Swimmer Hobbies: A Necessary Break From the Pool

Caeleb Dressel - Dog Jane

Swimmer Hobbies: A Necessary Break From the Pool

By Annika Hobson, Swimming World College Intern

One of the most demanding sports, swimming calls for a great deal of dedication, so it can be helpful to have some hobbies to relax after a hard day of training. A swimmer’s main hobby remains swimming, but supplemental hobbies can help a swimmer recover, improve their mental health, and have fun away from the pool. Swimmer hobbies can range from participating in other sports, to playing an instrument to cooking and more.

Music: Listening and Playing

Among swimmers standing behind the block, you can always find some listening to music. Listening to music can help swimmers pump themselves up for big races. Music can also help center a swimmer and allow them to focus on their own lane. A musical hobby can also appear outside of the sport. For example, Olympian Lilly King plays classical music on the piano to help relieve stress. Additionally, Caeleb Dressel claims to not be the best drummer, but he has a lot of fun playing. Playing the drums allows Dressel to experiment and play with rhythms other than stroke rates in the pool. Another two swimmers who love to play instruments are Katie Ledecky and Elizabeth Beisel. Back in 2018 at USA Swimming’s Golden Goggles Awards, Ledecky and Beisel performed a duet. Ledecky played the piano and Beisel played the violin. For all of these swimmers, music provides a release from the daily grind of swimming.


A major release for a lot of swimmers is coming home from a long day of swimming to their beloved pets. Newly minted world record holder in the 100 freestyle (SCM), Australian Kyle Chalmers has an affinity for reptiles. On Chalmers’ Instagram, he explains on a post from June 6 that “for those who don’t know, reptiles are my release & escape from the pool. They give me that distraction I need to reset & take a break. If I’m not at the pool, you can find me here (with my reptiles)!” Growing his reptile collection provides Chalmers with a much-needed distraction from the pool and it has allowed him to join a community of reptile lovers. Caring for his reptiles gives Chalmers something to think about other than swimming.

Another example of swimmer who loves to go home after a long day of training to a pet is Caeleb Dressel. As an American Olympian Dressel spends a lot of his time at the pool, but waiting at home is his dog, Jane. Jane is Dressel’s loyal companion. Dressel has combined his love of swimming and Jane by bringing her to the pool for a race. Throughout a video of Dressel swimming with his dog, you can see Dressel grinning widely and Jane happily barking.

Watching Movies

Another excellent hobby for swimmers to unwind and relieve stress is to watch movies. Tokyo Olympian Erica Sullivan loves movies and providing reviews of movies. Follow Erica’s Twitter (@erica_sully) for witty remarks and excited reviews of movies and television shows. Sullivan watches movies and reviews them out of a fascination with the film industry, but it is also a great way to unwind after a long week of brutal distance training. The next time you are super sore and tired from a big swim set, check out one of Erica’s recommended movies.


Sometimes swimmers cannot get too far away from the water, so they take up surfing as a fun activity. Tokyo Olympian Michael Andrew currently resides in Encinitas, California and loves to hit up the surf when the opportunity arises. In an interview with NBC Olympics, Andrew says that in terms of doing other sports: “surfing is what I do most and it helps me decompress from training but also works me physically.” Surfing allows Andrew to tire out other muscles and take a break from swimming in the pool. Another swimmer who loves to surf is seven-time Olympic medalist Aaron Peirsol. While Peirsol no longer competitively swims, his love of the water remains strong through surfing and caring for the ocean.


Taking the internet by storm, Olympic diver Tom Daley showed off his favorite hobby, knitting, at the Tokyo Olympics. Daley loves to knit and completed many projects over the course of the Olympics. But one of his most fun projects was creating a pouch for his gold medal. According to his Instagram, Daley says that knitting helped him in “finding calm, mindfulness, and (it helps him) relieve stress.” Knitting is a wonderful way to take a pause from the world of competitive sports and in the process, make something cool.

Cooking and Nutrition

A great hobby for swimmers to pick up is a love for cooking. With a hobby of cooking, swimmers can ensure they are eating nutritiously and healthy. Natalie Coughlin, a 12-time Olympic medalist, debuted a cookbook in 2019. Her cookbook, Cook to Thrive: Recipes to Fuel Body and Soul, demonstrates her love of cooking yummy and healthy recipes. Coughlin is just one example of a swimmer who enjoys cooking. After a long workout, a home cooked meal is a perfect form of recovery for the body and a great way to relax the mind as well.

Which of these swimmer hobbies are your favorites?

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

1 comment

  1. avatar
    Dr Bruce Lawrie

    Solid advice, thank you!

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