5 Ways to Comeback From A Disappointing Season With Gusto

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

By Emma Foster, Swimming World College Intern

For many swimmers, championship meets have wrapped up. Races were swum, and best times were either hit or missed. After working for months toward one meet, sometimes the end can hit hard.

For those that swam well and hit their goals, it is often easy to get back into training with renewed vigor. But if things didn’t go exactly as planned, sometimes swimmers end up feeling a little lost. That’s the nature of sport, and it’s ok. Sometimes failures are what will lead to greater successes in the future.

So if your season didn’t end as you expected, take a deep breath. As much as one championship meet might feel like the end of a road, it is really just one step in the journey of your swimming career. While it might seem hard to get re-motivated, there’s a lot you can do to get refocused and ready to get back on track.

Here are five ways to comeback rejuvenated and inspired after a disappointing season:

1. Take a Break


Photo Courtesy: Swimming Peripitus

While this may seem counterintuitive to getting ready to train again, a short break can be the best thing for you. Most programs give you at least a few days off before getting into full-on spring training. Take advantage of this, and stay out of the pool for a couple days. Our sport is extremely grueling, and it’s ok to feel like you need a break. Take a few days and do something else. Run, cycle, and catch up with friends you’ve been putting off all season. Enjoy the time out of the water and let yourself recharge.

2. Get Excited

get-excited-michael phelps foundation

Photo Courtesy: Michael Phelps Foundation

When you’re back in the pool and getting back into the season, it’s okay to start with the things that make you want to be training. Refocusing on something that will get you excited about being at the pool is the best thing you can do for yourself. Maybe you really want to focus on another stroke for a couple weeks, or maybe you’re interested in dedicating yourself to the weight room. Whatever it may be, throw yourself into it and get excited about what you’re doing. Once you’ve got something to be excited you’ll find it easier to get back into the grind.

3. Find Motivation

Photo Courtesy: Scottish Swimming

Photo Courtesy: Scottish Swimming

One of the most important things to do when starting a new season is to find the internal motivation to get you charged up. This can mean different things for different people, but one of the best ways to accomplish this is remembering what got you into this sport in the first place. You probably didn’t start swimming with your current goals in mind. It most likely had more to do with liking the feel of the water, the thrill of competition, or the camaraderie between you and your teammates. Find that again, and remember why you do what you do. This motivation can carry through the deepest disappointments and the hardest training periods.

4. Recommit

1/8/2011; Gainesville, Fla.; University of Florida Gators Swimming & Diving vs. Georgia Tech. Women's Swimming.

Photo Courtesy: Troy Zalewski

Take some time to sit down and think about everything that has gotten you to this point. Consider the work you did in the previous season. Were there things you could have done better? Things that you want to work on in the coming months? This isn’t a time to lament over missed opportunities. Instead, you should use it as a starting point of where you want to go in your coming season. It isn’t a bad idea to sit down with your coach and get on the same page. What are you both going to do to make the coming season your best one yet? Choose a path and commit.

5. Look Forward


Photo Courtesy: Jmex60

While it might be hard not to feel the sting of a season that ended on a less than positive note, this is the most important step towards getting back on track. Do your best to let go of past swims and focus on the future ones. What you did one season has no bearing on the coming one, unless you bring that baggage with you. Learn from mistakes, and then let them go.

Everyone suffers disappointments in the course of their swimming career. It’s part of the process, but how you come back from it is what matters. Take the lessons you are given and move forward so the next time you hit the water at your championship meet, it will be your best race yet.