I’ve already been swimming for 16 years of my life and counting. Waking up at 4:50am for training every day and people often wonder what keeps us motivated? 5-6 hours of training every single day and we still do it though we end up falling asleep in class, question is… Is it all worth it? Yes it is, and here’s why:
1) We do it for pure passion
We all have goals that we want to accomplish. I remember watching the 2004 Athens Swimming Olympics when I was just 11 years old and I said “Dad, I’ll be standing on the blocks there one day and you’ll be watching me on TV too.” My dad just smiled and said, “Yes, go for it son, I’ll be waiting for you.” I trained hard from that day onwards hoping that I would be an Olympian one day.
I’m sure many swimmers are like me, we all have a goal we want to accomplish in swimming; it’s not always about the money or fame, if we were doing it for that reason then swimming would not be the right sport for us. We do it for pure passion; the strong will to achieve our goals motivates us to train hard every single day.
Though I haven’t made it to the Olympics yet, I will never give up on my dream.
2) Adrenaline rush
Standing on the starting blocks every competition with your muscles fired up gives us an indescribable adrenaline rush. Many thoughts go through our heads during competition, things like “Will I do well?” “What’s going to happen?” “Am I ready?” Who knows what would happen? Imagine hours and hours of training invested every day just for that one race, won’t you feel that a lot is at stake? That’s when we feel that strong adrenaline rush in our body, that natural high we get in every competition; it’s a pretty awesome feeling.
3) Character building
We go to every competition expecting different results; it’s not always going to be good. Sometimes, all your hard work may just go down the drain if you make a slight error on your race; be it sprinting too hard from the start or saving too much on the start, not sticking to your race plan, or falling sick right before the competition due to stress, any slight mistake and the race is over. Swimming is a brutal sport.
So what do we do after we screw up a race? Though we feel really awful like the world is against us, we still get back up on our feet and train harder for the next competition because we know that the next competition would be different. Will we do better for the next competition? We don’t know, but we just believe we will anyway.
It’s challenges like these that constantly knocks us down, but it also naturally strengthens our character overtime. It teaches us to never give up even though times are hard.
4) It bonds the whole family together
I can honestly say that swimming has bonded my whole family together, without swimming, our family would not be as close as we are today. Our common topic over the years has always been about swimming, whether good or bad. My parents have always celebrated the good times we had from the joy that swimming has brought, but they never left me through the tough times of my swimming career. It’s not always a smooth journey in swimming, I’ve had my ups and downs, but my family has always been there for me through it all, they have never given up on me, and I am really grateful for that.
Take swimming as a family effort, your parents and coaches are the chess players, and you’re the chess piece, everyone works hand in hand for a swimmer to be successful.
5) Unforgettable friendships
Everyone in the pool has the same goal, to be able to be a successful swimmer in the future. Imagine spending 5-6 hours a day training for years and seeing the same swimmers every day in and out of the pool, spending the toughest times of your life with swimmers; hard work and sweat, there would no doubt be an unbreakable bond among us. Swimmers who train together understand each other inside out, and we’ll always be there to encourage one another during the toughest times in our career.
Though we all see each other 5-6 hours a day in the pool, we still hangout out of the pool as we’ve already became best friends through the many hours spent together training.
Even when you retire from your sport, your best friends will always be swimmers. Take swimming Olympians Gary Tan and Mark Chay for an example; though they have retired from swimming for many years, they still maintain strong friendships today. It is an unbreakable bond that only swimmers would understand.
6) Once a swimmer, always a swimmer
Even after you retire, you’ll always want to get back to the swimming pool. It has already become our second home, a place where many of our great memories are, where we put all our hard work and effort in, where we use to release all the stress from school and life, an escape from reality. When you’re in the pool, you don’t have to think about anything, your mind naturally shuts off and it’s just you and your body doing the work.
7) Swimming is fun!
Though swimming may be a tough sport, we always enjoy ourselves after competitions. I believe that we should have a balance in life and swimmers do it best! Here’s what we do after competitions:
So if you were to ask me if I were to be given a choice would I still choose to swim? The answer is yes. These are the things that keep me motivated to swim every day. Swimming has definitely left me with unforgettable memories that I will treasure when I retire from the sport.
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Hard Work Pays Off