Training 5 hours a day and waking up at 4:50am every single day.
Not only that, sore bodies and a groggy mood due to the limited amount of recovery time from the previous session, that is the daily life of a swimmer.
I remember my psychology teacher telling our class a few years back,
“If I were to have children next time, I will NEVER EVER let them specialize in swimming.
Why is that so?
Let me be honest with you, out of all sports, swimmers train the hardest! Waking up so early in the morning and diving into the cold pool, even I will never be able to commit to their training hours though I am not the one swimming.
Also, what if my child does not win? He/she would have wasted all of his time training. How is that worth it?”
This is the statement from my teacher that I still remember to date. In my 16 years of swimming, I have never once regretted choosing a career path in swimming thought it may be demanding, and here’s why:
1) Swimming is demanding but worth it
The more effort you put in, the more appreciative you will be of your results, that is how life works.
Imagine this, you train 3x a week instead of 10x and you still win an Olympic medal, would you still treasure that Olympic medal as much as you would if you were to train much harder? I highly doubt so.
That is because often a times we tend to treasure things that are hard earned. Victories that come easy will always be forgotten overtime.
Therefore swimmers usually treasure their medals a lot because it is always hard earned. Every medal is a memory of all the hard work and time invested into training our hearts out.
I treasure every medal I earn as it has taken me a lot of effort and hard work to win those medals.
2) Swimming is addictive
Just like any other sport, swimming is REALLY addictive! And to be honest, It is a vicious cycle.
When you win a race, we get that ‘feel good feeling’ and we would want to experience that kind of feeling once again which leads to training as hard just to be able to maintain a top swimmer.
However, when you lose a race, you would be frustrated and upset about the lost therefore that will motivate you to train even harder.
So no matter what happens, you will always find yourself swimming because you just simply can’t get out of the sport.
3) Swimming has taught me to be a fighter
Over the years of swimming I’ve grown to become really competitive and all my friends have the same drive. I guess swimming has wired us that way as swimming is a really brutal sport; you either win or lose, there is no in between.
Why is this so? Let me ask you this, who was the 2nd place behind Michael Phelps for the 200m Butterfly in the 2008 Beijing Olympics? That’s right, I honestly can’t remember it myself. People only remember who won the race, second place finishes are always forgotten.
Thus over the years I’ve trained with the goal of being the best athlete in Singapore, which has really motivated me to push to my limit for every single training session.
4) Swimming has taught me that setbacks are part and parcel of life
After many years of competitive swimming, I understand that setbacks are a part and parcel of life, it’s unavoidable. The key thing is knowing how to bounce back from every setback and come back stronger. I have experienced many setbacks, thus over the years I’ve became mentally tough overall.
5) Swimming creates unforgettable friendships
You see the same old faces for 5 hours EVERY SINGLE DAY. If you still aren’t close to your training mates, then you have serious issues. (No, seriously) it’s almost the same in the army, we go through the same shit together every day thus unforgettable friendships are naturally formed over the years. We experience the tough training sets, the insane muscle soreness and the scolding from coaches together, so we’re definitely a tight group of friends.
Of course we also share our problems with each other out of the pool so we are not only training mates, but the best of friends as well.
6) Swimming has taught me discipline
One of the toughest things to do is to constantly wake up at 4:50am every morning knowing that a hard swim set awaits you. But sacrifices must be made if you want to win. While others are sleeping, swimmers are already up working our hearts out. Even the sun hasn’t risen yet. But I’d rather sacrifice 2-3 hours of sleep every day to train than to face defeat when the day of competition comes. Thus this has taught me to be a much more discipline person overall.
7) Swimming has bonded my family
We celebrate every time I win a race but also learn from every setback that I’ve experienced in this sport. Honestly, all of our daily conversations pretty much revolve around swimming, so if it weren’t for swimming, I don’t think our family would be as close as we are today. Swimming has really bonded the whole family together. The joy and sorrow from my successes and failures have all been shared in my family.
8) The perks of being a swimmer
What are the chances of enjoying National Day with the Prime Minister? Chances are really slim for normal people like us. I guess swimming has given me great opportunities like these. Not only that, I even had a chance to take a photo with PM Mr Lee Hsien Loong, it was really a privilege! It has definitely made me even more proud to be a National Swimmer. 🙂
Since when was anything free in Singapore? But getting all of this stuff for FREE??? Yes of course! Brands will be proud to sponsor us because we bring glory and exposure to their brands as well! So forget about investing in all these costly luxury items as we can get them for free. 🙂 That’s if we keep performing of course!
Here’s more sponsored stuff I get as a National Swimmer 😀
Thinking twice about whether you should indulge on these yummy donuts? No worries, we can eat as much as we want, we will end up burning all these calories during our intense training anyway.
I have to be honest, indulging in all these yummy food has made me love swimming even more! It’s like the immediate reward we get for swimming hard. 🙂 So if I ever fail to medal in a swim meet, at least I got to enjoy all these yummy food! HAHA.
So there you have it, here are the 8 things that swimming has taught me. Do share this post at the bottom of this page to share the love! 🙂
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