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swimpastor
November 5th, 2004, 08:58 AM
My heart to swim competitively burned out when I was seventeen - though I swam another year (my senior year in high school). Then 33 years later I got back in the pool, and like many others, discovered that I had a renewed passion to compete. That seems in some ways strange to me, so I've been thinking about why I compete. I've reached the conclusion that I really wasn't done when I left the pool at eighteen - rather, I just needed a breather. (That was one huge oxygen debt!) I wonder if one day I'll be done competing, or if this passion is a lifelong one, like the passion for fitness and health that my swimming serves regardless of whether or not I compete.

jean sterling
November 5th, 2004, 01:41 PM
Some people can swim for fitness and don't feel the need to compete. My husband is like that - he has a nice stroke and swims 3/4 mile several times a week, but he has no desire to do intervals or (heavens forbid) compete in swimming (he competes at a high level in duplicate bridge). I, however, find that competition is a wonderful motivator to get out there at 6 AM and to put more effort into it. Fitness is very important to me, and I am sure I am more fit because I compete - but that's just me.

hooked-on-swimming
November 5th, 2004, 03:39 PM
competing is about getting recognition for all the effort you put into yourself, letting the world know you tried hard to be what you are.Also, competition is a great encouragement to do better and better, it is a culmination of all your small and big goals set on your performance through all your work-outs.And finally it is being around people like you, people who share that same passion.

James
November 5th, 2004, 05:40 PM
Originally posted by swimpastor
My heart to swim competitively burned out when I was seventeen - though I swam another year (my senior year in high school). Then 33 years later I got back in the pool, and like many others, discovered that I had a renewed passion to compete. That seems in some ways strange to me, so I've been thinking about why I compete. I've reached the conclusion that I really wasn't done when I left the pool at eighteen - rather, I just needed a breather. (That was one huge oxygen debt!) I wonder if one day I'll be done competing, or if this passion is a lifelong one, like the passion for fitness and health that my swimming serves regardless of whether or not I compete.

My story is somewhat the same. I quit swimming when I was 16 years old. I swam on a summer team,only two months a year on a club team. My high school had no team, or a pool for that matter. I was very discurraged because i was not getting better. To make a long story short, I had my son at our local college for swimming lessons and saw a coach teaching some kids, around 7-8 years old, how to start. As soon as I saw this, I knew I needed to swim competition again, and a year after I started, I don't regret it one minute.:D

jean sterling
November 5th, 2004, 09:37 PM
Originally posted by hooked-on-swimming
And finally it is being around people like you, people who share that same passion.

Excellent thought - one that I share wholeheartedly! Most of the ladies my age are into water aerobics, which at my pool resembles a watery gossip session. When I go to a meet I get to be with other women like me - who swim intervals and aren't afraid to get their hair wet. I find that seeing the women in my age group and talking with them is inspiring and a lot of fun too.

EyeoreSAM
November 5th, 2004, 11:12 PM
I also quit swimming when I was 18 after my senior year of high school. I wandered through my twenties until a few months ago wondering what was missing. The first practice that I got in the water for in August made me quickly realize that swimming was exactly what was missing. I think I compete for the rush and to have a test of how well my training is going or just to be with a whole bunch of early risers that feel the same as I do!

Swimmerguy
November 5th, 2004, 11:52 PM
I will give my thoughts on this subject which are twofold. First I wonder why quite a few quit swimming between 16-19? I think that those who swam for many years only quit because it does not fit into their lifestyles after HS, college, careers, or just trying to find out what they are going to do and swimming is not a career. It is amazing, but not shocking to me, that after we find out what we are going to do, swimming becomes a part of our life again because we enjoyed it so much and it brings great satisfaction to us. I am 29 and have joined many affiliations, free mason, shriner, ordained minister(online), and am a member of Mensa. None of these has brought the joy of swimming!!! I attend two things that make me feel better about life and myself, church and swimming. Life is to short too not be happy and enjoy the things that make us happy.
GOD LOVES THE POOL AND SO DO I!!!!!!!!!!!
SWIM ON!!!!!!!

sefswim
November 6th, 2004, 05:18 PM
I too left swimming after my senior year. I only got back into it because my son(then 9) decided he wanted to swim and when I told the coach I swam b4, he coaxed me into coming to a masters practice. That all started it. I'll be back in swimming 1 year come this Dec and absolutely love it. I love meets and just want to see how close I could come to my best times in high school. I'm a little off but getting closer.....I always have the excuse that I'm 18 years older now so that makes me feel good.

swimlong
November 7th, 2004, 01:41 AM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Swimmerguy
First I wonder why quite a few quit swimming between 16-19?


Maybe because swimming competetively requires so much time...I burnt out as a teen after a few years of two-a-days, thrice weekly dryland training sessions, "optional" (yeah, right!) Sunday practices, three day meets every month, and so forth. The medals and local press accolades were great, but after I quit I found out how easy it was to stay up late at night and sleep through the morning...

But even as a teen, after I quit, I knew something was missing. I gained twenty pounds and despite sleeping in, I wasn't as energetic. So, middle-aged at 16, I discovered my life needed balance. I tried to return to swimming, but after being "a contender" it was impossible to return on at recreation level. Fortunately I found running and biking, which got me back into shape.

And now, as I revisit middle age at 43, masters swimming helps balance me. I set and work towards goals, stay in shape, socialize with positive people, and get away from work and family responsibilities all in one workout. Pretty good value, I'd say!

newmastersswimmer
November 8th, 2004, 12:29 AM
I have always been massively competetive about everything....I have two siblings that are close to my age and so maybe that has something to do with it? I hated to lose when I was just a kid....but now I don't mind losing (even badly) ...I will compete anyway....I recall that while I was in grad school there were many decent chess players in our department (many were foriegn students...so that could explain why) and we had chess tournaments each year for several years before I left....I got my butt kicked SO many times.....but I didn't care b/c I loved competing and eventually I would win or draw on occaission (especially if my opponent had a bad game)....I am that way about a lot of things....Most of it is just competition with myself....to see how far I can improve...Like someone else mentioned in this thread...(I think it was "hooked on swimming"?)....Competition is one of the ways to measure your improvement....to test yourself from time to time.


newmastersswimmer

knelson
November 8th, 2004, 02:30 PM
One reason I compete is it keeps me going. If I don't have a meet to train for down the road I find myself coming up with a lot of excuses and skipping workouts. I'm sure there are people out there who have the willpower to swim consistently without ever competing, but I guess I'm not one of them!

shark
November 9th, 2004, 02:05 PM
I have been involved in competitive swimming for 32 years. 16 as a competitor and 16 as a coach. I quit competing after college because I had run the gamit; from 8 and under to senior in college. I used my time for other things like working, coaching, creating a family. We recently had a Y constructed 200 yards from my backdoor. I do not like to run and needed something to prolong the inevitable. Swimming is it. I have yet to compete in a masters event, don't even belong to a club as of yet. But I do know this: I used to train to compete. I now will compete because I train. Think about it, there is a big difference.

tjrpatt
November 9th, 2004, 03:59 PM
Because it is really fun and challenging. I started doing masters swimming last year and I am finally having a good time swimming. I was miserable swimming from when I was 16 to 19. Now, I am excited about swimming. I look forward to masters meets and I am thinking of doing a 1500 and 800 freestyle again.

Seagurl51
November 9th, 2004, 07:07 PM
Originally posted by knelson
One reason I compete is it keeps me going. If I don't have a meet to train for down the road I find myself coming up with a lot of excuses and skipping workouts. I'm sure there are people out there who have the willpower to swim consistently without ever competing, but I guess I'm not one of them!

I'm a fitness swimmer, but I'm gonna start competing next year probably. I've motivated myself without having a meet to go to and just kept going. But as I began to think about it, I got sick of swimming for just fitness. I've proved to myself that I'm a good (well, decent) swimmer, now I'm ready to prove it to everybody else! That's why I'm competing!

~Kyra

T.J.
November 9th, 2004, 10:46 PM
Why do we compete?

I work in our local hospital. There have been several patients, some friends, who have died in their sixties from COPD, while survivors are tethered to an oxygen bottle from their late 50's. The only excercise they got was lifting their cigarettes to their mouths. I'm not a smoker, but this was an eye opener.

Using my father as a role model (Dad is now 81, a diabetic using diet, attitude, weight, and excercise so he needs no injections), I decided to get serious. I did not want to end up like some of the
the patients I saw.

Swimming was my sport in AAU and high school so I made up my mind to give it a try at the ripe old age of 44. Partly to encourage my son to particiapte in swimming, but mostly to regain my strength and agility, I wondered about joining the USA team 30 miles to the north. The final push came when a college friend encouraged me to join and swim with the kids. She did, and loved it. Could I? (While driving to sign up, my son asked "But, Dad, shouldn't you retire from sports at your age?")

I was so nervous for my first USA/AAU meet since 1974. But when I walked out of the locker room and was met with that glorious humidity, chemical smell, the sounds which are so familiar in a swimming venue, and the pool set up for a meet; I knew I was home.

That was October 1998 and I'm still competing, although I limit competing to the fall season. I've made many new friends among coaches, parents, USMS swimmers, age group swimmers, and officials. It's great to see them year after year to share stories about their kids, meets and the other activities in their lives. I've followed swimmers as they go on to college, and new swimmers who are beginning to find the zone. It's a wonderful community that few people appreciate. It's not about winning or losing. When you are moving and particiapte you always win no matter what place you get in a race.

My son? Well, he chose football. I never miss a game.

2go+h20
November 10th, 2004, 12:32 AM
I compete because it is inspiring. And Motivating.
My heros are the 90 year olds who can get to a pool several times a week, change, jump in the pool and complete a workout. Get dressed and continue on with their day. AS they have done for decades and decades.
Plus survive a cardless meet. Travel to another country and compete.
My book I tote around to every meet (indoor and outdoor/open water) "Dangerous When Wet" has pages filled with signatures of these truly inspirational swimming heros!!
At the worlds in 2002 there were 4 men in the 90-94, an 85 year young lady from Spain did an 800, and 4 of the 7 80-85 year old ladies dived in from the blocks. 2 80 year old ladies and ?3 men did a 200 fly and a few did the 400IM.
I chauffered the Swedish team as they were amazing. An 83 year old man thought nothing of walking a good 25-30 minutes to the pool every day.
There were far too many other inspiring swimmers in ever age group, all pumped and ready to set another Personal Best to list. As there are in any meet, no matter what the level.
For me so much inspiration and motivation.
It is inspiring to look back at my progress over the years. From a complete novice, 17 years ago to this day.
My first meet was memorable. The water looked so blue. And Still. And those huge serious looking lane ropes were breath taking. The officials all dressed in white, and very business like, scared what breath I had left away. I fronted up for the 400. In a slow heat and I was 1/2 the age of most. Well I thought, Should be able to stick with these swimmers. Well, by 250 meters I was ready to puke, thought about getting out, but thought how embarrassing that would be. By now I had no idea how far I had gone, so kept swimming until I was fished out.
I came out with a new respect for all of my fellow swimmers.
I had so much to learn, yet this was exciting, so exciting.
To see the vast improvements I have made over the past 17 years, to reflect on the goals I reach each time I compete. To achieve what was almost unthinkable;actually breaking several records, even a National one. To conquer my undaunting fear of the open water, compete and set new and even more challenging goals.
If I didn't dream, how would I ever know just how high I could reach. If I didn't set goals how would I know how far I could go. Achieving those goals, be they small or large, is immeasurable.

I compete:
To discover determination, resilience, discipline, focus.
To discover confidence, strength and self pride.
To learn the value of challenging myself to reach those goals.
To be motivated and inspired by my fellow athletes.
To encourage, motivate and inspire others.

Kiwi