To all of you who struggle with not being the fastest, not having more talent, and always getting second, ninth, seventeenth, or first alternate:
My club coach in high school constantly told us that we weren’t normal. That if we were, we’d have given up a long time ago. We’re swimmers. We push our bodies through more blood, sweat, pain, and tears than any other athlete. Swimming as a sport sucks ass. You think swimming is all fun? You’re doing it wrong. You’ve got to have the determination to show everybody what you’re made of. You’ve got to have the patience when you hit a bump in your training and don’t improve for weeks, months, years at a time. You’ve got to have passion. If you don’t have passion for swimming, then why the hell would you ever put your body through this mess? You have to want this more than anything else, you have to put your all into it, 100%, 24/7. Because if you don’t, I’ll tell you straight up–you’re wasting your time.
It’s gonna suck going to practice 20+ hours a week. It’s gonna suck waking up at 4:30, doing drylands, hitting your pace, doing test sets, doing lactate. It’s gonna suck when it’s your 100000th practice of your career, and you just want to quit because you’ve been through this 99999 times before. But it’s the passion you have inside you that will keep you going. The passion is what will set you, me, us apart from other athletes–from other swimmers. It’s what will make us great, elite, the best.
Because let me tell you this, it doesn’t matter how slow or fast you are, whether or not you have more or less talent than the person you’re racing against, or whether you’re going to a D1 or D3 school, or not even swimming in college at all. If you raced the best you could, if you left everything in the pool, and if you have passion, you’re already 10 times better than the kids who halfass the work.