Swimming is lonely. It’s a very selfish and individual sport. The water makes it more individual than tennis or track. It’s a medium that isolates you.
Here’s Why I Feel Swimming Is Lonely
The water doesn’t allow you to communicate while you workout. It sucks you into a world of confinement filled with a blurry view of a black line and a pace clock…
Your ears are filled with commands yelled by a guy who did his time, and is now making sure you do yours. Your head is filled with goals and dreams… and the last thing coach yelled before you pushed off the wall.
Try as you may, swimming is lonely because you have to do the work yourself. Even when there are 5-6 other people in your lane. How well you work on your own determines how well you race.
One day last spring, I was surfing the web. Probably procrastinating on some homework assignment I had to do when I came across this…
“The most powerful thing that I have learned is how amazing it is to swim for something greater than yourself”
It’s is a quote from South African Olympian, Jean Basson. He’s talking about his experience swimming for the University of Arizona.
That quote rocked my world. I re-read it again…
Suddenly it changed the way I saw where I was. Who I was swimming with and what I was involved in.
It made me realize that there is so much more to our team. More than just the than the guys and girls that are on it now. There is so much more to this team than just me.
It got me thinking about the history of the Whitworth Swim Team. About the guys that got it all started. About the men and women, who were grinding up and down the Whitworth pool long before I was even born.
Suddenly I am overcome with pride, thankfulness and motivation.
I am proud that I have the privilege to join such an incredible team and swim with such incredible people. I am proud of what Whitworth Swimming has stood for and what we as a team have accomplished over the years.
I am thankful for all those that came before us.
I am grateful for the legacy they have created. For the stories and folklore they left us. For making the program what it is today.
I am motivated. Motivated to keep the tradition. To remember that no matter what I achieve, I am part of something much much bigger than myself. I am incredibly excited to add to what has been achieved already.
As a Freshman and for most of my Sophomore year I didn’t realize or fully understand all of this. I had a hard time seeing more than the present moment or the task at hand. As I now grow wiser in my years, I am so happy that I figured this out before I graduated from Whitworth.
To be as passionate as I am about swimming and then find here is a whole new dimension to it that I somehow missed before. That’s awesome!
As a small token of my appreciation to the program that has offered me so much I have undertaken to giving back. With the help of Hall of Fame member, Kevin Wang we have begun placing pieces of our history up on the wall of our lobby. While there is still so much more that we can add I am very happy with how it is looking today.
2 thoughts on “Swim For Something Greater Than Yourself”
Great post! As a senior this year I’ve begun thinking about how I will be remembered once I’m gone. I haven’t broken any school records (yet) or anything like that but myself and the rest of the seniors here have definately put in the time and made our mark on the program here as have the rest of the senior classes before us.
I think it’s time for us here at IUP to find some way to recognize the classes who swam before us and those who will swim after us!
Rory—the alumni meet you mention in this post was the first time I watched you swim. Luke Welle is a friend of mine, and as it happened I was visiting friends in Couer D’Alene that weekend, and had a chance to come over and see this swim team he’d just become a part of. Enjoyed watching you & Luke too, swimming at Salem, Pacific, L & C, and then this weekend at Mt. Hood. Learned from Luke’s FB page this week about your blog here, and I really like the thoughtful and sensitive nature of your comments. Congratulations on achievements thus far, and Best Wishes for a great time at Nationals! Will be following here to keep up with your career. —Ken Stewart