Upper Limit Problems- My Life As A Swimmer Series-Part II
Swimming has always been a way of life for me. Growing up, everything revolved around my swimming schedule. It was my focus and I prioritized everything else around practicing twice per day and three days per week, beginning at five in the morning. I was dedicated. This dedication is essential in understanding the next stage of my swimming journey.
I am now 14 years old in my story. During this time, I was at the top of my age group and swimming some of the fastest times in the US, swimming within seconds of the national records. I had most of the Virginia state records and was enjoying my success while being celebrated within the swimming community. During the summer before my 15th birthday, I decided to solely train with my summer league team setting aside practice with my club team. The difference in the training was that my age group team would train every afternoon for two or more hours, Saturday for three hours and three times per week in the morning for one and half to two hours. My overall training commitment would be a minimum of 18 hours per week. This would also include weight and strength training.
Instead of this training regiment, I trained with my summer league team the entire summer, swimming an average of one hour per day. Although there were some other influences in my decision, it was all my decision and ultimately resulted in a slower performance than I was capable of. I was not burned out. I was not getting pressure to compete from my parents I just chose not to swim fast. I was still competing in various meets, but my swimming speed wasn’t exceptionally fast.
That coming fall, I reengaged my training regiment and I began to swim at greater speeds. I turned in numerous top 10 times in the US and a few top five as well. This being said, I didn’t have a breakthrough year, I didn’t break any national records, and I wasn’t on the cover of Swimming World. With a lack of summer training, my swimming was good but not great.
Swimming was my identity. I had built the past eight years around my swimming career. I enjoyed the water sport and the success and recognition that came along with it. With yet another opportunity to break out and become the top swimmer in my events in the country, I decided against it. Does such a decision make sense? Of course it didn’t. I made this decision. I was not rebelling because I was being pushed to train or compete like many of the top swimmers I knew. I made the choice that didn’t honor my talent or passion. I made the choice that sabotaged my potential for greatness in my chosen field. I chose not to live in my genius. Where in your life are you making these choices? In part three of my Upper Limit Problems, I will uncover the rest of my swimming career through retirement.