Respect as a Foundational Trait of Swimming

Photo Courtesy: Caroline Kosciusko

By Emily Thirion, Swimming World College Intern.

Swimming is one of the most grueling, time consuming, and wholly demanding sports to exist. Those who begin age group swimming at a young age are quickly instilled with a sense of responsibility and maturity far beyond their peers. No matter how old one might be when they engage in the sport, swimmers know that it is a process that cannot be undertaken alone. To prosper in the sport, respect must become a cornerstone trait of their personalities.

Respect the sport.


Photo Courtesy: Atlantic 10 Conference

First and foremost, swimmers need to recognize that they will get out exactly how much they put in. Swimming is not a sport where corners can be cut or practices completed half-heartedly. Swimming is tough. It can be mentally, physically, and emotionally taxing. The pool demands your all. Talent is something that can be helpful, but it cannot be counted on for long-term achievement. Hard work is a requirement. Swimming involves a lot of sacrifice and decision making. Respecting the sport and the process involved in reaching success is a necessity.

Respect your coaching staff, your trainers and support staff.


Photo Courtesy: Mike Nobles

Your head and assistant coaches, strength and conditioning instructors, athletic trainers, and other support staff’s sole job is to make sure that you achieve your potential. They are committed to helping you become the best athlete you can be. Every day, they are in the pool and weight room long before you arrive and oftentimes remain long after you leave. They spend their free time studying technical aspects of the sport, drawing lineups, and creating new workouts to further push you. They spend hours working on schedules, cross training opportunities, and improving your nutritional regimen.

Having respect for these individuals may seem like a given, but sometimes it is easy to forget that they are such an integral part of the trials and tribulations you undergo. Respect and trust between yourself and your coaches is essential to the achieving the best possible results in the pool. Sometimes this can be tricky, but relying on their knowledge and experience should prevail in the end.

Respect your teammates.


Photo Courtesy: Sam Ray

There is no one else who can understand what you are going through as well as your teammates do. They are the ones who experience the same practices, sets, and day-to-day conditioning activities that you do. There is a unique bond that is forged between swimmers through hard sets. Teammates are the ones who know when to push you, cheer you on, or just be a silent presence at your back throughout the practice. Your team is your second family, and even if you bicker, there is a mutual respect created through a shared undertaking.

Having trust and confidence between yourself and your teammates can be the difference between a winning program and a losing one. As much as swimming is an individual sport, what makes it enjoyable and ultimately worthwhile is the community that is formed with your fellow athletes. Respecting your teammates will allow them to trust you and lean on you when times are challenging.

Respect your competitors.


Photo Courtesy: Megan Zarriello

While it can sometimes be difficult to respect your adversaries in the pool, being a good sportsman and fostering an environment of healthy competition is something that everyone can value. No one enjoys losing, and it is even worse to witness a winner who celebrates excessively. Whether you are on top of the podium or on the bottom, it is always good to remember that everyone left all they had in the pool, and that is to be respected.

Respect yourself.


Photo Courtesy: SIPA USA

Swimming should be empowering. You are the one who shows up and trains unbelievably hard every day. You eat correctly, go to bed early, and cross train to groom yourself for success. Respect the work you put in and the process it has been to get to meet day. You are so capable. Respect your perseverance and preparation to carry you through your races.

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