A trickle of water bouncing off rocks on its path down from the North Vancouver mountains is a sure sign that the summer swim season is nigh. That’s right, nigh. I went there.
In short order that trickle will turn into a deafening roar as a million gallons of water rush over trees, rocks, and bridges to its eventual home in Burred Inlet. And that sound you hear? That’s the sound of a million anxious swimmers diving into the deluge.
Besides the natural poetry that flows so well with all this water imagery, there’s a lot to look forward to this swim season.
Swimming is a beautiful representation of life. In life, most things worth doing will be accompanied with some measure of difficulty. Getting up while it’s dark out to train before school is tough, but these are the types of mental hurdles swimmers will need to conquer.
If waking up wasn’t tough enough, afterwards you actually have to get to work. Swim training is gruelling and tireless. Swimming demands more of your body than you might have to give on a daily basis, but that’s where the mental hurdles come back into play. If you want to succeed this season then you need to shape your body for success.
In order to win a physical test in the water you’ll need to defeat someone else who’s trying to do the exact same thing. Think of the moment before you dive into the pool for your first race. Who’s beside you? Are you prepared to do what it takes to win? Let your opponent stare in awe at the fire in your eyes!
One of swimming’s best elements is the post-race first pump. Countless hours of training are all released at once with an aggressive fist pump when victory is achieved for the first time each summer. Make sure you don’t dislocate your shoulder.
Mental hurdles, physical hurdles, stare-downs and fist-pumps - what’s the one common uniting factor? Missing in all the buildup to an actual event is the support swimmers get from their teammates and coaches. Swimming is a tough sport, but it’s easier when you know you have a crew going through the same trials and tribulations. The reunion of the NSWC Marlins swim team every summer is a moment every member of the team, regardless of age, looks forward to all winter.
Alright, back to reality. You’re going to be exhausted this swim season. Your body will ache, your mind will go numb, and the hours of practicing the same strokes over and over again will inevitably take their toll.
If you want them to.
In swimming, as in life, whatever you invest is directly proportionate to what you’ll receive. It’s basically the opposite of me buying oil stocks last summer. So when your joints and muscles ache this season, you’ll know you’re making the summer count.
You can see them sitting there, inside their dumb little tent wrapped up in a sleeping bag (you’re doing the exact same thing but for them it’s dumb - just because). We all have a nemesis. Is there someone who, above all others, you can’t wait to beat this summer? You won’t have to wait much longer.
Why is it so dark and quiet under the water? Perhaps it’s so we can hear our own voice. Swimming is both a test of our abilities when compared with our peers and a test of our dedication to our own ambition.
In swimming, the toughest opponent is always close and will always dive as deep as you tell them to.
What are you looking forward to the most this summer swim season?