4 Reasons Why Your Teammates Are the Best Friends You Could Ask For
By Molly Lloyd, Swimming World College Intern
The past week – through all the midterms, papers, personal problems, and college antics – has been a stressful one for me personally as well as for my teammates, and it’s had me thinking about how much I appreciate having a team that is so kind and loving and caring. My college experience would not have been what it has been so far if I hadn’t had them next to me the entire time. Through thick and thin, I know they have my back.
So here are a few reasons why, as swimmers and divers, our teammates are the best friends and support we could ask for…
1. No one understands practice like they do.
It doesn’t matter how long you’ve known a person– if they don’t swim or dive, they’re never going to completely understand what practice is like. Whether you’re celebrating because your coach took mercy on you and let you do a three thousand on the house and leave, or you’re lamenting the fact that your coach made you work reverse optionals and back twisters for an hour and half during practice, your teammates can celebrate or lament along side you. They’ll stand by you and encourage you during hard sets and cheer you on when you’re trying a new dive, and you’ll know that they truly understand the work and effort – both mental and physical – that you’re putting into your training. There’s an understanding between you and your teammates that connects you in ways you can’t be connected with others.
2. They won’t judge you when you eat three plates of food AND dessert at dinner.
No one understands the intense hunger that follows a swim or dive practice than swimmers and divers. When you go out with your family or your non-aquatics friends, even if they don’t say anything, there’s a small hint of judgment in their eyes. Sometimes you’ll get the backhanded comment of, “wow! that’s a lot of food, that’s…impressive.” Other times you can just feel your mom judging you as you order a double cheese burger with fries…and bacon…and a milkshake. You never have to worry about that with your team; you know you can go to the dining hall after practice and feel proud of – and satisfied with – the 17 plates that have piled up between you and three of your teammates.
3. They’re always there to give you all the hugs and positive touches you need.
On my team, we are really big on the idea of positive touches, which are pretty much wanted physical affirmations. Positive touches consist of hugs, head scratches, hand holding, nuzzles, or pats on the back. According to one of our team captains, the average person should be receiving around seven positive touches a day in order to feel good. Swimmers and divers spend enough time with each other while in bathing suits that we tend to be 90-100 percent comfortable around each other while fully clothed. Whenever you’re feeling down and need of some positive energy, your teammates will never fail to give you the hug that you’d been needing all day. Whether you’re day was fantastic or terrible, a couple cuddles with your teammates is the best way to bring it to a close.
4. They’ve seen you at your best, as well as at your worst.
Your teammates have seen you in all walks of life, both good and bad; great and just plain awful. They’ve seen you in tears after getting incredibly frustrated about a dive you just can’t seem to get, but they’ve also seen your elation after getting a best time at conference. They’ve seen you red faced and gasping for air in the middle of what feels like the hardest set of your life, but they’ve also seen you jumping for joy after finally ripping that dive you’ve been trying so hard to get. They’ve seen you at 6:30 a.m., grumpy and tired and not ready for morning lift. They’ve seen it all, including the time you spend together off of the boards and out of the pool.
They’ve seen you laugh so hard you cried and have been there to congratulate you after getting a good grade on a paper or midterm. They’ve seen you stressing out over finals, rolling on the floor of the library as a way to cope, and just generally frustrated that all four of your finals just happened to fall within three days of each other. They’ve seen your wonderful highs and your terrible lows and, for some reason, still make the active decision to spend more time with you than they have to. Your team has seen you at your best and at your worst and they love you for it.