Preparing for the New Year: 4 Things Swimmers Can Do to Make the Most of 2022

Jul 29, 2021; Tokyo, Japan; Lilly King (USA) dives into the water while competing in the women's 200m breaststroke semifinal during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre. Mandatory Credit: Grace Hollars-USA TODAY Sports

Preparing for the New Year: 4 Things Swimmers Can Do to Make the Most of 2022

With 2021 drawing to a close, many athletes must begin to think about the New Year. What do they hope to accomplish in the next 12 months? What goals can they create to help them stay on track? How can they make this year better than the last?

These are just some of the questions bouncing around this New Year’s Eve. However, there are ways that swimmers – new and old – can make the most of 2022.

1. Set New Goals

So, this one may seem obvious. But, in fact, it is incredibly important for swimmers to realize just how beneficial having goals can be. But – you might be asking – what about the old goals? The unfinished business from 2021?

Keeping old goals around is perfectly fine! If a swimmer wants to keep going after a long-fought-for time or a particularly hard event – good for them. This proves they have a strong work ethic and can keep going, even after failures. However, it is also important for swimmers to create fresh, new goals.

“Goal setting in sports is especially important in order to measure and improve performance as well as to achieve other positive effects. Each athlete sets particular goals which are integral to his successes and failures. Goal setting is always present regardless of the difficulty of the sport or the level at which the athlete is competing,” the Sports Rec website writes.

In this case, setting new goals would offer a fresh boost of motivation, without taking away any hard work that might have been accomplished in 2021. Athletes may even want to consider making a checklist of their goals, so that they can actually see the progress they are making towards them.

2. Try New Events

Have you always been a backstroker? Always preferred the longer events? Well, if that’s the case, maybe 2022 is a great time to try something new.

“When a swimmer gets to swim a wide range of events, it gives them an opportunity to experiment and determine what races fit them,” Robert Griswold writes online on TeamUnify.com.

Trying new things can be a good experience for anyone, but especially for swimmers. Trying new events can be helpful in the event of a plateau – a period where swimmers go for a long while without improving their times. By trying new things, swimmers open themselves up to improvement in other areas.

Even if competing in other events might seem like a daunting task, or a scary one, it is possible that swimmers might end up really enjoying new events. A baskstroker might find some fun in swimming the 100 fly for the first time, or a sprinter might find themselves enjoying the 1650. But they’d never know if they didn’t try.

And the New Year is a perfect time to try new things.

3. Reach Out to New Teammates

Often, athletes who swim together on a team become good friends. These teammates can encourage one another and help each other reach their individual goals. Because of this, having a strong bond with the swimmers around you can make the swimming experience more enjoyable.

Also, if there are newer swimmers just joining the team, reaching out to them and making new friendships can help make their experience better. Younger swimmers will naturally look up to those that are older than them for guidance.

“Group swimming gives your child an opportunity to make friends that will translate into friendships even outside of the pool. Birthday parties, sleepovers or just someone to hang out with on the weekend, group swimming helps create these opportunities,” B&C Aquatics writes online.

Friendships made in the pool can last a lifetime, so young athletes should take every opportunity to help each other out when they can. Plus, supporting one another will only help swim times improve. Swim team members encourage one another to be better than they were the day before.

4. Make Every Day Better Than the Last

One thing that can help the New Year seem better than the year before, is having a healthy and positive mindset. Having a flexible, growth mindset helps shift things in the minds of young swimmers. Swimmers compete with the same mindset that they practice with. So, if they have a positive mindset in practice, that same mentality will transfer into meets.

The key to positive self talk is to treat yourself with respect. Encourage yourself as you would encourage those around you. Say “good job” and “great swim” after races, even if the times weren’t your best. Not everyone can swim best times at every meet – but that doesn’t mean those swims were all “bad.” In fact, as long as young swimmers have fun and don’t give up, they will be able to reach their full potential.

Looking to the Future: 2022!

2022 can be a promising year for all athletes. All that matters is that swimmers learn to make the most of the new opportunities that come for them with the New Year. Good luck and Happy New Year to any aspiring athletes and swimmers.

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

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Bruce
7 months ago

Good advice, thanks.

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Rosemary Niebauer
7 months ago

Something to think about for sure. Good tips!

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Bob Niebauer
6 months ago

Thank you for getting the new year off to a good start!