Improvement (Day 188)

I didn’t start this daily swim challenge in order to become a better swimmer or to accomplish a big swim goal. I did it in order to do something I love every day; something that makes me feel good, that improves my mental and physical health. But regardless of whether or not it’s my intention to become a better swimmer, swimming every day is bound to make me a better swimmer. At least that’s what I tell myself, but some days it’s hard to tell. 

At Adult Swim today I watched myself get lapped over and over both by swimmers who swim all year long as well as by those who only swim in the summer at the lake. I felt a bit discouraged. Why am I still so slow? 

I reminded myself that going fast has never been my jam. Whatever the activity, if the measurement of success is speed, I will fail. But luckily there are other barometers and when I think about my swimming in different terms, I can see improvement. I’m stronger. It’s easier to move through the water efficiently and with ease. My endurance is mighty. After swimming for the hour of Adult Swim, I feel as if I could keep right on going for another hour.

And, yes, I’m even a little bit faster. I may still be the slowest person in most swim crowds, but I’m faster than I used to be. This year I can complete the 2,000-meter sets in the hour of Adult Swim and last year I couldn’t do it once. 

(I asked my venerable coaches Hazel and Sam to take some pictures for me during practice and here are a few of the dozens of images I found on my phone after:)

I love these kids.

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