I have come to realize that swimming is very much a community sport. You could meet a complete stranger, but as soon as you learn that they are a fellow competitive swimmer, it’s as though you’ve been friends for years. We have a bond that has been sealed through the shared pride, pain and glory of our sport.
Even though different clubs, schools and even countries may differ in their training techniques or levels of intensity, there are certain things that all swimmers can relate to…
The first and foremost is our love of the water. This love may be tested at 5:30am when the pool looks about as inviting as an ice bath (and equally as cold), but it is nonetheless present in the hearts of all swimmers.
Since the pool is a second home to so many of us, I think we can all agree that another thing that unites us is the cost that comes with spending so much time training. For one, the scent of chlorine has become our perfume of choice, since even multiple showers can’t undo the smell that grips to our skin. We, especially the female swimmers, have to deal with the deep ring marks that goggles leave underneath the eyes, resulting in the use of an absurd amount of concealer. Which is not to mention the limited makeup options that comes with a sport in the water- I thank the heavens every day for waterproof mascara!
A third factor that connects all swimmers is the extremely busy day-to-day schedule. It sometimes proves difficult to balance training hours with schoolwork and a social life. This means that our spare time is limited, and is usually spent napping, eating absurd amounts of food, or looking up swimsuits online.
The final link that bonds competitive swimmers together is the act of competing itself. The pre-race jitters come in varying forms for everyone, but we all know the pressures that come with standing behind the block before swimming. The level of anticipation is difficult to describe, and the eagerness to race not only the other athletes in your heat, but the clock, is a passion that connects us all to the sport.