To my dear swimming community,
This past week has been incredibly hard. As I sat at home with my kids doing dryland workouts (and posting videos of myself online doing workouts for the first time…woof), I’ve had a lot of emotions. I’m sure you all have too. For one, I NEVER planned on having a YouTube channel as part of my blog… mad respect for all those who make videos – it’s hard and scary! It may be temporary…
First, I want to acknowledge that so many swimmers out there are fish out of water for the foreseeable future. This is sad. There’s no way around that. For many (myself included), swimming is therapeutic. But it also means a great deal more to me now that I’m coaching and parenting swimmers. My young daughter may not get a chance to swim again with her team – we move this summer (or not?). It will be crushing to see her spend her last few months in a city she loves with a team she loves and be isolated from her friends. Things are HARD. Not only that, I may have coached some of my talented young age group swimmers for the last time without knowing it. There is no way to get these moments back.
But friends, I’m here to tell you that this is not the end. This is the time to appreciate the sport you may have taken for granted. This is the time to set goals, reflect on things outside the pool that make you happy, and focus on those things. The internet and social media can be scary right now, but if you can sort through the noise I am also seeing SO MANY positive things happen. Let me highlight a few:
Swim coaches all over the world are posting online dryland workouts. Some are even offering free daily live workout sessions. I’ll highlight a few of these that I’ve come across at the end of my post, but how wonderful to see the swimming community ban together in the face of adversity and move forward with what we’ve got. And it’s not just coaches, everyone is sharing their home workouts, and it doesn’t matter if it’s amateur videoing in your living room (me), it all helps.
Swimming role models are interacting with fans and providing sometimes live “chat” sessions to lift spirits. Just this Friday, I participated in a FB live session with a swimming hero of mine, Diana Nyad as she told stories, took comments and hosted… get this… a sing along! I even posted a comment and got a shout out. After a morning spent wallowing in “what ifs”, it was a perfect end to a long hard week. Elizabeth Biesel also hosted webinar this week, “Finding Your Silver Lining” about staying motivated during setbacks.
Swimmers are finding funny and creative ways to keep interacting with water. I’ve seen swim spas, bathtub exercises, and a brave few who have jumped in unheated home pools just for a few laps.
From my perspective, swimming is one of the sports hit the hardest in this pandemic. Pools can be hard to come by, and with gyms closing, if you aren’t close to a body of water for open water swimming (that’s open, I know some beaches are closed), what do you do?
You don’t give up. Work with your coach or fellow teammates to come up with a dryland workout plan. Stay in touch with friends through FaceTime and social media. Schedule chat sessions to talk to each other. TALK ON THE ACTUAL PHONE to people rather than text. Keep your connections alive, and before you know it, you will be back in the water. You will feel tired and out of shape, yes. You may be a half a season behind in your goals times. That’s OKAY. I had goals set for myself this year that it’s likely I now won’t achieve. Take a moment right now, stop reading, close your eyes and forgive yourself for slow times and bad meets and missed goals. Promise yourself that instead of feeling cheated of precious training time or disappointed, you will feel grateful to be back in at all. Imagine how good it will feel to jump in that water for the first time in possibly months! I guarantee I won’t be complaining about a cold pool and an early morning for quite some time.
Right now, fear is everywhere, but so is postivitiy! Look around you and you will find coaches, parents, teammate and friends willing to help, advise, uplift and go through this with you. Swimmers are the strongest people I know, and we can come back from this.
If you’ve been following me awhile, you know that I took about 10 years off of swimming. I am not as fast as I was in college, of course, but I will say after starting from scratch, I was able to exceed my own expectations after just a few short months of work. It will take a lot of work when the pools open back up, and your times may not be what you want them to be for awhile, but swimming isn’t cancelled. It is postponed, but it is still the sport you love, the sport you’ve worked so hard for, and the sport that will come back to you soon. It found it’s way back to me, and I’m thankful for it. Even thought I’m out of the water right now, I’m surrounded by swimmers everywhere showing love.
Be healthy everyone, and check out some great motivation and dryland ideas while we all pretend to be runners for a few months…comment and share if you know of any other great resources out there, there are so many I’m missing!
We are in this together!
Exercise and Support Resources I’ve Found So Far During Pandemic:
- MySwimPro is offering free daily live dryland bootcamp workouts via Instagram, FB, and YouTube. Daily at 10am EST.
- Abbie Fish, creator of Swim Like A. Fish is offering free daily live dryland workouts via Instagram. Instagram handle is @theafish1 for registration link.
- American Swim Coaches Association (ASCA) is offering an at home dryland program. Link is in Instagram bio @ascaswimming and resources page on their website at https://swimmingcoach.org/coronavirus-resources-for-coaches/
- U.S. Masters Swimming is posting regular updates on their website to include both dryland workouts and yoga tailored to swimmers.
- GoSwim.tv is opening up their entire site for Free!
- FB Groups: Join “swim workouts” or “strength training for swimmers” on facebook for a huge community of swimmers and coaches exchanging ideas.
- FB Live with Diana Nyad. Daily (M-F) at 5pm ET. This is really uplifting, I highly recommend it.
- Yoga for Swimmers: Swimming-Specific Yoga will be offering free online yoga classes for swimmers for the next two months. Registration link here.
These are just some of the items I’ve found in the past week, please share more if you have a site/social media page and are posting inspiration and workouts!
I agree with the therapeutic aspect of sports.
Here in Japan as well, all schools and most sport centers being closed, unburdening the physical tension produced by the professional, social and psychological stress is proving extremely challenging…
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Good luck to you too! I have hope there is light at the end of the tunnel
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