7 Things Swimmers Hate to Hear Coaches Say

Photo Courtesy: Brooke Wright

By: Kate Smarjesse, Swimming World College Intern

There are a few sentences Coach can say that really kill the mood at practice. Our expressions sink when our coaches say certain things, and we are always convincing ourselves that our suffering somehow brings our beloved coaches great joy.

Here are some of the worst lines a coach could say during a practice:

1. “We’re doing that set over.”

Ryan Lochte Tired

Photo Courtesy: Azaria Basile

For some reason coaches like to let us get though the whole entire set before telling us that we will be doing it over again. Whether someone touched the bottom, skipped yards, or didn’t go on the right interval, starting a set over is never fun. On top of having to do the exact same set again, the intervals usually get harder to enhance the punishment.

2. “Practice is NOT cancelled.”


Photo Courtesy: Emily Grigsby

Winter and summer are the best and worst months of swim season. Most swimmers pray for a snow day because that means there won’t be any practice. Not many people appreciate summer thunderstorms like swimmers do. The slightest chance of a thunderstorm gets any swimmer excited. Getting the text/email that says practice is still scheduled is one of the most depressing experiences.

3. “You’re getting lane assignments.” 


Photo Courtesy: Nicholas McMillan

One of the best parts of swim practice is catching up with all your friends. Swimming with your friends means chatting between, after, and during sets. The bond with your lane buddies is one that is difficult to break, but even harder to join. Swimmers are very territorial when it comes to their lanes and can be difficult to fit off different groups of people from stealing your lane every practice. Hearing you will be getting lane assignments is a swim group’s worst nightmare. You will no longer be swimming with your best friends, and are forced to make awkward small talk with the younger and older kids of your group.

4. “We have doubles tomorrow.” 


Photo Courtesy: Ian MacNicol

Usually when this is announced the swimmers try to make deals with the coach such as, staying 30 minutes longer for the next week instead of having doubles on a beautiful Saturday. Waking up early on Saturday is already hard enough, now you have to dedicate your entire day to swim practice. Say goodbye to any fun Saturday plans when your coach announces doubles.

5. “No kick boards.”

Kick boards are the reason swimmers like kick sets. Few swimmers really like to kick, but when you have a kick board you can talk to the people around you. The excitement swimmers get when they hear there will be a kick set at practice is contagious, until they are informed kick boards will not be allowed. No kick boards means you will have to try and entertain yourself by fountaining pool water out of your mouth until the set is over.

6. “Today will be all butterfly.”


Photo Courtesy: Maddie Kyler

I don’t even think people who swim butterfly like to hear this line. In swim lessons this meant dolphin dives and jumping up and down on the bottom of the pool, but in competitive swimming this means endless amounts of actual butterfly. The set never seems very hard at the beginning, but after the first 100 your body starts to feel heavy. Your shoulders will never be the same after a long butterfly set.

7. “Get your pull buoys.”

FINIS Axis pull buoy

Photo Courtesy: FINIS

This line goes along with no kick boards. Not only does this mean you will be working your shoulders and lats heavily, pull sets usually come with breath control as well. This means that you will be pushed to swim fast using only your arms while also not breathing often. Sometimes if your coach really wants to make your day he will make an IM pull set, which is harder than you could ever imagine.

Coaches are the backbone of our performance. They push us so we can continue to achieve our goals and get better, but there are some lines that are agony for a swimmer to hear. We are thankful for all our coaches and all they do for us, and we appreciate them all the more when we don’t hear these lines at practice!

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