Music is an instrumental part of most swimmers’ lives. Sometimes it’s your favourite song pumping you up before a race. Other times it may be a catchy rhythm that gets stuck in your head throughout the entire workout, or music blasting on the pool deck speakers to get you through the boredom of long kick sets. Whatever the reason, music can often be helpful for athletes. Certain songs also, incidentally, manage to capture the exact sentiments of how a swimmer is feeling. In fact, the popular song titles that you may absentmindedly sing along to can describe an entire swim practice.
1. “Work” – Rihanna feat. Drake. While we may all have different reasons for loving the sport, or different goals motivating us to train, we all show up for the same thing – to put in work. Although it may be hard to wake up for early mornings, or to push yourself to go train after a long day, the reality is that showing up to the locker room means making a decision to put in effort and make the day count towards your ambitions.
2. “Slow down” – Selena Gomez. Once you’re on deck, though, it is sometimes a completely different story. Although you may have showed up prepared to work hard, it is often difficult to maintain that positive attitude if you walk in only to see an extremely tough practice written on the chalk board. It always seems to be in these instances that time speeds up. Despite your silent prayers for just a few more minutes of mental preparation on deck, or to complain with team mates about the great injustices of being an athlete, the clock races forward and it is soon time to dive into the water.
3. “No air” – Jordan Sparks. When practice has begun and the quick pace times start adding up, every short interval spent at the wall is used for heavy breathing. In a sport like swimming which is a largely cardiovascular exercise, oxygen can be hard to come by… especially considering the basis of being a swimmer means agreeing to spend copious amounts of time practically submerged underwater. In fact, swimming is one of the only sports (aside from perhaps synchronized swimming) where you can get yelled at by a coach for breathing too much if it disrupts your speed in a race.
4.“The climb” – Miley Cyrus. While hard sets are definitely the most rewarding ones for swimmers, they can be physically and mentally tough to overcome. To borrow a quote from Miley, “I got to be strong, just keep pushing on”, which is the daily challenge for athletes. Workouts can feel like a painstakingly long climb or upwards battle, but once you finally reach the top (or in our case as swimmers, touch the wall and regain your ability to breathe) it is completely worth it.
5. “This girl is on fire” – Alicia Keys. On that note, though, even once you are finally basking in the glory of getting out of the water after a gruelling practice, that is not always where the pain ends. Lactic acid buildup, dryland practices, and doubles are all things that make us extremely sore as athletes, so the ache of a good effort can sometimes last several days. It may be comical for our friends to watch us struggle up the stairs after a workout that was heavy on fast kicking, or see the way we wince when we lift our arms the day after a pull set. But the fire we feel in our sore muscles are just concrete proof of the effort we have put in, and a testament to the greatness that awaits us.