Living a Balanced Swim Life

Living a Balanced Swim Life

With the new season just around the corner, and it, potentially, being a big one I thought it was important to share this with you.

This is a copy of a post by Will Jonathan//Contributor  | Wednesday, August 14, 2019

The link to the original article is here

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teamlarne

 

It was Allison Schmitt, an 8-time Olympic medalist for Team USA, who said a very important swim-quote that I think all swimmers need to really listen to and absorb. She said:

“Swimming is such a small part of life. Yes, I love it. But at the end of the day, it’s just a sport. Whether you finish first or last, you’re still loved by the same people, and you still are who you are.”

A perspective like this isn’t always very-well accepted within competitive sport, even swimming. The common perception is that, to be successful in something, one must treat the sport as if it were their very existence—the sole reason they wake up each day and the absolute most important thing in their life. It has to be an obsessive passion. While having a passion for swimming is certainly an important, and even necessary, ingredient to excel at it and do well, even too much passion is a bad thing.

Psychologically, there are two different forms of passion. And, these two different forms of passion comprise what is called The Dualistic Model of Passion. Let’s take a look at these two different forms of passion, and we’ll start with the first one:

Obsessive Passion – When your passion for swimming becomes all-consuming. You have difficulty pulling yourself away from the sport, and your identity as a person is tied to your swimming. It is fueled by external motivators and an unhealthy desire for external success/material success.

Scientific research on the effects of obsessive passion are well-documented and thoroughly studied, and have yielded the following results:

  • Tying your sense of validation and self-worth to the results of your swimming.
  • Becoming more passionate about the results of your swimming rather than the pleasure and fulfillment of swimming itself.
  • Developing an extremely harsh and debilitating self-criticism towards yourself and your swimming.
  • Failures & setbacks are seen as personal attacks against you rather than simply obstacles to overcome.
  • An unhealthy, never-satisfied attitude for more; more medals, more records, and more validation.
  • A far-greater tendency to consider cheating or other forms of unethical behavior in order to attain external success, no matter the cost.

Obsessive Passion is passion taken too far, and it can lead to these kinds of negative side-effects that breed an extremely unhealthy mindset and will inevitably lead a swimmer down the path to physical and mental burnout and walking away from the sport.

However, as I mentioned previously, passion is still a necessary ingredient for performing well and succeeding. So, how does one have a passion for swimming, while at the same time, not allow that passion to devolve into something that’s all-consuming? By cultivating what is called Harmonious Passion:

Harmonious Passion – When your passion for swimming is in a healthy, balanced state. You’re able to disconnect yourself from the sport when necessary and your identity/self-worth as a human being isn’t tied to your swimming. It is driven by internal motivators and healthy desire for both external success and internal fulfillment.

Just like with Obsessive Passion, the effects of Harmonious Passion are thoroughly studied and well-documented, and yield the following results:

  • You become more interested in the joy and satisfaction the activity of swimming itself gives you rather than the external rewards it can give you.
  • You increase your overall levels of happiness, health, and overall life satisfaction.
  • You’re much more likely to continue in the sport over a prolonged period of time and are far less likely of experiencing physical or mental burnout.
  • You experience greater internal fulfillment from your growth and improvement as a swimmer.
  • You’re able to voluntarily pull yourself away from swimming when necessary and have a life outside of swimming.
  • Your sense of self-worth and personal validation is not tied to the results, rewards, outcomes, or goals you achieve or don’t achieve in swimming.

THIS is the kind of passion you want to have as a swimmer – the kind of passion that gives you the emotional drive and commitment to perform and succeed, while at the same time, providing the mental and physical balance you need to maintain a healthy, happy mindset and not burn yourself out.

If you think your passion towards swimming is a bit too all-consuming and leaning more towards the obsessive side of passion, here are some things you can do to help foster a more Harmonious Passion towards your swimming moving forward:

1. Use Positive Language Towards Your Swimming.

We’ve all heard phrases like, “Ugh, I HAVE to go to practice at 6am tomorrow morning” or “I HAVE to get my dry-land work in this afternoon”. It may seem like no big deal, but the language being used here really can make a difference. When you tell yourself you have to do something, it gives off the implication that you’re having to force yourself to do it against your will, and the moment swimming starts to feel like something you have to force yourself to do rather than something you want to do, you’re in trouble.

Instead, be mindful of the kind of language you’re using when talking about swimming and try to transition to phrases that are more positive and empowering. For example, instead of saying, “Ugh, I HAVE to go to practice at 6am tomorrow morning”, switch that to, “I can’t wait to go to practice tomorrow morning” or “Tomorrow morning, I get to go to practice and continue improving at this sport I love.” That’s a BIG difference, and will allow swimming to feel like something you choose to do rather than something you feel like something you have to forceyourself to do.

2. Leave Swimming At The Pool.

I cannot stress too much just how important this one is. It’s so easy, when you’ve had a bad day at the pool, to drag that home with you and let it have a negative effect on the rest of your day, and sometimes beyond that. As a consequence, you suffer, the people around you suffer, and your levels of happiness suffer. When you’re done with swimming for the day, especially after a really bad day at the pool, always make sure to leave your swimming at the pool. Disconnect from it as best as you can and don’t carry that baggage home with you. When a practice or meet is finished for the day, leave it behind you and allow yourself to enjoy the other areas and people of your life outside of the sport without constantly dragging swimming around with you.

3. Have Other Hobbies & Do Other Things That Aren’t Swimming Related.

One of my swimming clients loves to read about ancient history in her time away from the pool. One of my other swimming clients loves to go kayaking when he’s not swimming. Justin Ress, a US National Team member and former swimmer for NC State, loves to play Fortnite and stream it on Twitch. Caeleb Dressel, one of the best swimmers on the planet, loves to play Mario Kart! Whatever it is you love to do, it doesn’t matter. It’s simply important that you have something outside of swimming that you can enjoy doing and allow yourself to use as a mechanism to help you disconnect from swimming. This helps to keep your motivation levels sustained and does a really great job at staving off burnout.

Love your swimming. Be committed to it, be disciplined, be dedicated, and give it absolutely everything you can. Be passionate about it. However, balance those out by always remembering the following: You are not a swimmer. You’re a human being that swims. That distinction is very, very important. You’re not just a swimmer. You’re a valuable, amazing human being that does swimming. As Allison Schmitt said, it’s an important part of your life, but it’s only part of your life.

 

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Season 2019 – a snapshot

Its been a while since I put anything on this……but its gonna be a big year and I thought I’d get back on it again. So to get us up and running this is a copy of an article posted in Larne Times last week.

 

July 2018 and the focus of Irish swimming was firmly on the National Aquatic Centre in Dublin. Larne swimming club was no different to any other club.

It is safe to say that for the small regional club the meet didn’t go as planned. Team ambassador Danielle Hill dislocated her elbow in the warm-up on day 2 and was unable to compete. The team struggled to compete as their talisman was sent home.

Danielle would subsequently be told that she needed surgery, an operation that would mean no swimming at all for 4 months.

As the rest of the team got back to training in late August with sessions in Larne’s Tower Leisure Centre and essential part of the necessary training program. The staff and Councils willingness to facilitate the club is invaluable.

Danielle started on the road to recovery. The S & C team and physio in SINI (sports institute Northern Ireland) and the doctors at Ulster Rugby got to work rebuilding the elbow.

At Christmas, while many of their peers where relaxing this dedicated group gave up their holidays and went on a residential camp. Foundation movement skills, mindfulness, sports psych and nutritional workshops where the order of the day along with double swim sessions every day.

By January Danielle had started to swim a little, slowly and with some very basic movements but still – swimming. The squad rallied around her and helped to keep her moral high as frustration started to grow (and more than a little impatience).

A trip to compete in Lisbon and this group of young athletes started to galvanize as a team. Our #Teamlarne is more than just empty words, this group is a team in an individual sport, they support each other and push each other to exceed their own expectations.

At Irish Nationals in April – rehab complete and confidence high (despite a forced switch to the 50 free from the 100 back due to a potential weakness in the elbow) but with only 10 weeks of work, Danielle set a new Irish Senior Record in the 50 BC and lowered her person best in the 100BC but ultimately missed out in her bid to qualify for the world university games in the summer.

TEAM

The re-set button was pressed and the focus set on Irish Summer Nationals, a competition that the club has traditionally had around 6 swimmers competing in recent years. This year – 19 athletes travelled to Dublin, a signal that this is a club moving forwards in a big way.

Day one and up stepped Ben Woodside, 16, in the 100 breaststroke. The 1st swim of a meet can set the tone for the whole team and Ben didn’t let us down, breaking the Ulster Junior record – a fantastic swim.

BEN NATIONALS

Day two and Danielle stepped up breaking the Irish Senior Record in the 50 free and Ben went again in the 200 Breast taking a second Ulster Junior record. Day three and yet again Danielle steps up and smashes her own record in the 50 Back setting a time that would have taken a silver in the world university games and placed 11th in the world championships. There was still more to come on day 4 with both the 100 free and 100 back being Northern Ireland very own Iron Lady Danielle decided to race both, the 100 free say record 3 fall to Danielle breaking Sycerika McMahons 2013 record which had been set at the world championships. Incredibly, in a first for Irish swimming, Danielle set her 4th Irish Senior Record of the meet in the 100Back a record held by Aisling Cooney (another Olympian).

DANIELLE

Finals by James Strutt (in his 1st national event), Jamie Clements and Ellie Falls and a silver medal for the mixed medley relay team of Jamie, Ben, Ellie and Danielle rounded of the best national meet for the Larne Swim team.

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The support team surrounding this team is incredible, Nutrition from Julianne Larkin, the many S&C coaches utilising their expertise, the physios the sports psychologists and the coaching staff in Larne Swim Club working together to support each athlete to achieve their goals. Of course the facilities managers and owners are also a huge part of the success and need to be thanked, Larne Leisure Centre, Belfast Royal Academy, Crossfit Castrum, Peak Performance, Julianne Larkin Nutrition Sports Institute Northern Ireland and the University of Ulster.

Season 2017/18 up and running

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Its only the 2nd of October and already the competitive season is in full flow.

Last weekend the club got off to a winning start in the Provincial Towns League (PTL) in a home fixture against Ballymena Swimming Club. Then this weekend the 1st of Swim Ulster’s Development galas took place.

The range of swimmer taking part in these meets went from some competing in their first ever meet to Irish and Ulster Champions.

More important than the great club win and the list of personal bests achieved (and medals won) is the manor of the swims. I have been head coach for a little over 3 years and saw more skills to be proud of, and from more swimmers, than at any other meet so far.

The willingness of the vast majority of our young athletes to sacrifice the ‘splash and dash’ in favour of higher skills and a long term gain was incredibly pleasing. It is always great to see the efforts of our coaching team start to pay off.

it is still very early days in a very big season for our club but it is a fantastic start.

 

#keepitup

World University Games 2017

Every two years the sporting world get together to celebrate the summer universiade.

This summer the 29th univarsiade is being help in Taipei with athletes from all over the world travelling to compete for their country.

29th World Summer Universiade

Larne Swimming Club ambassador Conor Brines (a student in Queens University Belfast) has beenot selected for the Irish team.

The team travelled to Taipei on Monday 14th August for a week aclimitisation before competition started on Sunday the 20th.

Conor is contesting the 50 and 100 FLY.

The 50 FLY up first on the Sunday and what an introduction to international competition!! Conor, entered in 17th place, qualified for the semi final but only after tying for 16th place and having a swim off!

A consistent few swims on day one saw him finish 12th and just miss out on a final swim.

Not a bad start to his international career

Slovenian National Championships

Kranj – Slovenia

Club ambassador Danielle Hill made the trip to Kranj in Slovenia to compete for Ireland in the Slovenian National Championships.

A new experience for coach and swimmer with temperatures at 34° when we arrived and set to soar over the next 4 days. The program for Danielle over the 4 days was at least a familiar one with the 50 and 100 double in both Backstroke and Freestyle.

To say that the environment was a new experience would be an understatement, no swim down pool, no ledges, temp at 40° on evening of 1st final.

However the meet was exceptionally well run and the competition pool itself was absolutely perfect.

Over the 4 events Danielle won 3 Slovenian open titles and picked up a bronze. The highlight undoubtedly being the Irish senior Record in the 50 free in the last event of the week.

Danielle and Coach

Irish Age Groups Championships and summer open

Quite possibly the longest title for a Gala in the entire history of swimming 😕

A small team travelled from Larne to this 5 day competition in Dublin with only 7 athletes making the trip. 

#IAGSO2017

Day 1

Danielle Hill, 2 weeks out from her focus meet, is using this as an opportunity for some long course work and racing tough off no rest. The 200Free in session 1 was 1st, making the final but electing to put in a 4k  training set rather than race the final. There are much bigger fish to fry this month so watch this space.

The new format for this year say Mairead, Adam and Ben come down for 2nd session. All 3 racing 100BRS. Both Mairead and Adam putting in solid swims but it was Ben’s day with a huge PB in the heats to qualify for the final and taking a further full second off to claim the clubs 1st medal of the meet. 

 

Ben Woodside IAGSO2017 – 100BRS champion

Day 2 

Danielle once again got the session off to a good start with the 50free (an event she holds the Irish senior Record for). An easy qualification for the final followed and then a very impressive 26.2 unrested was enough to once again claim the Irish title.

Adam and Ryan both swam the 100 fly with Adam producing a personal best performance before completing a tough double with the 200 BRS. While Ryan produced his fastest morning swim just missing a PB time.

Cal had his 1st experience of the Irish Age Groups with his 1500 free and did himself proud with a swim right on his PB time.

Arguably the 2 best swims of the day came from Ben again. The heats of the 200BrS saw a huge 8 second best time to qualify fastest for the 14/15 final. Not content with that the final saw him take another 4 seconds off to claim his 2nd Gold of the meet. The time of 2:29 was also comfortably inside the new Swim Ireland National squad time for his age.

The club now has, potentially, 3 swimmers on the national program for the 1st time in a few years.

Day 3

Danielle was again 1st in the pool, the 50BC this time. The heat was saw her qualify in fastest position. The final in the evening and Danielle once again showed that she is the class act in Ireland in this event finishing in 29.0.

Adam, Ryan and Ben all contested the 200 IM with Ben progressing through to the final with another Personal Best performance. The final saw him improve once again finishing in 5th place.

Adam, recovering from tonsillitis, again had a tough double with the 100 Free to finish off his meet.

Day 4

A tough day for everyone with Danielle completing a double, the 100 BC & FS, Ryan in the 200 FLY and Mairead travelling down for the 100BC.

Danielle finished a very close 2nd in the 100FS finishing very fast and only just missing out on the Gold,  a 1st place in the BC almost making up for that disappointment. 

Ryan kept his best swim of the week for the 200FLY qualifying 8th for the final and producing a best time to finish 7th.

Day 5

With the focus on the Slovenian open in August, Danielle only planned to swim the heats of the 200 FLY and head home to finish off race prep. A 2:19 in the morning qualified fastest for the final in her fastest even heat swim – a very encouraging end to a tough week of racing.

Conor Brines made his 1st appearance of the week in the 50FLY and didn’t disappoint with a Gold medal taking the clubs total to 8 for the week (not bad with a team of only 7 athletes)

Only 4 more weeks left of the season
#HWAPO 

Swim Ulster Development Meet 3

On Saturday and small group of the clubs youngest swimmers took to the water on the start of their competitive swimming journey.
It was great to see 2 people racing for the 1st time👍
The purpose behind the development meets is to provide a shorter more accessible level as an introduction to competitive swimming. Skills are emphasised over time and sessions last about 2 hours.

The kicking races are an interesting addition to the program at this level and it’s good to see the need for a strong leg kick being emphasised (even if it doesn’t make for a great spectator experience) . And the ability to streamline is rewarded more than times in the medley events.
This is the first year Swim Ulster has tried to do this sort of format and there are a few teething issues but the principal matches our own club Development strategy of process driven coaching.
Anyway well done everyone who took part (i will get a full results list out soon) I was delighted with the progress being made and the skills on display.
🅿

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