Sooner or later everybody, beginners and more experienced swimmers alike, will inevitably have something go wrong on race day. Here is what might happen and how to deal with it the best way possible!
Race day, the moment when we find out just how well we have prepared: we have taken meticulous care over weeks or even months to train for our favourite race over our favourite distance and now, at last, we are at the starting line. We begin to visualise what we are about to do and are almost certain that everything will go well, until, for some reason we cannot understand and even though we have done everything possible to make sure nothing goes wrong, we suddenly discover a nasty surprise is waiting ofr us just around the corner.
For example, have you ever spent hours in the locker room trying to put your race swimsuit on? Having got through all those tricky moments, you are finally ready to take on the competition, but then suddenly…. You realise you have forgotten to take your usual trip to the bathroom! You will inevitably be quite disconcerted at the thought you have wasted the final hour of your preparation.
At last it is time for the pre-call. As you began to envisage the adrenaline pumping through your veins as you stand on the starting blocks, the race official calls out your name and asks to see your racing licence; you start rummaging through your personal items and a shiver goes down your spine at the horrifying thought that you might have left this vital document behind: where is that darn licence?
But the worst surprises happen when there is no time to rectify them. I do not know how many times I have watched a swimmer’s goggles come off as they dive in because they have not been adjusted properly and they end up dangling around their neck like some unwanted chain!
False starts, water in your goggles and insect stings or jellyfish bites in open-water races are just some of the things swimmers most fear, but very often worrying about them is pointless: not everything that happens in a race can be prepared for and a lot of what happens can depend on factors beyond our control.
The best way to handle these unexpected mishaps is to keep calm, because only by doing our best and learning from our mistakes will we ever be able to prepare our perfect race.