It’s cold and dark outside. You are struggling to get out of bed and go to the pool. You just put your head back on the pillow and tell yourself tomorrow is another day. Have you wondered how the best athletes stay motivated? It might be because they approach swimming as a teamsport. Swimming with others might just be the key to help you get to the pool on days you don’t want to. Why is that? Keep reading...
The answer to these questions is swimming with others. Those others will become your friends. Swimming with others has three important elements, accountability, competitiveness and making swimming fun. Keep reading and find out why swimming with others is the best way to get you down to the pool and keep you going down.
“For the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack.” – Rudyard Kipling
Swimming with others makes us accountable to each other. It is very difficult to stay in bed or away from training when others are relying on you pitching up to swim practice. You have agreed on a time and day to train with others. You expect them to be there and they you. This simple commitment to swim is a fundamental insight into the motivation and discipline of Elite swimmers and you too. It is far easier getting up in the dark cold morning knowing that someone is waiting for you. If fact, it may even be enjoyable. When we swim with others, be it in a Swim team, a casual group at the local pool or in a SWOD here at SwimGym, we know our friends are waiting on us to go swimming together.
The other great advantage of accountability is someone is always in the mood to swim and will motivate the rest. You feel tired after a long day and are about to cancel your swim when you get a text from your swim buddy, who is full of the joys of life, and gets you motivated to come down anyway. It might be you next time who motivates them. Accountability is cyclical. Someone is always ready to swim, and rarely is it the same person every time.
How easy is it for you to challenge yourself when you are swimming alone? It is the very rare individual who is able to push themselves in the absence of others. Coaches and swim buddies are there to get the best out of us, whether we want it or not. But getting the best out of us in a training makes us happy and motivates us to come back.
Swimming with others of similar ability creates a healthy competitiveness. On many levels. If you are having a bad day, you can still try to keep up with your buddies. You can challenge each other. Who swims with the longest stroke, who has the best catch, who can swim the fastest 50m etc.? It is this healthy competitiveness that motivates us to keep up with the fastest in the lane, swim at the head of the group and go deep when needed.
All these elements you can’t do on your own. But in a group, comparing ourselves with our peers is where our strength is in the swim pack.
3. Making it Fun
There may be lots of peer competitiveness swimming with others, which is beneficial to your swimming, but swimming with others makes it fun. You might combine an open water swim with a BBQ or a midmorning swim with a coffee. Laughing at each other when you have a relay race with T-shirts or learning a new stroke are all part of what it means to swim with others. Pulling a friend’s leg when swimming to pass them is a classic swim tactic and can only be done with friends. Talking in between sets and sharing information, tips and ideas makes swimming with others loads of fun.
Join a local Masters swimming or Triathlon club is the easiest and best way to find people who love swimming and with whom you can connect. In addition to all the benefits mentioned above, most clubs have good coaches who will be able to help you improve your swimming technique.
If joining a club isn’t an option, try talking to a swimmer at your local pool who you see regularly and who you know is on your level. How do you know if they are at your level? Easy. Just swim next to them. Most people are open to having a swim buddy and who knows, your swim goals may also be the same.
Lastly but not least is getting an online coach. Here you will have the accountability aspect which goes a long way to motivating you to swim consistently and competitively.
In the end, swimming with others is a lot of fun. It gets us up and off to the pool, allows us to compete with our peers and have a laugh while training our butts off. What better reasons can you think of?
Written by Michael Stolt