In younger age groups, we often encounter angry swimmers who are disappointed with their performance. They are increasingly more demanding with themselves and their environment, enraged and unsatisfied after a good race if their result was not rewarded with a medal, subject to disproportionate pressure and incapable of understanding how the sport can be so unkind or even cruel to them.
You want it so much but hardly make any progress; you grit your teeth and give it one last try. You touch the finish pad with no enthusiasm and don’t even bother to look at the scoreboard. You can already feel what is coming next. You build up the courage, turn your head and see your worst nightmare come true. You’re over your personal best by several seconds and the disappointment overwhelms you.
Each swimmer expresses their sorrow and bitterness differently. Some throw their cap as if it was to blame for their misfortune; others let out their rage by smacking the water; while many others will simply break down in tears. These are all common ways to react and deal with the pain caused by seeing that all the work and effort put into months of training has not been duly rewarded.
In my opinion, and I might be wrong, losing in a competition and not achieving the desired results will NEVER be a failure if you trained hard and to the best of your ability if you gave it your all and were generous in your own efforts. Neither was it a lost opportunity, provided you are capable of reaching the right conclusions and ensuring that certain mistakes are not repeated.
For this reason, I encourage you to lift your head, SMILE and deal with the moment graciously even though it might be hard to accept so calmly that this is a sport and that having a bad day is merely another possibility along the path of athletic training; perhaps the most powerful and beneficial.
There is always a reason to smile, a reason to be happy and to give the finger to fate when it becomes intolerant and unpleasant.
I leave you with a few reasons why a smile can become a positive hallmark, give the right impression and encourage you to live these tough moments we have all experienced with greater calm and confidence.
10 Reasons Swimmers Should Smile When the Going Gets Tough
- Smile, because you are lucky to be doing what you like most; others would give their right arm to be in your position.
- Smile, because you have a family that worries about your well-being and who makes every effort to ensure your dreams are more feasible.
- Smile, because you are generous and capable of accepting defeat graciously – just as you accept victory.
- Smile, because you have a coach who supports you, encourages you and understands you, who shares your disappointment and will help you come back fighting.
- Smile, because defeat will sometimes become your greatest triumph, help you surpass your limits and discover where you should improve.
- Smile, because you have competed alongside the best. You battled against them and formed part of an outstanding event.
- Smile, because you are generous and happy that your colleagues are happy; that they were able to reach their goals, which are also your goals, and they would love to share them with you.
- Smile for those who triumphed when nobody expected it, for being able to do so at the right time and place, to everyone’s surprise.
- Smile and accept the effects for your own good. Make the most of the experiences gained and learn from your mistakes. Don’t try and pass the buck or blame others for your less-than-perfect performance.
- Smile, because you are stronger than any unforeseeable circumstance and accept that adversity helps build character, the strength of mind, body, and soul.
In short, smile because you deserve to be happy. You are a SWIMMER, the toughest athlete, and if anyone can complete the most difficult athletic challenges, it is you.
Wink at your sorrow and show it that it will not be able to beat you, that you are ready to have another go and try again with increased passion and courage.
Written by Agustín Artiles (“Champi”). Agustín has more than 35 years of experience as the Head Coach of some of the most important Spanishswimming teams He has been the Coach of the Spanish Swimming Team from 2008 to 2012, and has trained the 50 breaststroke Spanish national recordman, Hector Monteagudo Espinosa, from 2002 to 2013 Agustín has also trained several international swimmers from the Spanish National Team and from the European and world top ten, as well as paraolimpics athletes with medals and world records in all the different categories. He has also been accomplished with the award as the Best competition swimming coach in Spain 2006, as several recognition for professional merits.