Why We Need to Measure Success Differently This Year


Why We Need to Measure Success Differently This Year

In a time like today, it can seem difficult to view things as a success. With consistent setbacks and things pulling us in every direction, it can be hard to succeed. The swimming community and every individual in it has been affected. For a lot of people, being in the pool was not an option, and progress that had been made was completely ruined. 

The past year has been difficult for many swimmers. Swimming is a sport in which one day off can set you two weeks behind, so six months off can do you plenty of damage. And it’s difficult to accept. It’s hard to see your goals and aspirations slip through your fingers, out of your control. For a lot of swimmers, last year’s championship season was cut short, and they never got a chance to put all their hard work to test. 

What Does Success Mean to Us?

This season, it’s hard to feel successful in the pool. Some athletes may have been able to be in a pool for the past few months, some may have had seasons delayed, others might have had a few opportunities to practice and some none at all. For a sport that is so dependent on consistent practicing, it can be difficult to go to a personal best when half a year of training slipped away. 

When you get in the pool and add time or don’t feel your best, it can feel like an automatic failure. Not doing your best in the water might make you feel indolent and incompetent, but it’s hard to see time as a true reflection of your dedication when there were so many setbacks over the past year. 

That’s why, this year especially, it’s important to see “success” in a different light. It is crucial that when we measure our successes that we look past the time on the scoreboard. Being in the water, being able to do what we love the most, despite all the turbulence in the world, is one of the greatest successes so far. 

Racing is a whole different beast than training, and it’s important to comprehend that. How we perform in a race isn’t necessarily a direct reflection of hard work. After months and months of ups and downs and the constant worry about not knowing if you would get the opportunity to practice, much less to race, it’s important to understand that hard work may feel different than what it felt like a year ago today. Progress was lost, but that’s perfectly okay. 

Worth More Than a Time

Take this past year as a lesson. As a learning experience. Life is not a straight line, as you never know what can be thrown at you, like a pandemic in the middle of your swimming career. And while you may feel alone, lost, and frustrated, remember that everyone has experienced some form of loss during all of this. While not every swimmer has had the same experience with this pandemic, it has not been easy on anyone. 

So, for the swimmers who feel that their times and their races aren’t good enough, remember to cut yourself and your body some slack. Your success is NOT purely based on the time of your race. Success needs to be measured differently. Success is getting the opportunity to even swim. Success is putting your all into your swimming. It is giving 100%. Be kind to yourself, and remember that your worth is not based on how you perform and that success is so much more than a couple of minutes of swimming.

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