8 Things You’ll Love and Hate If You Quit Swimming

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Photo Courtesy: Kourtney Gavin

8 Things You’ll Love and Hate If You Quit Swimming

By Abby Boone (From the Archive)

You can take the swimmer out of the pool, but you can’t take the pool out of the swimmer… Or something like that.

1. The smell of chlorine. The smell of chlorine.

This one goes both ways. We all secretly love the refreshing smell of chlorine and the way it burns our skin, but not smelling like it and not sweating it from your pores every day is a pretty nice feeling too.

2. Clothes fit on your shoulders. Clothes might not fit in the waist.

Your body shape is going to change if you quit swimming. In due time your shoulders will get smaller and many of your muscles will even out. But if you aren’t careful, you might find that the fat you swore you lost in middle school is slowly coming back.

3. You no longer want to eat all day. You no longer have an excuse to eat all day.

Surprisingly, your body can survive without a full meal every two hours. However, that also means that you don’t need that slice of pie or bag of chips. Still, eat a cookie every once in a while in remembrance of the days you could come home from practice and eat a dozen cookies before you sat down to a Thanksgiving-sized dinner.

4. Your hair isn’t wet all day. You no longer have a reason to wear a messy bun.

Suddenly your hair is going to be a lot healthier. Unfortunately, that means people expect you to wear it in a style that isn’t a knot on top of your head or a frosted shaggy mess men like to call the “chlorine-kissed” look.

5. Your coach doesn’t tell you when you can shave. You have to tell yourself that you need to shave.

As every swimmer knows, there are certain expectations in the “real world.” The swim world knows why men and women wait six months before they shave their legs, but everyone else seems to think women should shave a little more often than that. Men, it’s your choice when you do or don’t shave your legs. Your beard is another story though. Consider trimming that every so often.

6. You have friends who aren’t your teammates. You’ll miss talking about nothing but swimming with your teammates.

Again with that “real world.” Out there, they talk about things like politics, basketball and technology. Words like Lezak, Speedo, and hypoxic training are a foreign language to them.

7. You’ll never have to put on another racing suit. When you put on your old practice suit it will feel like a racing suit.

Don’t swim for a month and you will be surprised at how tight that loose practice suit is. You won’t be sure if you grew or if the suit shrank, but just to be safe…blame it on the suit.

8. You don’t have to go to 6 a.m. practice. Your body still wakes up for 6 a.m. practice.

You will forever be a morning person. Even if you aren’t a morning person, you will wake up like you are. “Sleeping in” consists of not waking up until 7:30. You will view that extra hour as a personal success.

However, since you’re still waking up early and since you still have that practice suit, why stop swimming?

You don’t have to be in the water every day and you don’t have to train for any specific meet or for a race at all, but don’t forget why you love the sport. Don’t forget what it’s like to tighten your arms in a streamline or to come to the wall out of breath.

Swimming isn’t life, but it’s a way of life. And if you’re reading this, it’s probably a part of who you are. Don’t forget that, even if you vow never to wear another racing suit.

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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Marie Mann
Marie Mann
1 year ago

Spot on! I was never a competitive swimmer, didn’t learn to swim ‘properly’ till I was 19, but love swimming, have been hanging in there through demanding jobs, study, injury, illness, community commitments and aged family care (just like so many others I know), and it still gets me into the car and off to the pool on a (semi)regular basis. Part of the fabric of my life.

1 year ago

I have been swimming competitively for 74 years, without any substantially long break, yet a few years ago without my having changed my practice routine my body shape changed dramatically, with my midriff developing what looks like a beer belly (though I do not drink beer) and adding two inches to any waist size. So, this kind of change can happen whether you keep swimming or stop swimming. Life is not fair.

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