Friday, November 23, 2012

7 Things That Make Swimmers Happy

All these things make a swimmer smile :)
1. Food
2. Tapering
3. Warm down
4. Lightning
5. Dropping time
6. Relays
7. No morning practice!
The great thing about swimming is that you work out so much that you can eat everything and anything you want. After an especially hard practice, swimmers are often starving, so any food that they can shovel into their mouth is welcome. Any kind of food makes a swimmer happy after practice.

Tapering makes any athlete happy. Following those intense months of excruciating training, your big meet is in a couple of weeks, and the taper begins. For the non-athletes out there, tapering is what swimmers do after a long period of intense workouts. You dramatically reduce the amount you swim, and since your muscles are conditioned for long, hard workouts, it provides your body with tons of energy and puts you in prime condition for the huge competition coming up. Your body is just itching to work harder, so when the time comes, you can release all of your pent up energy, and you usually drop time. Although we never taper for that long, it comes as a joy to swimmers because it means easy workouts!

Warm down.
Whenever I hear those words, my face breaks out into a huge grin. Warm down means the workout is virtually over, and it's time to relax. It's the time when you can ease your aching muscles and cool off and move as slowly as you want to.

Lightning = no practice! Anything indicating no practice brings happiness to a swimmer. To read more on why lightning is so amazing, read my previous post Lightning: A Swimmer's Friend.

Dropping time. 
There's no greater satisfaction for a swimmer than dropping time. After the countless hours of hard work, dropping time makes it all worth it. The blood, sweat, and tears - all of it finally pays off.

Relays are the best. Swimming generally isn't a team sport, except when it comes to relays. You're depending on 3 other people, and it makes swimming so much more fun. Everyone always swims their fastest in a relay and we just get so much more competitive!

No morning practice.
Only swimmers get excited when they find out they only have one practice, instead of two. It totally makes my day every time I hear my coach speak those words.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Swimming With the Stars

Southern California is known for breeding outstanding swimmers. That's why it has the toughest competition. When you're swimming among and against a lot of Olympic caliber athletes, it's really hard to shine. Sure, you might be the fastest girl on your team, but in the grand scheme of things, you might not even be in the top 10% in Southern California. While you may not be in the top 10% in SoCal, if you just drive 6 hours north, you might be in the top 2% of the entire region. Like I said, Southern California has the toughest competition.

The last two swim meets I swam in, I had the chance to compete with some prodigies that went to the Olympic Trials this year who ranged from ages 14-16. That means that they're about the same age as me! As you can probably imagine, it was extremely intimidating swimming against these girls. But at the same time it was an amazing experience, and it pushed me to go faster than ever before. I thought to myself, "If these girls can make it to the Olympic Trials, why can't I?"

It's crazy to think that people my age are actually making it to the Olympic Trials and competed with major celebrities in the swimming world like Missy Franklin, Natalie Coughlin, Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, etc. Even if they didn't make it to the Olympics, they're still super young, and have a bright future ahead of them, the possibility of them making it to the Olympics in 4 years is something attainable. I'm glad that I live in Southern California, because it gives me the chance to swim with a huge pool of astonishing talent, an experience that I would be able to get in very few places around the world.

Friday, November 2, 2012

A Note on Classics: Pride and Prejudice

I know that this blog is supposed to be about swim stuff, but occasionally I'll put in a thing or two about books that I've read recently. I felt that it was absolutely necessary for me to post something about this.

Whenever I pick up a classic to read, I already have a negative view toward the book. I don't know what it is about classics, but for some reason I am always reluctant to read it. So naturally when I downloaded Pride and Prejudice onto my Kindle (because it was free) as my SSR book, I was not particularly looking forward to it.

I generally keep an open mind, when reading books, but when I have to read classics, my brain automatically goes into "classic mode," and I prepare to be bored out of my mind. Although I generally end up liking most of the classics I read, the bias against them seems to be hardwired into my consciousness, without any real cause. I subconsciously negatively judge the book before I even start reading it; just because it's a classic.

Now that I've made my prejudice clear on the subject of classics, I found myself inexplicably drawn into the world of Pride and Prejudice. This completely caught me by surprise, because although I usually like the classics I read, they don't pique my interest until the very end. This book, however, was different. Despite the fact that this book is considered a romance novel, it was probably the most non-romancy romance novel I have ever read (by contemporary standards). I actually thoroughly enjoyed reading it - and I am typically not a romance fan. It wasn't your typical boy-meets-girl-and-they-fall-in-love romance, but a more intellectual romance that did not follow the traditional storyline. The complexity and multi-facetedness of the two main characters made for it to be a completely new type of book that I had never encountered before. For the first time, I couldn't wait until I could get back to reading the book - an irresistible urge that I normally have for other, non-classic books, but have never had for a classic. It was incredible. This book was ingenious and some of the characters' silliness made me laugh out loud.

Although some of my friends claim that this book is terribly boring and impossible to finish, I beg to differ. If you give this book a chance, it can turn out into being an incredibly good read, and I highly recommend it. Jane Austen wrote wonders in this book, and it taught me an important lesson: Don't judge a book by its status as a classic.