Over my years as a competitive swimmer, I have come to notice that people react to the stress of competitions in very distinctive ways. A swimmer’s pre-race preparation says a lot about them as an athlete. In my opinion, behind-the-block behaviour can be broken down into four general categories:
The first is “The Chatterbox”. We all know the type- the person who will dive into long conversations with you right before your race. They are relentless, and use chit-chat to take their mind off of their upcoming swim. Avoid falling victim to the “Chatterbox”, because once they start talking it’s hard to make them stop.
The next category describes a swimmer who is just as full of energy: “The Busy Body”. The person who’s pre-race ritual involves more jumping, stretching and stationary jogging than you’ve done all week. These swimmers can be easily distinguished by their heavy breathing and the slap marks on their body as they psych themselves up for their race.
The third is the swimmer who is “In the Zone”. They often don’t get along very well with the above two because of their preference for a quiet, leisurely spot to prepare mentally for their swim. They can typically be found calmly sitting down, but don’t let their apparent lack of energy fool you, because they tend to mean business.
The final behind-the-block behaviour is the “iPod-dependent”. They are the easiest type to spot because of their attachment to their electronic devices, and often use techno songs with a fast beat to help get their energy level up.
So whether there’s one particular behind-the-block behaviour that suits you perfectly, or you’re a combination of a couple, the one thing we all share is our readiness to race once we finally get on the block.