A look at our constant love-hate relationship with sport

Swimming: a love-hate relationship

By Rachel Sansano, Intern at Swimming World College

To an outsider, swimmers seem to have a strange relationship with their sport. They simultaneously love and hate every aspect of it. They complain to anyone who will listen to them. But at the same time, they are the first to fiercely defend their sport if anyone dares to question it. A swimmer’s love-hate relationship with sport is something only he can truly understand.


Why we hate him

Sore muscles, screaming shoulders, and raccoon eyes (from wearing glasses for too long) are all hallmarks of a swimmer. These three things are essential in the life of every swimmer. On top of that, swimmers spend most of their day with wet hair and droopy eyelids. Just sitting in class with water slowly dripping from your messy bun is enough to drive anyone crazy.

Why we love it

Swimming has an impact on your body. There is no sugar that coats it. That being said, nothing compares to a post workout high. When you complete the seemingly impossible set the trainer imagined, you feel unstoppable. After a good practice, the swimmers leave the pool feeling powerful and ready to take on the world.

The clock

Why we hate him


Courtesy Photo: Swimming World

Every swimmer, at some point in their career, has hated the stopwatch. This is what we live and die by. The clock tells us that we have not reached our goal, that it is time to get up for 5 hours of practice, and that we have missed the intermission … once again.

Why we love it

But, the clock is also your best friend. It shows that your hard work has paid off. The clock gives you something to run, something that keeps you grounded in reality when that little black line appears to be your whole world. In my pool we have a digital clock with bright red numbers. Every second that passes is a red blip on the screen. This red is reflected on the water and illuminates the entire pool. It’s a constant reminder that the clock is counting down to the end of the set, the end of practices and, eventually, the end of the season.


Why we hate them

Above all, dating is mentally exhausting. The anxiety you experience behind the blocks or in the warm-up pool can be overwhelming. Scary thoughts fill your brain and threaten to take hold of your race. In addition to this mental toll, the meetings are physically exhausting. The exhaustion you feel after a four-day meeting between prelims and finals is hard to beat.

Why we love them

Competitions are a swimmer’s time to shine. This is where they see their efforts pay off, the adrenaline that we feel behind the blocks or after a big race is what keeps us going. Finishing a race and seeing a better time next to your name is what drives us. All swimmers love dating… don’t they?


Why we hate him

The practice is by far the easiest part of swimming to be hated. It’s hard to choose the most hated part of the practice. There are so many options. Are the lanes overcrowded? Endless sets? Or maybe it’s the soft, soft voice of the coach yelling “FASTER!” The possibilities are limitless.

Why we love it

Swimmers love to train because it challenges them. Each set pushes them one step closer to their end goal.


Why we hate him

It’s easy. Who wants to smell bleach? I’m willing to bet that no one is a fan of the smell of toilet cleaner.

Why we love it

It reminds us of home.


Swimming is full of ups and downs. None of this is easy, but it is all rewarding. Fight the tired days, sore muscles and know that there are easier days to come.

All comments are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine or its staff.

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