My Journey as a Swimmer

So, the whole reason I started this blog was to stay motivated now that I am no longer part of a competitive swim team.  I have been a competitive swimmer since the second grade (approximately fifteen years!), and before that even, I took swim lessons at the local fitness center.  When I began competitive swimming, I hated it! I didn’t really mind the practices, but my pre-meet anxiety was too high for me to enjoy competing.

Unfortunately, pre-race anxiety stuck with my throughout my entire swim career even as I grew to love the sport.  As I moved from the local aqua club to swimming in high school and finally competing at the collegiate level, I never lost the extreme nervousness I felt before races.  This is now one of my goals: to determine how to lower my anxiety before a race, whether I am swimming, biking, running, or all three!

My high school swimming gals!

When I was younger, I swam for fun.  All of my friends were on the team, and swimming meant I got to see them every night of the week! It wasn’t until about eighth grade that I got serious about swimming.  I had determined my primary stroke (butterfly), and I was focused on getting better at my events.  When looking for colleges, I had swimming as one of the main focuses of my search.  Being able to swim for NCAA Division II Shippensburg was an awesome experience.  Though I wasn’t the star of the team, I loved the impact the swimming family had on me.  That’s one of the best aspects of swimming: the friends that become family.  I have friends that I met on my first swim team that I am still best friends with to this day.  I have a feeling that is what kept me motivated to stick with the sport for as long as I have.

College training trip in Florida

Swimming has had its ups and downs.  There were many times I wanted to just throw in the towel or walk out of practice, but I knew there were many aspects of the sport I would miss.  It was also so rewarding to touch the wall of an extremely challenging set (such as our Florida training set of 100 x 100 or 50 x 200). When my final swim season was cut short due to mono, I was disappointed.  I never got to swim in the team’s last meet of the season, but I did end my senior year with an all-time best time in the 100 fly!

Heading into the wall

Although I am not longer part of a team, swimming is still a part of my life.  A great pool workout allows me to ease my mind while still feeling productive afterward.  That is why I decided to go for a swim this evening.  It is a lot harder without a team to motivate me, but I still love the rewarding feeling of getting out of the water (even if I didn’t swim the6,000+ yards I would during a practice), and it is definitely a good workout!  Another plus is that my roommate is a swimmer, too, so I am not totally alone in the pool.

My pool workout for the day:

  • Warm-up: 400 swim, 300 pull, 200 kick, 100 swim (1000 yds)
  • Set 1: 10 x 50… 5 on :45, 5 on :40 (500 yds)
  • Set 2: 5 x 200 + 100… rest :10 between (1500 yds)
    • Round 1, 3, 5 : 200 pull, 100 kick
    • Round 2, 4 : 200 IM, 100 ez swim
  • Cool-down: 3 x 100 on 1:40 ez
  • Total: 3300 yds

Now, my roommate and I are going to watch Hairspray, read a little bit, and hit the sack!  🙂

Final question before leaving:

How do you deal with pre-race anxiety?



Filed under Training

8 responses to “My Journey as a Swimmer

  1. Nikki- This is really good! I love the PT picture – brings me back to that disgusting locker room. Haha I also got horrible pre-race anxiety with swimming… and I still have no idea how to get over it. But I’m excited to read more from you – yay! (Ps- what ended up being your best fly time?)

    • Thanks, Jess! I think I am loving this whole thing already, and I think I figured most of it out… 🙂 As for my 100 fly time, I went a 1:02.48, which I was pumped about considering I hadn’t beaten my best high school time in my four years at college. I was a bit frustrated with swimming by the end, so it was nice to finally drop below my best time by over 2 seconds!

  2. Hey Nikki! I’ve never had terrible prerace anxiety, but I can relate to the feeling. I dealt with anxiety so bad when I used to play softball that i had to seek professional help for it — hence the reason I don’t get too nervous over races! I’m not sure what made it click though. I think it’s so cool that you’re a swimmer. I always admire swimmers because it’s such a hard sport!

  3. Pingback: Reality Check | life after swimming

  4. I love this post! Haha I admire runners too. I could swim all day long, but running!?
    I used to never be nervous before races – I’d be dead calm behind the block my freshman year. Then I determined that it would probably benefit me to get excited before meets/races so I tried that my sophomore year but started getting really nervous. And last year I had a full on panic attack before every single meet! It was awful. Nw we had our first meet last week and I was so happy that even though I got REALLY nervous, I didn’t have a panic attack. 🙂

  5. Pingback: Happy Blog-iversary! | Life After Swimming

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