Bouncing Back From a Disappointing Midseason Meet

Photo Courtesy: Chicago Park District

By Ashley Illenye, Swimming World College Intern.

December in the swimming world means midseason meets. Whether your team decided to do a full taper, a three-day drop-off or just wear a suit, a midseason meet may be the second most important meet of your season. Where there are triumphant athletes, there are also swimmers who expected more from themselves and did not have the meet they wanted.

A less-successful-than-expected midseason meet isn’t the end of the world for a college or high school athlete, much less the end of their season. All a midseason meet is supposed to be is an evaluation of where the team is in that moment. Above all midseason meets show coaches what they need to improve on to make their team the best it can be by the end of the year.

So, you had a bad midseason meet. A common feeling is disappointment and nervousness that things won’t work out your way come the end of the year. There are a few things you can do and remember right away to optimize the results of the rest of your season.

1. Have a meeting with your coach.

tyler fenwick

Photo Courtesy: Tyler Fenwick

Ultimately, your coach is going to know you and how you swim better than anyone else. (Yes, maybe even yourself.) If anyone is going to be able to analyze what you did right or wrong, it’s going to be the person who has watched you on your best and worst days at practice. This is what they’re there for, to help you when you need it.

Your coach has most likely seen a swimmer or two like you and knows ways that you can improve. This can be things that you didn’t do right at the meet, or that can just be tweaked on a day-to-day basis. It could even be both. A bunch of little things could culminate into a successful change that will become evident in your races.

It’s very likely that if you didn’t perform the way you wanted, your coach has already come up with a bunch of ways to improve the situation. Talk to them about what you wanted to achieve, and they’ll do everything in their power to make sure that you’ll be where you want by the end of the season.

2. Think about the things you could’ve done better and work on them.

Spiral bound blank lined notebook page with a plastic ballpoint pen with room for your text or message

Photo Courtesy: Stephen Gibson

True competitors never come out of a meet and say that every single aspect of it went perfectly. There’s always room for improvement, whether the meet came out the way you wanted to or not. Think about the meet you had and make a list so you can start to visualize what you need to improve on.

Identifying what went wrong at your midseason meet is only the first step in making sure you have the best remainder of your season as possible. Writing down what you want to improve will make those aspects of your swimming more real to you, and you will be more likely to put those goals into action.

Reading a list of what you want to improve on every single day will remind you of what you need to work on when you just can’t remember by yourself. If your midseason meet is in December and your championship meet is in February, that gives you at least 60 days to wake up and work your hardest to correcting the things that went wrong midseason.

3. Take a moment to recognize what you did right.


Photo Courtesy: SIPA USA

There is always something positive to take out of every meet. Maybe it was your attitude towards your races, maybe it was listening to a song that really got you out of your head before your race. There was definitely something that you did right, and you should hone in on that quality about yourself.

Not only will recognizing your strengths make you feel better about your weaknesses, there are also ways to make your strengths even stronger than you thought possible. For every thing that you believe you did wrong in your meet, try to come up with another thing that you did right. You might find that you’ll surprise yourself in how many things that you can walk away from your midseason meet feeling proud of.

4. Fuel your training with the negative feelings.


Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

There’s a bad feeling that you get when you have when you give it your all but you hit the wall, see the time, and don’t think it’s what you deserve. There is an even worse feeling when you walk away from the pool after finals, having felt that disappointment multiple races in a row.

Every practice that you go into after having a disappointing meet should be fueled by the fire that is the anger you feel towards how you performed. Allow yourself to be consumed with the thought of being the best swimmer that you can be. Picture that time on the board that you never want to see again with every stroke you take.

Don’t let that motivation fade away after a day or two when training picks back up again. The key to not performing the way that made you disappointed in the first place is to work as hard as you can to make sure your destiny is in your own hands.

5. Remember, it’s just a midseason meet.


Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

At the end of the day, this isn’t your conference championship, state championship, or NCAA’s. There’s still months to improve on what you want to improve on. Chances are, you didn’t even have a full taper and you just had an off meet. Every meet is a learning experience, so take it as one.

Focus on the end of the year, and take each of these ways to bounce back from a disappointing midseason meet and take matters into your own hands. The remainder of your swim season is what you make of it, so do everything in your power to ensure your own success!

All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.


  1. Lauren Royce

    needed this cause this was me