by Emma Gómez

Photo Michael Lyn

It might sound ridiculous but all swimmers have an opinion for the ideal practice time. Many believe that the nice cool morning air and sunrise viewing help practice move along. Others agree that the blazing sun and hot afternoon air are better and make the water more refreshing, hence a better practice. Some actually venture (at least one time in their lives) as far as to say, “Why practice at all?” Everyone’s different and so are the preferences.

Swim practice times aren’t chosen at random. Coaches always take certain things into consideration, such as other teams that use the facility, the time span they need to accomplish goals, and in the summer: thunderstorms. Coaches discuss this issue with each other to try to make a schedule that will work best for everyone. Or at least, that’s what they say!

Regardless of when practice is, swimmers are all expected to show up on time, prepared and ready to work hard. Attendance and dedication are important to getting what you want on competition day. Blah, blah, blah… (Btw, it’s true).

As a swimmer, I learned early on to filter what info to give my non-swimming friends when they ask what I’m doing over the summer, or this weekend, or after school. In all those cases, the answer is always: “Hmmm, Swimming.” I hesitate to answer because I know that it might sound a little bit crazy to them. Wait until I tell them that during the summer I’m up at 5:45 in the morning. Monday through Friday to be in the water at 6:30 a.m. Then I swim for two hours, come back home or volunteer at my favorite places, just to get ready to go back to the pool at 4:00 to swim/exercise for another two hours. Ok, we do doubles only three times a week, but you get the picture. On Saturdays, bright and early, we put in another two hours of work.

Even so we swimmers still fantasize about perfect times for practice, “Hmmm, maybe today I would’ve liked it a little later. Say, noon?” “How about a day off?” or a week?” and we all scream in our heads “I want to sleep!!!”

Most swimmers keep their thoughts to themselves but there is always this one person who has to speak up and complain. This summer, my practice time amounts to roughly 16 hours per week and during the school year I swim about 12 hours per week. Yippee!

Why do we do it, you ask? Well, besides the obvious: to get faster, to be better at our sport, swimmers do this for the same reason violinists and pianists practice 15-20 hours per week, artists spent most of their days in their studios covered in goo and messy colors, runners run 20 miles or more each week, singers sing for hours on end, and tennis players baked themselves in the sun day in and day out. We do it because it’s our passion and we love it.

I enjoy the early practice! It’s refreshing! But I know many of my friends don’t, and that’s cool. They still show up on time.

What time is your practice this summer? Do you like it or would you like it better if it were at a different time?



Florida Swim Network