Mentality shapes reality

Mentality shapes reality

Being a swimmer has always defined me as a person. Swimming shapes not only my daily schedule, but how I interact socially and how I define my personal values.

Summer swimming especially dictates daily life, with two practices a day and yardage maxing out at 10,000 yards. To say the least, a swimmer needs to have goals to be motivated.

My coaches, knowing how important goals are to swimmers, asked us to set goals for the future, both near and far. Many of my friends were driven to reach specific times or qualify for prestigious college teams, whereas I really didn’t know.

Again and again I tried to be motivated by time-oriented goals, and over and over I failed to feel a drive to attain them. Understanding this in myself, I then attempted to reach out to various colleges and find one that could help get me back to my motivated self.

Successful in first reaching the coaches, I started to talk to them and get excited about all the possibilities of college swimming and beyond. I became ecstatic for the opportunity to swim with many other competitive swimmers from around the country.

Yet it seems, in my excitement, that I was blind to the amount of time in which I had until I could compete in college swimming. Realizing this after a week of incredible effort, my spirits plummeted. I questioned how I could even still swim for another year before college.

Sensing the conflict within me, my coach reached out to me to talk during practice. He helped explain how you can have long term goals, but the things that get you through the struggles of everyday are the interactions between your fellow swimmers and coaches, as well as the principles you learn and exhibit when faced with the difficulties of swimming.

Since that conversation I have been happier both in and out of the pool. I looked to my teammates for help in getting through hard sets, while leaning on my coaches for support in how to approach what swimming means to me as a person. By changing how I thought about swimming, I was able to transition from viewing it as an obstacle, to something of great opportunity.