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.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

Welcome to our community. We invite you to join our discussion. Our community guidelines are simple: be respectful and constructive, keep on topic, and support your fellow commenters. Commenting signifies that you agree to our Terms of Use

13 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Tish Coffin
Tish Coffin
2 years ago

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

Never quit
Never quit
2 years ago

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

jillian balodis
jillian balodis
1 year ago
Reply to  Never quit

I was a swimmer and now at 64 after breast cancer I am in the ocean swimming. It soothes my soul and makes me whole. Once a swimmer always a swimmer.

Gamecock Girl
Gamecock Girl
2 years ago

Love this! Completely identified with every part of this.

Stephen Zarzecki
Stephen Zarzecki
2 years 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”.

katycoachswim
katycoachswim
1 year ago

And it was always fun swimming for you when I was home from college in the summer! Especially the long car trips for travel trips with CGSA!

Scott
Scott
2 years 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.

Anne
Anne
6 months ago
Reply to  Scott

Thanks for sharing.My situation was similar with a very domineering father. Stoped swimming after high-school – it was actually a relief. Reflecting- I learned much from this sport and started teaching swimming and distance swimming again– in my mid-50’s. I am now 64 and l am in love with swimming. I also belong to a master program. Swimming will always be a part of my life…for the rest of my life.

Anne

Julie
Julie
1 year ago

Started swimming at age 6, competed through college and Masters. Coached local age group teams for 30 years. I also officiate high school meets. Swimming is my go to workout. So thankful my parents gave me the opportunity. I have met many wonderful swimmers through the years. One of the best social sports and a life long sport.

Debra Hall
Debra Hall
1 year ago

I am a swimmer. I started when I was 40 and had back surgery, no running for a while ?
I am now 66 and swim 3600 yds a day, 6 days a week hopefully. I have also got three plates and 8 screws in my neck. There is no doubt I am a swimmer and will stay a swimmer until I can no longer do it. I also ride cutting horses every day

Trevor D’
Trevor D’
1 year ago

Great piece! I can so relate to the piece, started at 4 competition at 6, burnt out by 16, returned at 20, masters etc and coaching, it opened up new countries, made and kept old and new friends. Opened up careers (no swimming = no Beach Lifeguarding – Marine Police officer, Commercial-diving), opened up every known water related sport that required swimming to save your life or simply to get back on the vessel you fell off or out of. Now bi monthly when I get to FL I get a chance to preverbally-plough up and down the lanes of our local outdoor 25m and every stroke is now a life saver.

Rainer Henkel
Rainer Henkel
1 year ago

1000% always everywhere ! Rainer Henkel WorldChampion

Jack
Jack
1 year ago

As a former High School / college swimmer and then HS and age group coach for 5 yrs, I understand completely. I still kept teaching and coaching just a different sport ( track and CC). Now at 72 and swimming Masters it has brought back those great memories and a whole new level of friendships. Like so many I had great coaches growing up and now I’m blessed with 2 great coaches at this new level.

13
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x