Top 10 Reasons Why Competitive Swimming Sucks
Before I start writing all these reasons why I hate this sport, let me say that I am a competitive swimmer, and these opinions aren't coming out of no where. I swim for my school in the winter swimming program. The season started in late November and ended mid-February. The season was 2 and 1 half months long, and without a doubt those were the hardest 2 and 1 half months of my life. We practiced daily from 3:30p.m. to 6:00p.m. For these 2 and 1 half months I had no life other than school and practice. I usually got home at 6:30, and by then I was so sore and tired I just went to sleep. Although the sport was very boring, tiring, and painful, it got me to the best shape I've ever been. I was able to do tasks that before would be hard or would leave me panting for air. Running was no longer a problem because of the aerobic workout I got daily.
One thing that not many people know about swimming is that it uses literally every muscle in your body. No other sport can do that, and therefore swimming is the most taxing on the body. After swimming for a couple of months, I started to form muscles in places that I didn't know muscles could form. I dropped 20 pounds and got larger biceps. My legs are bigger than ever before, and bigger than most runners I know. In contrast to all these benefits, the sport is terribly painful. No air, bad cramps, and terrible soreness of joints and muscles were some of the downsides. Here are the top 10 reasons why swimming sucks:
Now we've all seen the Baywatch guy running down the beach in his speedo, looking all muscular and happy. Well let me tell you this, speedos are not fun, nor are jammers. For those of you that aren't familiar, jammers are very tight pants that go down to above your knees. To get the least resistance in the water as possible, they need to be very tight, which results in a very squished crotch area.
No matter where you go you will end up having an ignorant coach. The thing that got me most angry was that he pushed us so hard, and in his words "Come on guys, this isn't so hard"
At that moment all I could think of saying was "You get in here and try, baldy!"
Im swimming your body is constantly pushing water. There is not a moment in a lap that your muscles are relaxed. As a result, cramps are a constant strain. The cramps that I'm talking about aren't your regular chest cramps. These cramps occur in the legs most often. Sometimes you can see muscle in the place where the cramp is bulge out and pulsate.
4. Swimmers Ear
Many times after a practice is over you shower and jump straight in bed, not noticing that you didn't shake the water out of your ear. If this happens a couple of time, you develop what is called swimmers ear. After water sits in your ear for a while, an infection forms. Normally swimmers ear last a couple of weeks(That's a long time!) and will need constant ear drops to heal. For the time that you have it, you cannot get in the water except to shower, and you cannot touch your ear because an instant shot of pain will go to your ear.
5. Swimmer Hair
Most competitive swim pools use a load of chlorine. In fact, last year my school used so much chlorine, they had to flush the pool because swimmers hair was turning yellow and falling out. They use a lot of chlorine because fungus is common in the corners of the pool. No one wants their face in fungus. Anyway, because of the chlorine, the moisture from your hair is completely sucked out and for the rest of the season you will have yellowing hair that is crusty and tends to fall out quite often.
A lap in most pools is 25 yards. Most swimmers can swim 50 yards in 30-36 seconds. Most runners can run that distance in 6 seconds or less. That gives you an idea of how much harder the sport actually is. In our hardest practice, our team did 10,000 yards, in intervals of 4,000 yards, 4,000 yards, and 2,000 yards. That equals up to 400 laps. The only break you get is between sets, and that's just to get a drink.
7. Slow swimmers
Now I wasn't anywhere close to the fastest on the team, but I also wasn't anywhere near slowest. One of the most annoying things in swimming wear ****y slow guys. They would always dive in first, even though they'd always get passed up by the faster ones. Passing someone in the water in a 5 ft wide lane is not easy, and many time I resorted to going under them, but that sometimes ended in me coming up and accidentally head butting them in the stomach.
Meets are what would be a "game" in swimming. 2 teams meet at a pool and send out their swimmers to compete. While your waiting for you event, you constantly have to pee because your suit is still wet from the warm up, and the anticipation kills you. You are also not allowed to eat anything prior to the meet, and can only drink water. Even the day before the meet, you are not allowed to eat meat because digestion is one of the processes in your body that takes a lot of energy out of you, and meat is difficult to digest.
9. Frigid Water
Most places you will go to swim competitively will have very cold water. There might be 3 reasons for this. 1. Their too cheap to buy a heater. 2. The swimmers like it(That never happens) 3. Coach thinks that the cold water will make you work faster.
The 3rd reason is my coaches philosophy. He said if it's cold enough it will make us work hard to warm up. What actually happened is that everyone stood outside of the pool, until coach brought the hose out.
To be further hydro dynamic, coach insisted we wear caps. Despite the fact that they did help, they also squished your head and ears. With a cap on your ears were constantly red, and you could not hear a thing.
Despite the pain I went through in season, I plan on swimming again next year. It is painful, but it will most likely get you to the best shape of your life.