A Swimmer's Mindset
Thirty-six years beside the pool and there are still things that haven’t changed. Perhaps it’s a matter of sports culture, of respect for a sport that is not valued as highly as it should be, of the efforts made by swimmers who unhesitatingly give the best of themselves in the water and who, in some cases, would like to receive greater and fairer recognition of their dedication.
There is one sentence that hovers at the back of their minds. They hear it often in the pool or at home. It strangely seems to echo louder when they are going through a rough patch or when their academic results do not reach their family’s expectations.
It may well be that this expression has its logic that is also expressed at times of anger and frustration which is caused by the difficulty that comes with channeling the academic and athletic destiny of the athlete. That is when we put a blindfold over our eyes and choose the middle ground, and we ignore the benefits that our sport can offer.
“Swimming won’t pay your bills.”
I believe it demonstrates a certain lack of understanding because swimming offers a series of benefits and opportunities that are as obvious as those which I describe below and that more than counterbalance a sentiment such as this.
The reason why a swimmer comes to the pool to train for several hours at a time is not for the money. It is to reach a goal that satisfies their needs and gives them a boost in their lives. It is also because of a passion for an activity that inspires them, motivates them and fills them with positive energy. Perhaps it is a question of a personal drive to overcome obstacles.
Some people will only have a desire to enjoy their time and will come to the pool in order to feel more alive, and to create that sensation of freedom they seek so strongly.
To feel satisfied and happy with the activity they perform and that completely fulfills their aspirations.
These reasons are what drives a swimmer to push themselves so hard for hours on end. They also obtain an endless list of beneficial values or virtues that should, by themselves, justify the utmost support and empathy.
7 Lessons Learned in Swimming
- It helps to increase self-confidence and trust in one’s own ability.
- It teaches them to set goals, convince themselves that things are possible, and insist and persevere until they achieve them.
- It educates them on such virtues as solidarity, tolerance and respect towards their colleagues and rivals, and encourages them to participate and share success with them, thereby strengthening coexistence and teamwork.
- Swimming enhances the independence of the athlete, improves emotional control and benefits self-esteem.
- It gives those who practice it added nobility, loyalty and composure.
- It requires strict adherence to training schedules, which strengthens self-control and commitment to rules of behaviour, thereby also fostering manners, an interest in study and academic results.
- It also increases health, physical and mental well-being, and improves social skills.
It is possible that, at first sight and with few exceptions, it does not offer the economic recompense to justify the effort and sacrifice required by this activity. However, I believe that the personal gains and achievements described above and the personal dividends that come with the sport do indeed more than justify the practice of swimming.
Too many reasons for them all to be taken into consideration.
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.