It bothers me when people refer to competitive swimming as an individual sport.
I understand that when it all comes down to it, it’s up to you whether you have a good race or not. You have the power to either power through or give up. But swimming is so much more than just an individual experience.
First of all, at most competitions, the performance of your entire team determines how your club or school is ranked overall. So every individual race is a contribution, and seeing your teammates succeed is exciting.
There are also relay races to consider, which are often the most enjoyable. Earning a spot on the podium with three teammates to take part in the experience with you is incredible.
But points and podiums aside, swimming has a team sport atmosphere because of the training. It is your teammates who have been with you through the 5am workouts. The crazy sets where you’re all searching for the nearest garbage can. The dry land training that makes you all remember why you chose a sport in the water.
They have seen you at your worst, when you’re gasping for air in practice, or choking back tears after a bad race.
And they have seen you at your best, have shared your smiles and felt your joy when you got that time standard you’ve been training so hard for.
We are there for one another, success or defeat, and I can honestly say that my best friends are the ones I started training with back when I was eight years old. So yes, swimming is a sport where there is a group of individuals, but they are unified by the time, sweat and tears they all put into the sport.
Until next time,