Success in Swimming

Adam Depmore

  Growing up in a structured household with both an older brother and a younger sister, the values instilled in us echoed the disciplined upbringing of our parents, who themselves were shaped by the military ethos passed down from our grandfathers who served in WWII and the Berlin airlift. Respect was paramount, ingrained in us through the habit of addressing our elders with "yes mam" and "yes sir," and attending church twice a week was non-negotiable.

Equally non-negotiable was participation in sports; it was a family tradition, albeit with the freedom to choose our own paths within the realm of athletics. For my brother, it was pole vault; for my sister, a blend of softball, cheerleading, and swimming. As for me, the pool became my arena, though the exact reason why remains a mystery; all I knew was the satisfaction of giving my all, pushing myself to the limits with every stroke.

I can't claim to have been a standout swimmer in terms of speed; if anything, my initial experiences in the pool involved more walking along the bottom than actual swimming, particularly during my first 100 IM. But despite my mediocrity in competition, I found solace and fulfillment in the training regimen. My parents, ever advocates of self-reliance and personal responsibility, refrained from coaching me directly, save for the occasional paternal nudge to kick harder, swiftly followed by an apology for overstepping boundaries. Their emphasis was on fostering independence and competing for intrinsic reasons, steering clear of comparisons among siblings or teammates.

My mother, with her compassionate heart, taught me the importance of service beyond the realm of sports, exemplified by our family's practice of hosting children from third-world countries in need of medical care. And my father's mantra, "comparison is the thievery of joy," remains a guiding principle, a reminder to focus on personal growth rather than external benchmarks.

As we approach significant competitions, I urge each member of our team to reflect deeply on their motivations. True camaraderie isn't about outperforming teammates but rather lifting each other up. It's about recognizing the collective strength of the team and contributing one's best self to the shared goal. Courage, as I've come to understand, lies in confronting our innermost fears and doubts, refusing to succumb to the allure of rivalry or envy.

In the pursuit of happiness and success, setbacks are inevitable. But each failure is merely a stepping stone, a lesson in resilience and determination. The path to victory may be winding, marked by numerous attempts and occasional stumbles, but as long as we refuse to surrender, our potential for success remains boundless.

Want to be successful in swimming? Keep these 12 bullet points in mind.

1. Continuous Improvement: For a swimmer to truly progress, they must strive to outdo their past selves. A rule of thumb: aim for a 10% increase in effort each year. Always seek to surpass the benchmarks set in previous seasons, pushing the boundaries of your capabilities with each stroke. This is what winning looks like.

2. Commitment and Dedication: By the age of 13, athletes must grasp their commitment to the sport. This entails full-time dedication, attending every practice without fail. Remember, participation extends beyond oneself; it's about contributing to a greater cause, finding fulfillment in service to the team and its collective goals.

3. Avoiding Burnout: Burnout is often the result of irregular practice attendance, flawed mechanics, or falling into negative influences. Consistent training, proper technique, and surrounding oneself with a supportive environment are essential safeguards against burnout.

4. Confronting Challenges: Running from challenges only empowers them. Embrace adversity head-on, for it is through overcoming obstacles that true strength and resilience are forged.

5. Unlocking Mental Fortitude: Our team serves as a beacon for those willing to confront their insecurities and fears. The pool serves as a transformative tool, unlocking untapped mental potential. Fast swimming becomes a natural outcome of this inner growth process.

6. Actions Speak Louder: Dedication to one's craft transcends mere words. Let your actions on the pool deck speak volumes about your commitment and resolve.

7. Choices and Integrity: Swimming epitomizes the interplay between choices and integrity. Push through self-doubt and exhaustion with unwavering determination, knowing that each stroke is a testament to your character. The path to success lies in resilience and steadfastness.

8. Embracing Failure: Growth thrives in the soil of failure and discomfort. Embrace defeat as an opportunity for growth, a chance to rise stronger and more resilient than before.

9. Pushing Limits: Fearlessly explore your limits; it's in the crucible of challenge that true potential is revealed.

10. The Value of Testing: Effective programming necessitates periodic testing. Championship meets are a test. Only by understanding our current limits through competition can we tailor our training regimen to maximize growth and improvement.

11. Eternal Quest for Improvement: With each goal surpassed, our sights are set on new horizons. The journey is perpetual, with no endpoint in sight. Embrace the pursuit of improvement as a lifelong endeavor.

12. Cultivating Love for the Sport: Genuine passion for swimming is cultivated through practice and self-appreciation. Embrace the journey of self-discovery and self-care; only then can one truly appreciate and love the sport for what it is.

Ultimately, our journey in swimming transcends the pool's confines; it's a journey of self-discovery, growth, and resilience. Embrace the discomfort, confront your fears, and emerge stronger, supported by a team committed to your development and success.


So, let us embrace the challenges ahead with open hearts and unwavering resolve. Let us champion each other's successes and support one another through setbacks. Together, we are an unstoppable force, destined for greatness. The future belongs to those bold enough to seize it.

Onward, with courage and unity, towards our shared triumphs.