The Best and Worst Parts about Competitive Swimming

Every sport has their highs and lows. Swimming is no exception. In composing this list, I tried to be as objective as possible. These are not necessarily my own personal top three, but they are three that swimmers everywhere will agree with.

The Best:

  • Taper

I don’t really need to elaborate on this. Taper is life.

  • Walking Out When You are the Top 8

Nothing makes you feel like more of a badass than getting to walk across the pool deck to the final. This is magnified if you were the fastest of the morning prelims and had the opportunity to select the walk-out song. Go ahead and bask in the moment. You earned it.

  • The End of Saturday Practice

Saturday morning practice is the last opportunity in the week to train. There is nothing more satisfying than the end of this practice where you know you have completed another hard week of giving your all and now you get to enjoy a small break before the daily grind starts again on Monday.

The Worst:

  • Jumping Into the Water First Thing in the Morning

Not only have you woken up before sunrise and dragged yourself to the pool, but now you are expected to dive straight in. There is nothing that mocks your desire to go back to bed more. Nothing is worse than the first few seconds of unescapable cold that greets you when you first dive in.

  • Not Being Able to Depend on Swimming Alone to Stay in Shape

This is something that most non-swimmers are surprised to learn about. To an outsider, it seems odd that swimmers spend hours of their week working outside of the pool. From running, spin class, yoga or lifting weights, swimmers have to rely on a variety of workouts to keep themselves in top physical shape. Having to incorporate everything outside of the water can be both mentally and physically taxing.

  • Putting on a fastskin

While modern regulations have banned the full-body racing suit (think the American flag swimsuits that were rocked during the Beijing Olympics), there is nothing more stressful than putting on a new fastskin. Fastskins are designed to be skin tight in order to help with muscle compression and to reduce drag. A brand new fastskin can take anywhere from ten to thirty minutes to put on. While they may feel great in the water, putting one on is one of the biggest annoyances in swimming.



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