Mental Physical Technical Swimming


: Stop and Think: Challenge Yourself

Stop and Think: Challenge Yourself

11 Apr
Nick Baker

“How many of you want to go to the Olympics?”, is a question that I often ask swimmers who attend my camps. Needless to say, every arm in the room is raised. While there is no better or exciting goal, the current odds of making the U.S Olympic Swimming Team are 1 in 6,435 for females and 1 in 5,113 for males. The reason the odds are higher for females is because there are more female participants in swimming than males. Depending on how a swimmer chooses to look at it, the odds may be encouraging or discouraging; but either way, it’s one challenging goal to say the least.

In 2012, forty-eight swimmers traveled to London to represent the USA. The average age for females was 21.6 years and for males 25.8 years. Besides their natural ability, winning mindset, superior skills, and intense work ethic, these athletes navigated a very long and windy road to realize their Olympic dream. So what’s their secret?

Dr. Lauren Whitt, Wellness Coordinator at the University of Alabama, offers the following insight, “The path to achieving big dreams is similar for all of us. We have to make personal sacrifices, be determined, disciplined, and break down what seems to be an overwhelming goal into manageable pieces.”

Dr. Gitendra Uswatte, Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Alabama, agrees, “Each goal should become progressively more ambitious, in incremental steps. If you want to be an Olympic swimmer, look to be the best on your school team first, then in your state, and so on. This makes the process seem lengthier, but you have to crawl before you can walk.”

Dr. Whitt also adds, “Elite athletes have won and lost thousands of times before they get to the Olympics. If they had quit after the first setback, they never would have made it there. Response to failure separates the successful from the unsuccessful. Accept the failure, learn from the mistake, and refocus on the challenge ahead. If you fail at one step, you are not a failure. Expect that you will fall down at various points along the way and have a plan for getting back on your feet.”

Note: The aforementioned statistical information comes from a study conducted by ecollegefinder.org, which represents 120 accredited online colleges and universities in the United States.

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