25 Aug My College Level Swimming Experience
While I studied at college, I used to be on the swim team. It was tough and difficult no doubt, but it taught me something about myself. Hard work and dedication pays off with practice. Now, I had always swam since I was a little kid, but there is no denying that we all just fool around the pool when we are young, so I never did swim too seriously.
However, when I joined the swim team for my college, you had to follow a routine and get into the habit of swimming for 2-3 hours per day, and having meets every weekend. Thus, during my freshman year in college that is what I did. Despite the training exercises, it was fun to hang out with the crew. The team is what made the sport fun for me. Everyone was welcoming and we would party every once in a while together. There was a sense of team atmosphere even though it is an individual based sport, most of the time.
From not being able to do correct turns, I slowly learned how to time it correctly, as well as learning how to jump from the board. My best strokes were freestyle and breaststroke, so I would usually swim those strokes during meets. One thing I never had considered was how much equipment can influence your training. One day I decided to buy a pair of mesh swimming trunks. Ohh boy, it felt like I was dragging something behind me, but it was just a little mesh swimming trunks.
I started investing some money into training tools better goggles and caps, and it felt much more comfortable swimming in water. If you are interested in browsing through the complete list for swim gear, check out the linked site, but having the right tools for practice and competition made a big difference.
Compared to my first 50 freestyle time of 30 seconds, it went down to 28 ish seconds. With better technique and equipment it gradually decreased. My breaststroke times as well, improved over the course of months, and when we went to Florida for our training break during the winter, I felt really alive when we got to swim in a full course swimming pool. I had never been to Florida before as well, so that was a factor too.
Anyways, as my training progressed, I felt more faster, but mentally I was going through a rough patch, so that kind of put a halt to my improvements. So for 2-3 months I didn’t put in as much effort, but when tapering started and when we headed for the final meet, I was excited nonetheless.
We shaved most if not all of our bodily hair, and bought one of those fancy Sharkskin suits, LZR Racer Sharking 3, I believe is the name. It was a pain to put them on though! Since it was so tight, we had to spend 30-40 minutes going slowly. I am a lean dude, but I had trouble just getting the suit above my knees. So all us swimmers struggled with putting on the suit for about half an hour. It was a sight to be seen. People I knew before the final meet had shaved their heads, or dyed them. Some of my teammates got tattoos. It felt like it was a big celebration.
The Final Moment
Anyways, sooner or later I was set to swim. I was nervous and excited. I would have been happy as long as it’s within 26 seconds for the 50 freestyle. 20 minutes before my race, I decided to take a quick dive with the new suit just to limber up, and get a feel for the suit. OHH MY GOD!! I felt like a fish cutting through water effortlessly. You won’t believe how it felt to feel so smooth. Now I was really excited for my race.
So the officials finally called my name, and as I stood up on the board, all I thought was at least within 26 seconds. All the training and all the practice should pay off I thought. As the BEEP went off, I jumped and started pounding the water as fast and as hard as I could without regards to breathing at all. It went by so quickly that I can’t recall much, but just the feeling of adrenaline. Before I knew it, I was done. With a feeling of a little disappointment I looked up towards the score board, and I couldn’t BELIEVE IT! It was 25.83 seconds! I was laughing with joy and excited because it was beyond my expectations.
Even though I was far from first, the feeling of accomplishment and the feeling of being a success in your own eyes was priceless. I still care a great deal about swimming and love the sport. It’s something I do more for fun, but the moral of the story is how as long as you are happy with your improvement and can keep yourself accountable for the discipline, you will improve. Nothing happens over night and nothing is instant. It takes years of dedicated practice to become a master at something you really want to achieve.
I take swimming just as an example since it’s an experience I am most proud of. So go out there and enjoy your life and keep on improving!