Swimming is just like any other competitive sport: training day in and day out for months on end. I don’t think a lot of people realize how much work competitive swimmers actually go through on a daily basis.
Their days start before the sun is up and continue long after the sun goes down. Let’s take a look at the average day in the life of a swimmer.
Most swimmers will tell you their day starts bright and early, around 5:00 AM. One competitive swimmer said her day starts at 4:50 AM and she’s at the gym by 5:10 AM.
“Stretching starts. We do V-sits and various other leg and arm stretches whose names are much too complicated for me to remember. We stop stretching and move to our lanes, taking our sweet time putting our caps, goggles, and drag suits on. No, really: we take at least ten minutes every practice. We can actually do the entire process in about thirty seconds if need be, but it’s not even 5:30 in the morning, and right now, 90% of us probably couldn’t even tell you our names.”
Most of us aren’t even out of bed before 7 AM, let alone at the gym swimming laps before the sun even comes up! And this is just the first part of a swimmer’s day!
Finishing practice around 8:45AM, jetting home for a nap, lunch and then they’re back at the gym at 12 PM for more training.
“I make my way, yet again, to the pool. This time, we’re not getting in the water: instead, we’re doing dry land training.
It’s sort of like conditioning for football or lacrosse, and it involves lots of long, painful sets of jumping jacks (one jumping jack = a regular jumping jack, where your arms go out to the side, and then another one where your arms move out front), crunches, planks (one minute each), wall-sits, push-ups, and running. Fortunately, we only have dry land practices once a week.”
After that they get another short break and head home to recharge and eat dinner. What happens next? Yep, you guessed it. Back at the pool yet again by 7 PM.
“Life isn’t so good anymore. I’m now at the other practice pool.The longcourse one. So, instead of being 25 yards, it’s now 50. That’s double the pain and agony of morning practice.”
Finally the night has come to an end at 9 PM. Heading home for the final time. “I take a full-on shower, and then literally crawl into bed. I’m so tired I can’t even remember how to walk.”
There you have it. A (long) day in the life of a professional swimmer.
And to think they do it all again the very next day. No wonder so many professional swimmers have invested in waterproof iPods. Being able to listen to music, in and out of the pool, throughout the day while training makes the day seem a little less stressful and helps keep you moving all day long.
How do you make it through a long day of training? Tell us in the comment section below!