I used to be a swimmer, not only as a label but also my heart screams the passion and dedication for this sport. Having to migrate to another country was hard and mainly because I had to stop this routine of mine. It was hard that’s for sure. I have contacted at least three swimming clubs near my area and even my school varsity team. It was an exciting feeling knowing that I could try the sport in a different country, with a different way of coaching and environment. However, things don’t always happen the way you want them to. I guess my parents wanted me to focus on my studies first (plus training costs a lot!) and of course, the adjusting period will be a challenge where I never really experienced diversity from where I came from.
It was hard for me to face the fact that I had to stop training for at least a year (only.. hopefully!) to try out some other things like getting involved in my university and adapting to the culture of this country. Someone mentioned about joining an intramural for my faculty/college so I rushed and emailed the VP of athletics regarding this concern.. but guess what?! No reply, not at all. I tried almost 5 times? I just figured that maybe, just maybe, it’s meant to be that I would do other things besides swimming. Okay honestly, we have a swimming pool (less than 25 meters -_-) we can use but it’s just SOOOOOO different without a coach and a team to be with. (S/O to all swimmers, please tell me I’m not alone w/ this opinion) Sometimes, I train by myself or with my sister.. but yeah, I don’t think I’ve done enough. Enough with the rants. The purpose of this post is for me to share the lessons I learned from swimming that basically changed my life and my way of thinking:
Whatever you do, make sure that you have set goals to attain. In swimming, I always had a notebook to record my times and my goal times. This is a good way to motivate yourself to focus. I was able to develop determination and drive towards the things that I want to accomplish because looking back to who I was before, I can say with great confidence that I have achieved a lot. It does not even matter what I was able to get rather it was more of how the path that I took taught me to create a perception where I have seen all different possibilities.. There were times when I was not able to do good in an event, that happens by the way (a lot) but that does not mean that I had to give up. Having my goals written down pushes me work harder to actually check it off my list.
Diving was by far the hardest technique I had to master (next to tumble turns) for this sport. It’s either my I land flat on the water (ouch) or my goggles gets to removed by the pressure of the water because I wasn’t looking down when I entered the water. Anyway, it was a repetitive mistake. At first, it was difficult but afterwards I just didn’t care what I looked like when I did the wrong way as long as I kept on trying to make it right. That’s when the quote, “The less you care, the happier you will be” comes into play. I learned that in order to achieve your dreams, you just have to close your ears when people laugh at you or even comment on how funny you look. This approach will help you see things in a brighter perspective. Not only will you be more willing to become better but you will learn to treat those funny comments as mere compliments because it only means that if you’re not doing well right now, you’re only gonna get better and better. (:
Training happens 5-6 times a week, which includes Saturday morning and sometimes it’s 7 because of competitions. It sounds completely crazy but honestly, the result will be explosive! Imagine, every single quality training that you will take, it will only means that your endurance, resistance, and speed are going to improve. That was not my initial instinct all the time; however, during a main set, (especially if it involves sprints) i get an adrenaline rush and ‘being tired’ is not in my vocabulary anymore. The start of a swim is crazy crazy crazy scary but exciting at the same time, during the swim feels better when I’m getting near the wall, but the end is just priceless! So, in all of my swims, I learned that in life, there will be problems and challenges that makes me either nervous or excited or even both but the best way to approach that feeling is to know that in the end, it will be all worth it.
In any sport especially when it involves a team, “No man is an island.” Even if I myself am not a fan of attention, I still value support and believe that it is a necessity in achieving success in competitions. Sometimes, when I am standing on the diving board getting ready to swim for my event, when I hear my team (and of course the parents) shouting my name, I get scared but it’s the good kind where my excitement overcomes my nervousness. For all the swimming teams I got into, the people I met were more than my friends, they became my second family. In friendship, I learned that the best way to develop good relationships is to be vulnerable where strengths and weaknesses does not matter a lot because just the thought that everyone is there for each other through tough and easy times is a simple representation of what a team should be. I guess that the inclusivity in swimming helped me create a vision of the world of equity. (sounds like a dream I know.., but guess what, I happen to experience it so it can become a reality. I’m pretty sure everyone was able to witness it once in their lives.) In life, people of shared visions are more able to accomplish their goals because they have each other to depend on. “The moment when you feel like giving up, think of the reason why you held on for so long.” When I think of this quote, I just remember my team and the people who have supported me. Those are enough to fire up my drive once again.
^ VERY VERY IMPORTANT. Commitment towards what you’re doing and to become better. Commitment towards the team and the coach to believe that they can help you to be better, faster, and stronger. Commitment towards yourself that you can attend the every training with readiness to do your best and to not give yourself limitations with what you can do and to overcome your fear of getting tired. <- things I always remind myself to absorb both in my mind and my heart. It is hard to do something when you’re not committed to it. I remembered how I reached the peak of my performance and it’s all because I was able to commit. This value can be the combinations of everything. I learned that in commitment, it does not matter if I was one of the fast swimmers or if I was the one who had the most friends, as long as I was able to give my all in every work-outs, everything will be all right.
Swimming was more than a hobby, it was my life. It let me experience the excitement and the spice of life in all mysterious ways. Most importantly, it taught me that being myself is no mistake. This sport affected my life in all different aspects from my academics to my perception to my lifestyle to my personality. It was hard to transition from being a student athlete to being a student leader, but you know what the similarities are? Both demand and involve integrity. My philosophy professor once told us that in life, you wouldn’t always come across things that will make you see life and its beauty but once you found that thing, never ever let it go. These words are something that I now treasure in my life. I may get involved in so many things right now but it’s just a way to discover what gives me the purpose to live. (: I hope you find yours as well.
Hopefully I will be able to train w/ my school or w/ a team next school year. Wish me luck!