Is it Time? A Couple of Reasons Why Quitting is NOT the Answer

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Is it Time? A Couple of Reasons Why Quitting is NOT the Answer

When should I quit? Does it matter anymore? I’m not getting any faster! Should I just be done?

Swimming is a difficult sport. It always has been and it will continue to be far into the future. And – for many high school athletes – it takes up a large chunk of their free time.

Even swimmers who have been in the sport for years might find themselves feeling burned out by daily two hour practices, on top of school and extracurriculars. Perhaps they are thinking to themselves – is it time to throw in the towel? Is it time to quit?

Off to College

People are busy. 

This is simply a known fact. And high schoolers, believe it or not, are some of the busiest people among us. When faced with a college decision, it’s hard for some to decide just how important swimming is to them. 

Is joining a swim team a huge commitment? Will it take time away from studying?

The answer to both those questions is, well… yes. However, there are some extremely important and helpful benefits that likely outweigh any possible downsides to the college swim experience. 

For example, an article on speedo.com mentions, “Swimming can help improve mental well-being. It significantly reduces tension, depression, anger, confusion and increases vigor. Due to rhythmic, aerobic exercise and use of large muscle groups – it can be mood altering.”

Simply put, students who have a way to manage their stress have a much better mental state than those who don’t. And swimming is one of the least stressful activities that college students can partake in. Giving up an hour or two to the pool could be well worth it in order to keep from panicking about school. That extra time that students are giving up may go a long way toward ensuring that these students are in the right headspace to perform well in class. 

Plus, students who swim in college do not have to be on their school’s team. They can always join club or YMCA teams in order to have a more fluid practice schedule. In fact, many college club teams only meet every couple of days. By joining a team such as this, students stay active in the sport, are mentally healthy, and still have time to finish their studies. 

College does not have to equal the end of a perfectly good swimming career. 

The Question of Times

The Plateau. The bane of every swimmer. 

Eventually, everyone reaches a point where the times begin to level out, frustrating young athletes everywhere. Times can stay like these for years. 

Ultimately, they might even drive some to question whether or not they should stay in the sport. 

But… the clock should not define who you are as a swimmer. Instead of focusing on that one time that wasn’t a personal best, focus on what you can do in order to improve yourself as an athlete. Maybe there’s an important aspect of your stroke that you’re missing? Or perhaps you just haven’t worked with your coach for long enough?

There are plenty of reasons why times might stay the same for a while. 

If it’s not being clear enough – the clock does not define who you are. 

Team leaders and supporters are not made from times. They are made from the bonds and connections with the people around them. It is those things that make swimming so special. Similar to the college mentality argument, having a supportive team there to back you up can vastly improve self esteem and mental health.

Your team is a built in support system! Each swimmer is working toward their own, individual goals, but also working to benefit the team as a whole. This kind of system is a special kind of thing to be a part of due to the fact that not all sports have it. The relationships between swimmers allow them to encourage and inspire each other. 

Why should you quit something you otherwise love just for a couple of numbers on a scoreboard?

In swimming there is a place for everyone. If you’re really considering quitting, please sit back and really think about the sport. What caused you to want to quit? If the answer is times, consider all of the other positive aspects of swimming that make it special. Then ask again if you really think quitting is the right answer. 

My Story

I’ll be honest here. I’ve wanted to quit before. I’ve wanted to just walk out and move on with my life – a life without swimming. Sometimes, I still want to quit. Quitting would be the easy option. If I quit, that means that I don’t have to worry about whether or not I want to swim in college. I don’t have to worry about my times or the fact that they haven’t gotten significantly faster since freshman year. 

I don’t have to worry about any of that. 

However, part of the reason that I love swimming isn’t because of my times at all. I love being part of a team and how swimming acts as a “destresser” for me. I love how everyone can track their own, personal goals. And I love the water itself. 

The next time you’re thinking about quitting, I’d like you to consider all the good things you’d be missing out on if you did. There are, after all, a lot of pros about the swimming world!

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

2 comments

  1. avatar
    Rosemary Niebauer

    I never thought of swimming for Y or club
    in college but a great idea. Swimming is a great
    lifelong sport. Good article for sure!

  2. avatar
    Bob Niebauer

    I really enjoyed this article and I have trouble swimming one length of a pool! Ms. Dunn makes several great points about life in general here.

    Thank you!

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