The Lifestyle of a Swimmer: How Morning Practices Serve as a Bond


The Lifestyle of a Swimmer: How Morning Practices Serve as a Bond

By Pat Hallahan

Author Pat Hallahan has been involved in the sport of swimming at many levels – age-group, club, scholastic. As Swimming World’s guy behind a new Lifestyle series that launches with this piece about morning practice, he can easily relate to the experiences of swimmers around the world.


Take Survey

What separates competitive swimming from most other sports? For many, it’s mentally preparing yourself to take that early morning plunge before work or school. I’m talking about the fateful morning practice. This feeling is unlike any other. Morning swim practices are the ultimate mental and physical test. Can you get out of bed? Maybe take the tarps off the pool? Jump in the water while it’s still pitch dark outside? Looking out onto the steam coming off the surface, the pool lights illuminate the water. You are about to begin your day.

Morning swim practices frequently start at a young age. I personally spent almost all of my school years swimming competitively, so there is no shortage of swim practice stories. It’s not unusual for swimmers to have initially resented the idea of getting in the pool before a day in the classroom. However, as we grow older, swimmers from across the globe realize they share a collective experience: Morning workouts. Other than getting in some extra yardage, what are the benefits of swimming in the morning? Simple: Mind, Body, Spirit. If you can jump in the pool in the morning, you can do anything. It sets a precedent for hard work, discipline, time-management, and mental awareness. The feeling of rejuvenation after a morning practice is one many swimmers are accustomed to. It sets the sport apart.


Photo Courtesy: Annie Grevers

Why do we have fond memories of morning practice, and why do we keep going? Morning practice celebrates a unique bond. Rolling out of bed and jumping in the pool builds a special kind of camaraderie between swimmers. Swimmers share some of our most hilarious stories at morning practices. “Do you remember when so-and-so fell into the pool with their clothes on while pulling the tarps?” These instances are what make swimming in the dark worth it.

How we prepare for morning practice varies. Some like to go in without eating. Some can’t swim a lap without something in their stomach. We wear whatever is most convenient and comfortable. Getting to the pool in the morning is never a runway spectacle. Some of us need our coffee before practice, and electrolytes and water are almost always a necessity when you’re about to crush some laps before you start your day.


Photo Courtesy: Annie Grevers

After we’ve hammered out a morning workout, there is certainly nothing like a meal. From smoothies to full-on diner-style breakfasts, we’ve earned our choice.

When you hit the wall and look back at the clock to see you’ve beaten your best time, it’s hard to stop yourself from smiling. It’s a feeling of accomplishment and success.

Are you about to look at the black line as the sun rises? Your day is beginning. You can accomplish anything today. You’re a swimmer!

Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Len Rodriguez
1 month ago

So True

Charles Baillie
1 month ago

Dedication and discipline are qualities that stay with you for life🙂

Robin Brickenden
29 days ago

I can only come up with one real reason to swim in the morning and that is ‘heats & finals’. You have to be able to swim at your best in the morning or you don’t make finals. Simple.

29 days ago

i am one of those weirdos that lowkey enjoys morning practice

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x