15 Struggles Every Swimmer Has Experienced

15 Struggles Every Swimmer Has Experienced

Foggy goggles and smacking wrists is just the beginning.
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Swimming: the sport "normal" people only really pay attention to for one week every four years at the Olympics. Most people watch Michael Phelps or Katie Ledecky make swimming look incredibly easy, but they really never look too much further into it. As someone who has been competitively swimming for almost fourteen years, I can vouch for the fact that swimming is so much more than what is shown at meets. Here is a comprehensive list of a few problems that every swimmer knows a little too well.

1. When you get asked if you "won" your meet.

No, I did not single-handily win the entire meet...please stop asking me.

2. Sweating chlorine during dry-land.

Dry-land is terrible enough without everyone around you smelling like the pool's chemical closet.

3. When the person behind you rides on your feet.

Please, for my own sanity, leave 5 seconds after me.

4. When that same person also refuses to go ahead of you.

Don't get mad when I *accidentally* flutter kick your hands really hard for the next two hours.

5. Doubles.

Because waking up at 5:30am just isn't enough, how about coming back 8 hours later to do it all over again?

6. Putting on a tech suit and not being able to breathe.

Please ignore the red marks on my shoulders for the next few days.

7. Meets that do circle-seeding.

I'd like to think that I can keep up with the person in lane 4, but in reality they will probably lap me multiple times...it's fine!

8. When you hit your fingers on the lane line.

I think I have permanent scars on my knuckles.

9. Smacking wrists with someone else while doing butterfly.

Only slightly more irritating than hitting lane lines because you aren't sure if it was your fault or theirs.

10. Warm-ups at a huge meet.

Whoever said swimming was a no-contact sport has obviously never been to anything other than YMCA adult swim.

11. When someone else's parents care more about your times than you do.

No, Jan, I didn't know that I was .05 seconds away from a cut time, but thanks for letting me know!

12. Goggles claiming to be "anti-fog".

Wearing brand new goggles is so nice until you're 45 minutes into practice, and don't have time to clear them out at the wall. It's alright, I'll just swim directly against the lane line so I don't cause a collision.

13. Missing walls.

The following three strokes are about to be the hardest strokes you ever take...try not to sink.

14. The first week back being strictly test sets.

Coach knows that nobody has touched water since last season, he's just doing this for his own enjoyment.

15. Taper.

The only few weeks where you won't hear me say "I'm quitting".


Cover Image Credit: Doug Mills

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To The Parent Who Chose Addiction

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

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When I was younger I resented you, I hated every ounce of you, and I used to question why God would give me a parent like you. Not now. Now I see the beauty and the blessings behind having an addict for a parent. If you're reading this, it isn't meant to hurt you, but rather to thank you.

Thank you for choosing your addiction over me.

Throughout my life, you have always chosen the addiction over my programs, my swim meets or even a simple movie night. You joke about it now or act as if I never questioned if you would wake up the next morning from your pill and alcohol-induced sleep, but I thank you for this. I thank you because I gained a relationship with God. The amount of time I spent praying for you strengthened our relationship in ways I could never explain.

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Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

The amount of hurt and disappointment our family has gone through has brought us closer together. I have a relationship with Nanny and Pop that would never be as strong as it is today if you had been in the picture from day one. That in itself is a blessing.

Thank you for showing me how to love.

From your absence, I have learned how to love unconditionally. I want you to know that even though you weren't here, I love you most of all. No matter the amount of heartbreak, tears, and pain I've felt, you will always be my greatest love.

Thank you for making me strong.

Thank you for leaving and for showing me how to be independent. From you, I have learned that I do not need anyone else to prove to me that I am worthy of being loved. From you, I have learned that life is always hard, but you shouldn't give into the things that make you feel good for a short while, but should search for the real happiness in life.

Most of all, thank you for showing me how to turn my hurt into motivation.

I have learned that the cycle of addiction is not something that will continue into my life. You have hurt me more than anyone, but through that hurt, I have pushed myself to become the best version of myself.

Thank you for choosing the addiction over me because you've made me stronger, wiser, and loving than I ever could've been before.

Cover Image Credit: http://crashingintolove.tumblr.com/post/62246881826/pieffysessanta-tumblr-com

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Sports And Religion

Why are so many athletes religious?

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I recently just made it on to the USC Track and Field team, and it is easily the biggest accomplishment I have ever made in my entire life. I worked so hard to physically and mentally prepare to try out for the team, let alone actually make it. I thank God for allowing me to have the chance to be a part of this team, as well as giving me that physical and mental strength required to do so, and I express this whenever someone congratulates me for making the team or even asks if I made it or not. However, I noticed that when I did this, some of the responses were a bit dismissive when I brought religion into the picture. When I said I thank God for it, I would be met with responses like "Yea well even aside from God..." or another response that drew the conversation away from my faith, away from the concept of a god.

In fact, I've noticed that many athletes are religious in some form-- more so collectively than other student bodies aside from religious groups themselves. I thought about why this may be, aside from the obvious answer such as growing up religious at home, because that does not answer the question; many people grew up in a religious household and are not religious themselves. So, I began to think personally. Why do I thank God for my athletic performance? There's a certain level of uncertainty within every sport. All athletes train their hardest to minimize this level of uncertainty, in order to maximize their chances of success. However, you can only train so hard. To me, no matter how hard you train, there's always some type of level of uncertainty to every level of performance: the chances of you getting injured, the chances of you winning your game or race, the chances of the opponent's performance, etc. This is where I think God intervenes, and perhaps other athletes would agree. There have been countless times where I ran well and had absolutely no idea how I did it. Yes, I worked hard to improve my times, but when you are in the moment of a race, or a game, that fades into the background, especially when everyone else has been working just as hard. It's just you, your race (or game), and God. That's it.

I could have not made the team. As a walk-on, there is more pressure for you to perform since the coaches did not seek you out; you sought them out. You are proving your abilities. Thus, I was nervous about my chances of actually making the team, especially considering the fact that the USC track team is arguably the best collegiate track team in the United States. I performed well during my try out and finished all the workouts, however I wasn't as fast as the other girls. In addition, I was 3 minutes late to my last day of tryouts and got chewed out by the coach for it. I was convinced that I blew my chances. And yet, somehow, I made it. I worked so hard for it, yes, but I thank God for keeping my body healthy so I could train to the best of my ability. I thank Him for allowing the coaches to have the time to try me out. I thank Him for allowing them to see my potential. I thank Him for giving me the best high school track coach possible who prepared me mentally and physically, as well as supported me throughout all the highs and all the lows. I thank Him for giving me this chance to continue my track career at the most prestigious collegiate team. My gratitude for all this, is simply infinite.

There is good reason why many athletes are religious; being an athlete requires you to be more than yourself. It requires you to dig deeper, into places that you didn't even think were possible, and really aren't without the belief of a higher power. The belief in a higher power, in whatever form or name that takes, means the belief in infinite possibility. And for an athlete to have that, means nothing can stop them from chasing their dreams.

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