Saturday, October 27, 2012

What Is a Swimmer?

According to the dictionary, a swimmer is "one who moves in the water."

I am here to tell you that there is MUCH more to it - especially if you're a competitive swimmer. Being a swimmer means being insane. All competitive swimmers have a touch of craziness in them. No one would deny the fact that a person who willingly tortures themselves every morning by dragging themselves out of bed and into the pool at 5 AM is crazy. To a swimmer, sleeping in is a luxury that we cannot have - it's something we dream about constantly. No person in their right mind would subject themselves to waking up at the crack of dawn every day just to jump into an icy cold pool and train.

This meme comes very close to the truth.
Swimmers are athletes of the highest caliber. While other sports boast of their intense training regimens, none of them compare to those of swimming. Swimmers are the only athletes that have to work out twice a day. While people complain about one workout per day, we have the privilege of complaining about two. I am basically in the water every 12 hours; the water is my home, my solace, and my workout room. Also, swimming is virtually a year-around sport. If you skip one practice, that is considered acceptable, but strongly discouraged. Skipping two practices means it will take you four days to get back to where you were before you skipped. Missing one week of workout is unthinkable - it would take a person two weeks to get back into shape! This is the case because a swimmer's medium is the water - not the air. While "land sports" can skip workouts occasionally and bounce back easily, swimmers cannot because they have to get used to their medium again. Land sports are in the air, and we are constantly in the air, which provides the same resistance as when they are practicing. However, human beings are not always in the water, so staying out of the water for long periods of time (ie: one week), can be detrimental to a swimmer's performance.
This is an underwater view of a competition pool -
something competitive swimmers see every day.

One side effect of being a swimmer is the chlorine. Chlorine is a swimmer's perfume. We always smell of chlorine, and there is nothing we can do to prevent it. We are immune to it. It also contributes to the scales on swimmers' legs. Yes, we do develop scales - and more quickly than the average person. The chlorine dries out our skin to the point where it actually looks scaly. The chlorine also naturally bleaches our hair, giving girls a lighter hair color, but killing the boys' hair. One of my friends could actually pull out a tuft of his hair just by tugging on it as a consequence of the chlorine.

The daily life of a swimmer.
Another definition of a swimmer is a person who is incessantly hungry. Especially when I have morning practice I eat almost 10 times a day: before morning practice, after morning practice, during 1st period, 3rd period, lunch, after school, before afternoon practice, and after practice. The nonstop exercise allows swimmers to eat practically anything they want to - although I generally tend to eat healthy foods because they make me feel better. The life of a swimmer often includes only eating, sleeping, and swimming.

Swimmers are also dedicated, self-disciplined, and excellent time managers. In order to survive high school and be a highly competitive swimmer, those three qualities are absolutely imperative. 4-6 hours of your day are taken up by swimming, so you have to make the most of your time. Although outwardly most swimmers appear to despise swimming, we have an innate, subconscious love for the sport. It is impossible to find a swimmer who does not have some love for the sport, otherwise they would have quit a long time before that. We don't like to admit it, but in spite of everything, swimmers actually love what they do.

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