Elite swimmers aren’t just medal-winning athletes; they are people who have a goal and the tenacity to pursue it constantly. They live a lifestyle that allows their sport to be all-encompassing and give themselves plenty of opportunities to succeed. They work hard, love what they do and have confidence that when they get in the pool, that is where they belong.
Break it Down
Now that you have decided to become an elite swimmer, and you have your sights set on your goals, you need to break down the time you have to practise into sessions, weeks and months so that you know you are on track. However easy it is to daydream about accepting that gold medal on a record-breaking sprint, you need to remember that practice is everything and focus on what you need to be doing now.
Work with your coach to set a training regime up and then stick to it. You will need to work on your stroke, your flip turns and your breakouts if you want to improve overall. This might sound tedious, but once you have mastered each part, your overall performance will improve no end. There are a whole host of training aids that will help you develop key area's that you need to improve. FINIS provide some of the best training aids on the market and are sure to have everything you need in the build-up to race day.
Build Confidence, Reduce Stress
There are some things you can control, and some things you can’t. You can’t do anything about the way your competitors swim or the conditions of the day or if you happen to have a cold or a strained muscle. What you can control is your attitude. You can control your kit, having faith in your equipment is vital, making sure your goggles aren't causing you discomfort, knowing your race suit isn't holding you back. Time and time again we see swimmers buying the same race suit on a regular basis because they trust it and wouldn't be happy in anything else. Some of the most common sites in the pool on race day is a Speedo LZR or an Arena Carbon suit, tried and tested by professional swimmers all over the globe.
You might not have won a race yet, but now that you are training like an athlete you have become an athlete. You are an elite swimmer. You are here, you are competing, you are going to give this race your all. As you work harder in your training sessions and you put kilometres on the board, you will gradually grow in self-confidence and believe in yourself. This is a vital part of the process and knowing that you deserve to be in this meet, is the first step to winning it.
Love the Process
Yes, winning a medal might be the end goal, but you have so far to go first that this can’t be the only thing you think about. If you only ever look into the far distance, you won’t give yourself the time or focus you need now to get there later. In other words, you have to love the process of building your training regime and improving your speed, technique and stamina just as much as you love attending the races.
When you love the training regime, you will also find that you work harder and improve faster too. This is because rather than focusing on the end goal, you are working to a smaller, more achievable goal that will make you feel successful. If you are constantly failing to reach your goal time, you will feel like a failure. If you decide to perfect your technique instead, you might find that you are more likely to reach that goal time by accident.
Set yourself up to succeed and you will.