How I Learned to Love Swimming...Again...



By Maddy Pesch (peschmaddy.wordpress.com)

February, 2016. I am jumping up and down and swinging my arms behind the starting blocks, preparing to swim my last collegiate championship race ever: 200 Breaststroke. In my head I’m saying, “Let’s go, Maddy. Give it everything you’ve got. This one’s for you. This is the last time you will ever swim as fast as you can!” I was ready. I was ready to give everything I had to that race, and I was ready to never swim fast again. Sure, I loved swimming. After all, I stuck with it for 13 years. But I was also tired and ready to move on. I was 22. My swimming ability had peaked…right? ...


After that race, however, I had to continue swimming because I found a new sport: triathlon. I didn’t have a clear idea of what my triathlon ambitions were beyond getting faster and having some athletic purpose outside the pool. That was the key. Outside the pool. I was going to get faster at triathlon without swimming. I would only swim enough to maintain my ability. I told myself there wasn’t any use working hard in the pool because my swimming had peaked. So I went through the next triathlon season in swimming retirement. Sure, I still swam, going for longer open water swims than ever before. Sometimes I even gave myself hard(er) workouts in the pool, but I never pushed myself to my limit. If I didn’t feel like it, I scratched the intended hard set and swam easy. The self-imposed freedom to relax on the swim was a satisfying respite after years of challenging workouts. I traded my intense swim training of the past for more running and cycling. I even modified my race strategy to fit my new style. During the swim, I would “just get through it,” saving my energy for the bike and run. That’s when my real racing and enjoyment would start. My triathlon still improved that season. My swim was “good enough,” and I succeeded through my growth in the other two disciplines.   READ MORE

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