Why We Swim

Photo Courtesy: Angela Robuck

By Isabelle Robuck, Swimming World College Intern.

As Christmas season approaches, thus begins the family gatherings over the holidays! With seeing family comes one of the most asked questions we receive: How’s swimming going? Our response is usually generic and full of chipper positivity, regardless of how it’s actually going.

But once we’re asked enough, we start to think about how swimming is actually going. When we think about our careers, we begin to ask questions of ourselves. Why do we swim? Is it worth it?

There are a lot of things we go through as swimmers, but in the end, it all makes sense. Here are four reasons why we swim.

1. Individual Confidence


Photo Courtesy: Angela Robuck

Although we technically swim on a team, it’s very individualized. We each specialize in different strokes and races and come up with our very own race strategies. Sure, our teammates make up a lot of our experiences within the sport. They help make swimming more manageable, and they’re a part of our memories. Not to mention we can always count on best mates to be at the end of our lane cheering us on. But, at the end of the day, the times you see on the score board are the work and effort you put in the water. Swimming is about giving it our best and competing for ourselves, not just for our teammates. We are the ones pushing through the pain and getting better.

Swimming builds confidence. It allows for a wide range of improvement, so it’s hard not to improve in one way or another. With improvement comes fast times and better swims. With better swims comes victory, and, most importantly, confidence in the water. Confidence itself is addicting – once we get just a small taste of it, it’s hard not to want more. We keep digging for that feeling of contentment, strength and success. Nothing feels worse than getting out-touched, so we push past our limits every day to be a better version of ourselves and win that race, or get that best time… Even if it’s only by half a second.

2. Time Management and Dedication


Photo Courtesy: Pixabay

Sometimes, 24 hours in a day just doesn’t seem like enough. We’re busy all the time, whether it be in the pool, at school or at work. When things get crazy, it’s hard to remember why we spread ourselves so thin, but that’s the nature of being a student-athlete. We learn to balance our priorities and manage our time so we are able to get everything done in an efficient and timely manner.

Moreover, some of us try to maintain some sort of social life outside of the pool. Although it can seem impossible, it’s important for us to take some time away from the water and let our mind and body recover. It also helps remind us that we’re more than just athletes; we’re normal people as well. We like to do fun things, like go out with our friends and spend time with family. It helps keep us grounded and prevent burnout, which is something we’ve all experienced to some degree.

However, when it comes down to it, we love swimming more than anything. So we do whatever it takes to be able to be in the water, even if it means making sacrifices.

3. Athleticism and Health


Photo Courtesy: Annie Grevers

Although it’s very tiresome, swimmers tend to be some of the most aerobically fit athletes out there. We may not necessarily be able to catch or kick a ball very well, but when it comes to cardio and loading up on yardage, swimming four miles a day comes off as pretty easy to us but nearly impossible to most of the general public. We don’t even really think about the amount of energy we put into swimming, either. The pain is almost second nature. In fact, without it, we feel like we’re missing something. Our day almost isn’t complete if we haven’t died doing some sort of training. Plus, there is no greater feeling than killing a super hard practice!

A bonus to the chaos – we have appetites big enough to feed a whole family. This isn’t an exaggeration, either. It’s not very often throughout a day that we aren’t hungry. Working out as much as we do, we can pretty much eat anything we want without the worry of weight gain. A downside, however, is that unhealthy food tends to hinder our abilities in the water a little bit more than others. Nonetheless, it sure does taste good!

4. Friendships and Memories


Photo Courtesy: UNO Swim & Dive

Swimming friendships are unparalleled. There’s absolutely nothing greater than the bond we form with our teammates: our memories are priceless. In fact, this is one of the most important parts of our sport. Through all of the blood, sweat and tears, it’s the friendships and memories that we’ll remember far longer than any fast time. They’ve seen us at our worst and our best. They know us better than anyone, and we trust their judgement almost more than our own. All of the fun times – the inside jokes full of laughs, and of course, the meaningful heart to hearts – and the angry rants about a tough set or practice or the disappointment after a bad race. Every moment together is well spent, whether it be in the water or out. Swim friends are pals for life for far more reasons than one.

So that’s why we swim: because it’s all that we are. Because we can’t imagine our lives without it. Chlorine runs in our blood, and the permanent goggle marks remind us of all the incomparable memories and love we’ve shared within the sport. We swim because ordinary isn’t an option. We swim because there is no other place we’d rather be than in the water. We swim for the memories we’ve made and continue to make every day. Most importantly, we swim for ourselves and our sheer love for the sport, and that’s reason enough to swim.

Why do you swim?

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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