Once a Swimmer, Always a Swimmer: A Reflection

swimmer - coach

Once a Swimmer, Always a Swimmer: A Reflection

When I started swimming, I could have never imagined how much it would change my life.

Swimming is more than just a sport. It is a lifestyle. It is the activity to which we dedicate our body, energy, heart, and soul. Equally important, swimming shapes our personality and routine and influences our decisions. For that reason, retirement sounds like a solid goodbye that ends a lifetime relationship. However, it does not have to be like that. For instance, many former swimmers become coaches, meet managers, sports journalists, members of committees, owners of swimming foundations and more. Thus, as you can see, their participation in the sport continues, but this time in a different manner. And yet, that is what happened to me, so let me share my experience with you.

As a Swimmer

I started swimming when I was six years old. However, time flies. Suddenly, I was competing at national and international swim meets. I kept that competitive level for more than ten years, and the journey was incredible. Over that time, I met plenty of people, learned from my mistakes, visited different places, developed new skills and had fun. Nonetheless, I have always been thankful for all the practices, the unforgettable memories, the obstacles, and the indescribable feelings at every “take your marks.”

Unfortunately, due to personal reasons, I had no other option but to retire. Despite this, my love for swimming did not disappear. Therefore, I looked for a new way to keep myself close to the pool. Complementary to this, I wanted to positively impact the upcoming generations by sharing my thoughts and knowledge with them. With that in mind, I applied to work as an assistant coach at the same club where I trained all my life.

As an Assistant Coach

There are several reasons why being an assistant coach became one of the most fulfilling experiences. First, I was fortunate enough to work with my lifetime coach, Diego Sarabia, who has had a tremendous impact on my life inside and outside the pool. Second, as a former swimmer, it was easier for me to understand both sides of the equation. As a result, I built a strong relationship and developed efficient communication with both swimmers and other coaches. Third, as an assistant coach, I motivated young swimmers by sharing my story with them. Last, I got the chance to understand the sport from a new perspective, which, in fact, is a lot different from what I expected.

After working there for a couple of months, it was hard to say goodbye when the summer ended. However, I knew that I wanted to continue positively impacting the swimming community. Therefore, I applied to be part of the Swimming World Magazine team in an internship role.

As a Journalist

In the last six months, I have written stories about different topics. Some include sharing other swimmers’ accomplishments, discussing meeting schedules, communicating technique advice, and providing goal-setting guidance. In a nutshell, my goal has always been to inform and teach swimmers about the sport. Additionally, I researched and wrote about the topics that what I would have liked to read about when I was a swimmer. On top of that, as a sports journalist, I have continued watching competitions and reading other articles to keep current on what is going on in the swimming world. As a result, I have strengthened my relationship with the sport. In fact, I feel that I have studied more about swimming as a journalist than as a swimmer.

Swimming changed my life

Evidently, swimming is still present in my daily life even after more than two years of retirement. I might not be a swimmer anymore, but it continues to influence my personal goals. Nevertheless, swimming has built my character by making me a dedicated and committed person. Furthermore, it gave me the opportunity to study abroad. Subsequently, it has helped me to create a clearer professional path. More importantly, swimming has shown me that the most important competition is the one against myself. For those reasons and more, it is impossible to forget or stop being part of the most beautiful sport in the world.

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Tish Coffin
4 months ago

Amen! Once a swimmer, always a swimmer!!!!

Never quit
4 months ago

Why did you stop swimming? I don’t get it.

Gamecock Girl
4 months ago

Love this! Completely identified with every part of this.

Stephen Zarzecki
4 months ago

I am a swimmer. I am 75 years old, started swimming at age 7. Enjoyed age group, high school, college and still enjoying Masters. I was fortunate to have good coaches and supportive parents – I was never overly pressured to perform. Many teammates were not as fortunate, pressured and pushed to excel rather than enjoy, they quit as soon as they could. I am sad for that. Swimming IS a beautiful sport, and I am thankful and happy to say “I am a swimmer”.

4 months ago

I was an age group swimmer from age 8-17 in yesteryear. Did really well, jr olympics back in the 70’s. Had a dysfunctional relationship with the sport being pushed into it (my father decided he was smarter than my coaches) and ruined my love for the sport and my relationship with him.
I’m 60 now and joined a master’s team in Chicago a year and 1/2 ago. Fell back in love with the sport, teammates and competing again. Just did my first nationals and looking forward to getting a ovation when I’m in my 90’s competing, like i witnessed.
Best sport ever. No matter how old you are.

Rainer Henkel
17 days ago

1000% always everywhere ! Rainer Henkel WorldChampion

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