “How was your workout today?” would definitely be a step in the right direction.

4. Relays

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Not saying that watching a relay from the bleachers cannot be exciting, but it would be really great if there was a chance for us sprint-challenged folk to get in on some of the fun. Now we know that a 4×1650-yard free relay would not gain much crowd support nor would we really want to partake, but what about a 4×400?! That seems like a good compromise. Maybe it would get us out of the last set at practice in order to practice our relay exchanges…

5. Taper

Oh, the most magical word in the sport of swimming… for most of us. All season the sprinters look forward to their month of floating and hot tubbing like it’s their second Christmas. At the other end of the spectrum, the distance swimmers hope their coach will be generous and start “tapering” them before the week of the meet.

If they’re lucky, they will get to cut out doubles when it gets to meet week. It just does not add up. If we have put in more yards than a human probably should, how come we get the shortest recovery time? Our bodies and minds are the most beat down out of everyone. Just because we don’t have the bulging biceps or crazy abs doesn’t mean we shouldn’t get to enjoy the little slice of pie everyone looks forward to all 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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Andrew
6 years ago

Distance swimmers have no respect for sprinters and you proved it, Robbie.

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Jill
6 years ago
Reply to  Andrew

And sprinters got no respect for us distance swimmers… Fair enough you get something back… But at this point can’t we just live in peace? Can you sprinters stop waving us whle we die and you get to the stretching?!

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Skibs
6 years ago

Makes my shoulders hurt reading this

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6 years ago

Ian LaBash Cali Corbett Kael Ragnini !!!!

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6 years ago
Reply to  Sammy Stone

All I want is taper

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Chuck Beatty
6 years ago

Lane 8 = The Animal Lane. Just throw us some raw meat and get out of the way.

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6 years ago

My distance swimmers complain if they are not in the far lane! LOL

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6 years ago

Kara Guenther Samantha Zavala

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6 years ago
Reply to  Connor Tarver

Very accurate.

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6 years ago
Reply to  Connor Tarver

Preach. Literally how I felt today watching you guys work on turns

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6 years ago

Rhyann Lowrey

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Filippa Sundström

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Jana Hemdan

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6 years ago

Silja Nielsdóttir Hansen

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6 years ago

I would love to coach a 4×400 relay team

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6 years ago

Daniel Phillips Jason Brame Yesim Giresunlu

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6 years ago

Every single one of them is so accurate!

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6 years ago

This is excellent! Miss you guys!

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6 years ago

Number 5 – we didn’t even get a taper! We just got a less distancy distance set

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6 years ago

Victoria Emily Cunningham

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Alex Manasso respect.

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6 years ago

Sarah McLaughlin

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