Motivational Monday: Swimming with Teens Helped Make Swimming Fun Again

Middle of Pool - swimming

Motivational Monday: Swimming with Teens Helped Make Swimming Fun Again

When I came home from college in May, I was burned out. I knew that if I wanted to hit the goals I set for myself for my senior season, I had to train often this summer. However, I was so emotionally, mentally and physically drained that the thought of going even just once a day seemed like this Herculean feat. At some point during my college career, I began to put an astronomical amount of pressure on myself, even after undergoing and recovering from hip and shoulder surgery. I refused to give myself grace, and to enjoy the process. I was so focused on getting back to my best times and trying to surpass them that I forgot how to have fun. 

Showing up to that first club practice, I was struck with a couple of realizations. First, I was old. At 21, I was five years older than the next-oldest swimmer in the highest group. On top of that, I had no idea who any of them were because I had been out the past two summers due to surgery. Second, the atmosphere was light and relaxed compared to my college team. My club coach was adamant that as a college swimmer, I was not under the same expectations as the club swimmers. I am old enough to know what to do and what my body needs. I was dumbfounded. It felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. A great amount of  pressure I put on myself was released. 

I felt I was given a fresh start. I could ease back into the demands of practicing at my own pace, so it would not be an impossible task. Over the next couple of weeks, I attended three to four practices a week, and slowly increased as time passed. Not feeling like I absolutely had to go to practice no matter what helped me heal enough to choose to go to more practices. By early June, I was going five to six times a week. I began to look forward to training every day again. 

What truly made swimming fun again for me was the atmosphere these young teenagers  created. The entertaining conversations they had between sets, and the constant references to memes and slang I feared I was somehow too old to understand, was refreshing. These teenagers came in every day and laughed their way through each practice. Watching them, I grasped how important it is for us to enjoy the sport, and to just have fun. Sure, swimming best times is rewarding, but it is so much sweeter when you are having fun at every stage of the process, not just the end result. 

There are times when we all need a little reminder of why we swim. We need a little help finding that childlike wonder that made swimming so special in the first place. Swimming with these younger club swimmers this summer has allowed me to tap back into the excited little girl I once was, and truly enjoy everything about the sport of swimming. I cannot imagine a better way to head into my final season, finding younger Emma and bringing her back. 


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