How to get over a bad race


There’s always countless amounts of doubts going through every swimmer’s head after a bad race:

“Is this the end of my career?” 

“Should I quit now?” 

“I’ve worked so hard but the results didn’t seem to tally, so why should I even work hard in the first place?” 


So the question is, do you quit? 

The simple answer is NO. First, you must understand that it’s normal to have these negative thoughts running through your head after a bad race, but I want you to forget about those negative thoughts and keep believing that the great race will come one day.

If you haven’t achieved what you set yourself out to achieve in your career, then it’s not time to quit. 

The life span of sport is brutal, it does not wait for you to be ready, and once you past your prime age, it’s over for you even if you want to make a come back. Seize the opportunity when you can, because it’s a privilege for you to be given the opportunity to try.

My dad always reminds me to appreciate the opportunity that I’m given to swim. He told me that when he was my age, he wasn’t even given an opportunity to take on the sporting career.

In the past, sport wasn’t that well promoted as compared to now. It was a luxury to even engage in sporting activities on a daily basis. And comparing to my dad really made me appreciate the opportunity that I am given now.

The point that I’m trying to bring across here is that you should NEVER EVER waste a great opportunity given to you. Instead, appreciate that you’re given the opportunity to race and make full use of it.

Before thinking about giving up, think about how lucky you are to be given this opportunity to race.


But what if I try, but the “great race” never comes? 

There are 2 ways you can look back at your career:

“I have gave everything I had in the pool, and I got no regrets.”

“If only I continued swimming, I would have known my full potential.”

So which one will you choose? The answer’s pretty obvious.

I’m not saying that everyone will find their “great race” in their career, but isn’t that the beauty of sport? The nerves and adrenaline rush you get from each race, not knowing what to expect. The pain from the rush of lactate you have to endure after every race. All these are great experiences you will encounter, even without a good race.

Always remember, you’d rather live your life knowing that you tried your best and failed, than to look back at your life in regret knowing that you once had the opportunity to try, but you chose to give up. Because that, my friend, is going to haunt you for life.

Even if that great race never comes, you’ll be equipped with great life lessons which will get you ready for the work life next time.


Swimming will teach you that in life, even though things will not always go the way you want to, you just have press on and believe in the process. Because sport does not last a lifetime, but the character traits that you’ll learn from it, will last you a lifetime.

Ultimately, if you can learn from every bad experience and take it positively, you are already a winner. 🙂

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Instagram: @swimpsj

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