Seven Life Lessons Swimming Can Teach You

There’s more to swimming than early mornings and bad tan lines. And it’s not all about the medals and breaking records. Competitive Canadian swimmer Olivier Poirier-Leroy shares these 7 fundamentals that swimming will teach you about life.

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1.  Work hard for the things you want

There are no short-cuts or silver bullets. Hard work pays dividends both in the swimming pool and in life. Some goals take an inordinate amount of effort and dedication, but if you make working hard your talent, you will never go without success in the pool and in life.

2.  Life is just not fair

You know the type who never studied hard at school, but still gets an A grade? Well, you get the same in swimming and any sport. The gifted athlete that is just born with a perfect physique, but only comes to practice twice a week. In the long run, a consistent work ethic will always get you more places than natural talent alone.

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Kazan : South Africa’s Chad Le Clos reacts after winning the men’s 100m butterfly final at the Swimming World Championships in Kazan, Russia.

3.  Cope with failure and setbacks

As with the previous point the quicker we learn that life is just not fair, the more resilience we build to cope with setbacks when things don’t always go our way. 

Many times, the effort versus the reward ratio simply doesn’t add up. And in these moments, we get taken down a peg or two. These are the moments when the lessons are taught. They are there to teach us that we need to become mentally tough and resilient. To overcome and to remain humble.

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4. Being a swimming team makes everyone better

When there’s a common goal and a collective effort its almost as if your powers become superhuman. There is nothing more powerful than a team effort.

Olivier maintains: “One swimmer chasing greatness is powerful, but a group chasing greatness is unstoppable.”


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5.  It’s a process – even swimming 

This is a very profound life lesson. There is a huge difference between wanting something and achieving something. To smash your personal best time, you have to do more than dream about it. As in life in order to publish that book, you must do more than talk about it. You must adopt the daily routines and habits that will get you there. In other words, you have to commit to the process of becoming the swimmer you want to be.
Swimming shows you first-hand that when you master the process you master the goal.

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6.  You learn to discipline yourself

As you grow into your swimming career there comes a pivotal moment when you have to start relying on yourself to win the alarm clock battle. A time when you don’t get any more wake-up calls and your self-discipline is tested. It’s just you and the alarm clock and the warm duvet and you have to decide who wins the battle.

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7.  How you lose is as important as how you win

We can all agree that winning is great and losing sucks. But how we do both matters more than the outcome. You don’t have to like winning, but it’s so important to be humble in both victory and in a loss. You need to be a good sport and shake the winner’s hand. This behaviour speaks volumes of your character and sets a great example.

If you enjoyed this article then read this one about the refugee who is now a long-distance swimming icon. 


Original Article appeared here: authored by Olivier Poirier-Leroy

Author: Reporter @ Amanzi

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