By Sophia Chiang, Swimming World College Intern
The New Year is one of the most awesome times of the year because, above all things, it brings us a fresh start. A blank slate. A chance to make right all of those things we should’ve done that we didn’t and pursue all the things we want to do. It’s also a great time to set goals and do things better than ever before. Here are some New Year’s resolutions that all of us as swimmers should consider implementing for a faster and healthier year.
1. This year, I resolve to take better care of myself, mentally and physically.
We are perfectionists. We show up to practice early and work ourselves, multiple times per day, to the bone. That kind of dedication is awesome, but this year, I’m resolving to be a little less perfect. Mar my practice attendance record a little bit. Because it’s great to work hard day in and day out, but I need to pay attention to myself a little bit more, too. When I’ve just pulled an all nighter writing my paper or studying for my final exam, I’m not going to force myself to go to morning practice, because sleep and mental health are important. When I feel my tendonitis acting up, I’m going to take care of the problem, not ignore it until it gets worse. I am going to treat my body and mind with dignity and realize that my sanity needs to come before swimming, no matter what.
2. This year, I resolve to lead by example.
As college swimmers, we don’t realize how many younger swimmers (both on our college and age group teams) look up to us for leadership and help. They see us as who they want to become someday, and we need to set examples in both character and training aspects. As part of this resolution, I resolve to show more sportsmanship and dedication to my sport. I resolve to work on my weaknesses and try to be a better version of myself. I resolve to help more where I’m needed and make my coach’s life easier, and make good decisions everyday.
3. This year, I resolve to be a better teammate and friend.
Swimming is both an individual and team sport, but it’s very easy to get wrapped in the individual nature of the sport and neglect the team aspect of it. It’s easy to focus on best times and achieving cuts and not see that sometimes we need to take a bit of that focus off our personal goals and help our teammates out. Sometimes they can be struggling and it’s easy to block them out when they need your help the most.
This year, I resolve to listen more and be there for my teammates, whether that be by their side when they need someone to talk to or at the end of their lane cheering no matter the result of their race. I resolve not to let friendly rivalries cloud my judgement and keep it in the pool, where it belongs, and remind myself that friendship is a much more important thing that our swimming rivalry.
4. This year, I resolve to be positive.
It’s easy to look at swimming cuts and see teammates dropping tons of time, realize you aren’t seeing the same level of success, and be very negative and hard on yourself. This year, I resolve to change all that. I resolve to only look at myself in a positive life and be a “glass half-full” type of person. I resolve not to let my doubts get in the way of my swimming career, because I work way too hard to let a few negative thoughts mess up what could be the race of a lifetime. I resolve to step up to my challenges with a smile on my face and shatter through my goals.
5. This year, I resolve to thank my coach.
Our coaches are our lifelines, and we don’t give them enough credit for all that they do. They’re always at practice before us, they’ve always got sets prepared for us, and they’ve always got our backs. They push us to succeed and without them we would be absolutely lost. Good coaches are hard to come by, and this year, I resolve to thank my coach for truly being there for me. I resolve not to question their judgement even when the sets seem crazy because I know they have my best interest in mind. I resolve to be a better athlete and realize that coaches are people, too.
6. This year, I resolve to continue to work hard.
I resolve to persevere. College has many more distractions than high school did, and sometimes we want to skip practice in order to pursue these distractions. Once in awhile is fine, but I won’t let that hurt my work ethic. As long as I am fit to go to practice, I won’t give myself excuses to skip, however appealing meeting up with friends or going out sounds, because I know I’ve made a commitment to swimming and I am going to honor that commitment wholeheartedly. And, above all, I know that commitment is going to pay off when I hit best times at that end-of-season championship meet when it really counts.
7. This year, I resolve to continue to fall in love with the sport.
In the daily grind we often forget the reasons why we fell in love with swimming in the first place. We didn’t fall in love with times, or with Olympic Trials cuts. We fell in love with the feel of the water rushing by us, that feeling of flying that first 25 meters in the 100-meter fly, or with the camaraderie and easy friendship we had with our teammates. We fell in love with that feeling of dedication, that we could tangibly see our hard work pay off when we stepped up to the blocks and swam our hearts out. I resolve to remember these reasons even when practices are tough and swim because I love it.
Through these resolutions, I resolve to have the best swimming year of my life. Although I definitely won’t remember these things every single day, I am going to do my best to keep these in mind as often as I can. Happy New Year, everybody.