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swoo47
November 8th, 2011, 10:06 PM
I have for you an all too common tale of a (former) swimmer who regrets ever quitting the sport.

I am a college sophomore who has been feeling more unmotivated than I ever have in my entire life. Getting up and going to classes is even becoming a struggle and truth be told, I'm miserable. I swam competitively from age 7 through high school, and without sounding pretentious I a garnered a fair amount of success (frequented the top 10 list in my lsc, etc etc) I was always one of those kids with the insane "sports parents" who made me feel like swimming was my career (ie, i had actually been GROUNDED on multiple occasions for "not swimming my hardest" what?) and once I got into high school I started to hate swimming, and my performance and effort reflected that. By my junior year of high school I was so fed up with swimming I stopped swimming year round and just swam for my high school team, which I certainly don't regret at all. At the end of my sophomore year I cranked out a 21.6 scy 50..my last top effort swim of my career

Even though my parents were insane, I loved my teammates and I loved being in the water. Swimming was the only thing that really let me release my frustrations and helped keep me focused in life. Basically swimming helped me deal with life, something I'm sure most swimmers can relate to.

So back to my current situation: I have had quite a few life changes recently. Girlfriend of 2 years broke up with me, friends have been getting in trouble with law, and I myself had a few run-ins (close calls, really) with the law. I feel like all of these things are telling me to go back to the place that always helped me get through things and keep me out of trouble: the water. So I've decided to get back in the water...starting tomorrow morning. I'm going to be training with a masters team that trains in my college's pool, and I am hoping to eventually walk onto to my school's team next year. After 3 years of smoking and drinking....am I crazy? Is this possible? Will I ever get back to my peak swimming form? I'm really just hoping to hear from anyone who has attempted something like this, or knows someone who has.

Thanks guys

Couroboros
November 8th, 2011, 11:36 PM
I started competitive swimming for the first time in my life three years ago this upcoming January after six years of growing fatter and fatter, bingeing on candy and other junk food and sitting on my well-cushioned butt. Essentially, I didn't do anything physical on any sort of consistent basis throughout my entire teenage years. I come from a family that places a high priority on sports, all of my cousins and my brothers all played on little-league, middle school, and high school teams, from soccer and baseball to wrestling and football, but notably, nothing aquatic. I wish I had had parents and brothers who wouldn't have been so dismissive when I told them in 8th grade that I wanted to do something in the water as a high school sport. As insane as your parents sound, I think a little bit of my parents' attributes mixed in with a little of your parents' obvious enthusiasm for aquatic sports sounds lovely.

That said, I like where I am today. Three years ago in Jan '09, I went a 1:19.92 on my first 100 free scy. Last July, I went 53.13. I'm a late blooming swimmer and I love it. More and more, I've come to appreciate the advantages and special perspectives that come with starting this sport at the age I have. I wouldn't trade it to have started the sport any earlier.

In your case, just focus on what you call it in your title- a daring comeback. That's a wonderful starting point, tells a story, gives your reestablished love for swimming an arc to follow, you know? You drank, you smoke, you danced and teetered on the edge... so, psychologically and physiologically, you've probably fallen a far world from where you left swimming at that 21.6 50fr time. Three years ago, there was a big hole in my life and I didn't know what the hell was supposed to fill it. It was like not knowing what I was supposed to be doing. Then I found swimming. Just focus on finding and milking the positives of returning to a sport after a three or so year absence.

I look forward to watching your progress as you return to and surpass your high school glory days. It'll happen.

knelson
November 9th, 2011, 12:14 AM
am I crazy? Is this possible? Will I ever get back to my peak swimming form?

You're not crazy. If you want to you can definitely get back to your peak form, but be sure that's what you want. If I were you I'd start out slowly. Don't do too much too soon or you may end up getting burnt out again. Just always remember that it's supposed to be fun and good luck!

quicksilver
November 9th, 2011, 09:19 AM
I feel like all of these things are telling me to go back to the place that always helped me get through things and keep me out of trouble: the water. So I've decided to get back in the water...starting tomorrow morning. I'm going to be training with a masters team that trains in my college's pool, and I am hoping to eventually walk onto to my school's team next year. After 3 years of smoking and drinking....am I crazy? Is this possible? Will I ever get back to my peak swimming form? I'm really just hoping to hear from anyone who has attempted something like this, or knows someone who has.You've only been out for a short while. It will come back faster than you think. Be patient. You're definitely not crazy and it's totally possible to be going :21(s) again for the 50. The smoking is certainly something that you can do with out. Not to worry though, as any minor lung impairment will be in your rear view mirror before you know it.


And for what it's worth you've made a very good personal decision. Even with the best of intentions, there's no way to avoid trouble if you're hanging out with people tend to get into it. Move on, make new friends. And be thankful that no matter what happens in your new swimming career, you'll be very grateful in the future that you headed down a new path.

All the best to you.

lefty
November 9th, 2011, 10:22 AM
After 3 years of smoking and drinking....am I crazy? Is this possible? Will I ever get back to my peak swimming form? I'm really just hoping to hear from anyone who has attempted something like this, or knows someone who has.

Thanks guys

You aren't crazy at all. It would be crazy to think that you cannot make a comeback. 3 years of smoking or drinking... so what. More importantly "close calls" will turn into arrests soon; remove yourself from that situation. Because if you come back in another 10 years, the answer will be different. If will be too late.

(well actually it is never too late)

couldbebetterfly
November 9th, 2011, 10:23 AM
After 3 years of smoking and drinking....am I crazy? Is this possible? Will I ever get back to my peak swimming form? I'm really just hoping to hear from anyone who has attempted something like this, or knows someone who has.

Thanks guys

Absoultely you will! I spent 7 years eating, drinking and sitting on my backside between the ages of 18 and 25. Then joined a masters team and swam a lifetime best 50m free (relay split, but still.......) at the ripe old age of 28.

Good Luck, and enjoy!

Ex-distance guy
November 9th, 2011, 11:48 AM
OP, I am (sort of) in a similar situation in this moment in my life as well. I grew up in the water and that's practically all I knew from age 8-19. I regrettably quit swimming after my sophmore year in college after feeling burnt out, struggling with injuries, and stuck at a plateau for two seasons(feels like forever and can be very discouraging). Things went downhill from there; my diet went to crap like taco bell and ramen, I never got enough sleep, too often going out chasing girls, parties, and booze. All the while working 40+hrs a week at min. wage job and "attempting" to continue my degree. I wasn't taking care of myself so everything felt overwhelming and almost depressing. Frankly I was miserable. This went on for over 5 years.

This July, as Ande put it, "at my breaking point". I wanted a change. Hell I needed a change. This August I started to take care of myself more. Throughout a few weeks I started cleaning up my diet and sleep habits. I started to cut things out of my life, slowly.
One of the first things I did was cut the party/alcohol out totally, got 7 hours of sleep a night, and one at a time gave up things like soda pop, canned soups, less sodium, super spicy foods(one of my weaknesses, I hope I don't ruin my stomach/GI tract), and things like that. Since then I have felt quite a bit better, but not great.

Three weeks ago I found a great coach who had a good masters program in my area. I have been swimming for the first time in almost 6 years. I've been doing 3-5 mornings a week ~1.5hr. workout. I just did my 11th practice in 6 years this morning, very low intensity and yardage and it hurts so much. Even after 3 weeks I feel like I haven't swam in 25 years haha. At first I was quite frustrated(still am at times) with how much slower, out of shape, especially how hard it is (and still is!!) just to keep correct technique at a warm-up cruise pace! But my coach has been stressing patience and consistency, like being very patient with your swim progress, DO NOT continue to compare yourself to your former younger swimmer self. This has been great advice to me personally and I always try to keep it in mind. I plan to still stay easy and steady with my training, slowly working up yardage, intensity, and dry land training (which I havnt even started yet). And I'm not even sure how long its going to take! Months? years?(hope not :( ).

Original poster swoo47: I kinda have the same question. Am I crazy to think that I could return to my former competition speed? I used to swim middle-long distance. I'd like to focus on 200fr, bk, fly, 400/500 free, and 400IM....my old specialties, the events I had lots of fun racing in. In my (maybe slacker) opinion these are doozies of events to train and return to?? :confused: I am now 25 yrs old.

What do the wise minds at masters swim forum think?

by the way sorry swoo47 I wasn't trying to jack your thread, it was just so relevant to me I had to post

Jeff Commings
November 9th, 2011, 12:26 PM
I've read stories of many people who have lived very unhealthy lifestyles after quitting swimming. Then, they came back to the sport in their late 20s, lost weight and started smiling again for the first time in years. No matter what times you put up, you need to find the joy in the sport, which it seems you never had, thanks to your parents.

Don't put the pressure on yourself to perform. Just go into workout each day with a goal to be better (or the same) as you were yesterday. The results will take care of themselves.

Don't view this as a daring comeback. You're already setting standards too high. Just go out there and have fun with the mindset that anything is possible. I can speak on that last sentence from experience.

Jimbosback
November 9th, 2011, 01:09 PM
Don't view this as a daring comeback. You're already setting standards too high. Just go out there and have fun with the mindset that anything is possible. I can speak on that last sentence from experience.

100% agree -- swim for yourself and see what happens. Swimming masters can be very liberating in that regard. I look at my meet participation and results as a fun side effect of taking care of myself and exercising in a way that I love. I had been away from swimming for 22 years, and now that I am back, I can't figure out why I let myself stop. You are still young enough to bounce back nicely.

Couroboros
November 9th, 2011, 01:12 PM
I don't think it has to be detrimental to view this as a daring comeback. Read this (http://capandgoggles.com/2011/10/12/the-storyteller-and-the-torturer/#more-71) by Casey Barrett. Notably, the paragraph in italics. It helps to make something a story. Helps. And besides, doesn't "anything is possible" set the standard just as high as "a daring comeback," if not much higher?

Ex-d guy: I am definitely not one of the wise minds of the swim forum (but they're here, I know that, and in fact, I just thrilled myself by disagreeing with one of them), but I certainly think you can get back to your former speed.

orca1946
November 9th, 2011, 01:46 PM
Come back to see if you still like it. I'm sure that fast will return. The team will bring, we hope, give you a better way to spend your time!

AnnG
November 9th, 2011, 01:55 PM
I burned out quite nicely in college after swimming three years, it took me til my mid 30's before I found Masters swimming. And I thought I was pretty bonded to my teammates in college, it pales in comparison to the feelings I have for all my masters teammates! So go for it - make your comeback, and do it for yourself and no one else. Depending on your team you may find you want to continue to swim with the masters group as they will be there for you for many more years of your life.

swimslick
November 9th, 2011, 04:08 PM
I can definitely relate. I too swam as an age grouper, quit year-round swimming during my sophmore year in high school but continued with high school swimming until I graduated. I wasn't a college swimmer, but I did enroll in PE swimming and swam a bit on my own 1x week (for my sanity), and I kept that up fairly well for the past decade now.

I put off joining master's for a long while.....it actually took me 5 years of thinking about it before I finally took the plunge. I worried about lots of stuff during that time....the huge time committment (with a full time job), the 20 minute commute to and from the pool, being out of shape and generally sucking, etc. etc. But, when I finally took the plunge, something just clicked. It all felt normal, like I had somehow done all this before, lol. Its been 4 months now since then and I am loving it. Swimming 3-4 days a week. And the cool thing about Masters is that if you don't like it, you can stop. 7 days a week or 1 day a week....meets or no meets....It will be all about you. You can set your own rules and goals.

I haven't raced yet so I can't say if I actually suck or not.....I suspect I won't be nearly as fast as I was 15 years ago, but I'm going to give it a go. I know its possible to get a best time if I decide to put the work in....but that would be A LOT of work which I'm not ready for at this point for sure, lol. It doesn't sound like much time has gone by since you were in your 'prime', so I say that you most definitely could get best times if you make that your goal.

So do it dude! Try it out, see how you feel. What have you got to lose? :applaud:

swimslick
November 9th, 2011, 04:18 PM
Oh and another thing. Since joining Master's there's one thing I have re-discovered about myself - my confidence. Since I've been swimming again I've re-discovered that I am able to commit to things, set goals, manage my time, live my life how I want to, etc. I used to think that 10 mintues was not enough time to do anything, but now a 10 second rest can feel like soooo much time lol! Basically I've regained my confidence in my ability to keep my shiz together. Sounds like you could use a little of that :)

Ex-distance guy
November 9th, 2011, 04:22 PM
I can definitely relate. I too swam as an age grouper, quit year-round swimming during my sophmore year in high school but continued with high school swimming until I graduated. I wasn't a college swimmer, but I did enroll in PE swimming and swam a bit on my own 1x week (for my sanity), and I kept that up fairly well for the past decade now.

I put off joining master's for a long while.....it actually took me 5 years of thinking about it before I finally took the plunge. I worried about lots of stuff during that time....the huge time committment (with a full time job), the 20 minute commute to and from the pool, being out of shape and generally sucking, etc. etc. But, when I finally took the plunge, something just clicked. It all felt normal, like I had somehow done all this before, lol. Its been 4 months now since then and I am loving it. Swimming 3-4 days a week. And the cool thing about Masters is that if you don't like it, you can stop. 7 days a week or 1 day a week....meets or no meets....It will be all about you. You can set your own rules and goals.

I haven't raced yet so I can't say if I actually suck or not.....I suspect I won't be nearly as fast as I was 15 years ago, but I'm going to give it a go. I know its possible to get a best time if I decide to put the work in....but that would be A LOT of work which I'm not ready for at this point for sure, lol. It doesn't sound like much time has gone by since you were in your 'prime', so I say that you most definitely could get best times if you make that your goal.

So do it dude! Try it out, see how you feel. What have you got to lose? :applaud:

Great job getting back into consistent routine of practice! That is my main goal right now. I want to get my biological 'clock' back in tune with doing practices several times a week; currently i'm working towards 6 practices a week. Funny thing is...I haven't really enjoyed swimming this much in....gosh since I was a pre-teen age grouper. Masters swimming is starting to seem so much cooler than I used to think. (sorry, had to say it, flame away :whiteflag:

swoo47
November 9th, 2011, 04:42 PM
Thanks for all the positive feedback guys, I went to my first practice this morning and it was hell to say the least haha. Swam for about an hour just sort of coasting...trying to reconstruct my stroke technique really. It feels great being back in the water though and I'm going to keep at it. Again, thanks for the encouraging words and I'll be sure to keep you guys updated on my progress

Ex-distance guy
November 9th, 2011, 06:07 PM
Thanks for all the positive feedback guys, I went to my first practice this morning and it was hell to say the least haha. Swam for about an hour just sort of coasting...trying to reconstruct my stroke technique really. It feels great being back in the water though and I'm going to keep at it. Again, thanks for the encouraging words and I'll be sure to keep you guys updated on my progress

Seems your are new to this forum (as am I) and I highly recommend you spending a little time going through this thread:
Ande's Swimming Tips: Swimming Faster Faster - U.S. Masters Swimming Discussion Forums
Ande and MANY other active members on this forum have a lifetime of top level experience and wisdom concerning swimming competition, stroke development, sport evolution, and just good 'ol tried and true advice via experience and exposure.
I am exited along with you to be fresh back in the water after years of rotting. Feels great doesn't it?

taruky
November 9th, 2011, 08:13 PM
I started competitive swimming for the first time in my life three years ago this upcoming January after six years of growing fatter and fatter, bingeing on candy and other junk food and sitting on my well-cushioned butt. Essentially, I didn't do anything physical on any sort of consistent basis throughout my entire teenage years. I come from a family that places a high priority on sports, all of my cousins and my brothers all played on little-league, middle school, and high school teams, from soccer and baseball to wrestling and football, but notably, nothing aquatic. I wish I had had parents and brothers who wouldn't have been so dismissive when I told them in 8th grade that I wanted to do something in the water as a high school sport. As insane as your parents sound, I think a little bit of my parents' attributes mixed in with a little of your parents' obvious enthusiasm for aquatic sports sounds lovely.

That said, I like where I am today. Three years ago in Jan '09, I went a 1:19.92 on my first 100 free scy. Last July, I went 53.13. I'm a late blooming swimmer and I love it. More and more, I've come to appreciate the advantages and special perspectives that come with starting this sport at the age I have. I wouldn't trade it to have started the sport any earlier.

In your case, just focus on what you call it in your title- a daring comeback. That's a wonderful starting point, tells a story, gives your reestablished love for swimming an arc to follow, you know? You drank, you smoke, you danced and teetered on the edge... so, psychologically and physiologically, you've probably fallen a far world from where you left swimming at that 21.6 50fr time. Three years ago, there was a big hole in my life and I didn't know what the hell was supposed to fill it. It was like not knowing what I was supposed to be doing. Then I found swimming. Just focus on finding and milking the positives of returning to a sport after a three or so year absence.

I look forward to watching your progress as you return to and surpass your high school glory days. It'll happen.
Geesh 53.3 three years after starting from scratch? Good for you! I'm on 2 years of teaching myself and almost a year with a masters team and haven't sniffed 1:00 yet. I'm a good athlete, in good shape, 44. Do you have a good coach?

As for swoo47, good for you recognizing that things need to change. Everybody needs that thing in life to hold onto, that thing that gives you pleasure and comfort, that gives you somehing to look forward to. For some it is religion, for others family, for others sports, and unfortunately for some drugs, alcohol, etc. You are essentially transplanting that innate need into swimming. Getting better and setting goals helps give meaning to your life. I will tell you something funny. Since I started swimming seriously I find myself to be a much better person. My naughty thoughts, if you know what I mean, have become far and few between, lol.

FreeChamp
November 9th, 2011, 08:41 PM
What school do you go to?

couldbebetterfly
November 9th, 2011, 09:20 PM
Funny thing is...I haven't really enjoyed swimming this much in....gosh since I was a pre-teen age grouper.

One of my coaches once said that the reason he loved coaching Masters was that everyone in the pool chose to be there for practice. That I think is the key, we all do it because we love to swim, not because our parents are wanting us to, or we'll let the coach down if we quit...... No we actually choose to make time to swim.

swimon90
November 9th, 2011, 09:41 PM
You guys can definately do it! After swimming in highschool and a year in college I spent a year overseas where I lost much of my fitness and strength. The following year I didn't work out too much and felt miserable. Now I am back in the water and with in 8 months I hit my college times. I am 21. This is definately possible. I even lost all my gained weight (20lbs) really quickly.
The others on the fourm are right. I have more determination and drive now than I ever did. I think I realize now what a priveledge swimming is and how at the end of the day it comes down to me. I enjoy it more now than I ever did. It is an amazing stress reliever and definately helps me manage life better.
So just start out slowly, don't give up, and have fun. Make it a lifestyle choice.

Ex-distance guy
November 9th, 2011, 10:53 PM
One of my coaches once said that the reason he loved coaching Masters was that everyone in the pool chose to be there for practice. That I think is the key, we all do it because we love to swim, not because our parents are wanting us to, or we'll let the coach down if we quit...... No we actually choose to make time to swim.

I grew up swimming at a small pool with restricted space most of the time. Prime pool time was designated for the fairly large and developed age group program. There were a few :45-1hr lap swim sessions throughout the day,(mostly at odd times) occupied by noodlers, bobbers, and backpaddlers doing 120 second 25yrd laps. Some even "required" their own lane.
There never was a big enough interest to start a masters program, heck, there was hardly enough space or time anyway :(
I have never been around a US masters swimming program before 'til 3 weeks ago, and so far it has been so much fun (despite the unusual level of pain starting back trying to keep up with these old farts almost double my age hauling ass!:bow:

ande
November 13th, 2011, 01:21 PM
I've decided to get back in the water...starting tomorrow morning. I'm going to be training with a masters team that trains in my college's pool, and I am hoping to eventually walk onto to my school's team next year. After 3 years of smoking and drinking....am I crazy? Is this possible? Will I ever get back to my peak swimming form? I'm really just hoping to hear from anyone who has attempted something like this, or knows someone who has.
Thanks guys

Welcome!
It sucks getting dumped, you'll get through it.
You'll find the one you're meant to be with and the ones along the way
They're just part of your story, transitions can be devastating and difficult

No you're not Crazy
You're sane.
You want a better life.
It is totally possible, you're young
Turn your life around

Swim for you. To feel better. To look better. To swim faster
It's not too late, it's never to late
Begin start dare
Take your first steps, take your first strokes
You went 21.6 as a sophomore
You've got talent
Do something with it

Stop smoking stop drinking stop drugging
Stop spending time with those who do

Start dreaming start doing start believing
Start spending time with dreamers doers and believers

Hit the pool hit the weight room hit the books
Be patient kind and forgiving
We all make mistakes
Become the best you you can be
Sometimes we need to hit bottom before we can bounce

you can you will you must

Welcome to usms.org/forums

Go for it, good luck

Ande