Over the years as a competitive swimmer, you tend to amass a close circle of friends on the pool deck. Because they are your team mates and fellow athletes, they understand your daily woes and triumphs. And while it’s always helpful to have a group of people who are by your side, sometimes there is that one specific person who goes above and beyond; we’ll call them your “Swim BFF”. Here’s how you know for sure that you’ve found yours…
They know just what to say after a tough race. Whether it’s a shoulder to cry on, an ear to complain to, or simply a comforting presence near the warm down pool, they are ready and waiting with just what you need when disappointment strikes.
They are your designated shoulder strap aide. Pre or post race, this is the person you look for who just knows the perfectly *right* way to help you put your racing suit straps on. They don’t pinch your skin, it doesn’t take four different tries, and they even help you untwist your straps in the back once it’s on. *Sigh*. Yup, they’re a keeper.
Win or lose, there are no hard feelings. It can be tricky having friends who swim the same events that you do, but with a true swim BFF this can actually help to strengthen your connection. Training alongside them means that you see just how hard they work, and are happy for their successes as if they are your own. Most importantly, you develop a unique connection with them as you suffer through gruelling races together. Nothing bonds two people together more than a shared hatred for the mile or the 200 fly!
They will voluntarily lead the lane for you. Leading a lane can be stressful for a number of reasons. You have to use the clock, need to set the pace of the lane, and don’t have anyone ahead of you to follow for those confusing drills that often require a demo. But this person gets you. They just seem to always know when you’re in no mood at all to put up with lane lead responsibilities, and selflessly offer themselves up for the job instead.
They are your confidante, and source for all team gossip. From the latest locker room talk, to intel about that cute boy you’ve been crushing on from another team (and all things in between!), they’ve got you covered.
Near of far, your friendship remains strong. As you have no doubt either witnessed or experienced firsthand, sometimes the team you start out with isn’t the same team that sees you through to the end of your swimming career. People move away and switch clubs, or grow up and go off to compete at the collegiate level. But while your swim BFF may not always be your team mate in the literal sense, they help see you through the exciting developments and opportunities that come your way, and support you through every step (or in this case… every stroke).