5 Characteristics of a Successful Swimmer


1.Passion- Don’t just swim for your friends, or your parents, or because you just want to win.  You swim because you love it and you are passionate about it. If you truly love swimming, then it won’t seem like work for you, it will be enjoyable.  Aaron Piersol, Olympic Gold Medalist says it best “Find something you love, then it doesn’t feel like work.” Find your passion in your love of the sport.


2. Courage- Having courage helps you feel comfortable taking risks.  However, taking risks is not always easy to do because it can sometimes lead to failure, consequently causing criticism and self-doubt.  However, courageous athletes don’t preoccupy themselves with the fear of failure. They take the risks anyway and try everything they can to make sure the risk leads to success.  Bethany Hamilton, a professional surfer, says, “Courage doesn’t mean you don’t get afraid. Courage means you don’t let fear stop you.” Taking risks can be scary or swimming in a Championship invitational can be scary, and that’s ok.

Swimming aggressively in meets is one of the hardest things a swimmer must learn to do.  Standing on the block when it seems like all eyes are on you, is scary. Overcome your fear and compete with aggressive courage to swim the tough events, compete with the tough opponents and high pressure meets!


3. Vision- Having good vision means you literally have an image of what you want for the future and how you plan on getting there. It’s helpful to create a long-term goal for yourself, and then set smaller goals to help you work your way up to the long-term goal.

        Literally using visualization is a great tool to help with this.  You can use visualization in a big picture goal, as well as prior to and during competition.  Many Olympic athletes use visualization right before they compete, which helps them get focused on their competition. Missy Franklin, a four time Olympic gold medalist has said, “When I get there, I’ve already pictured what’s going to happen a million times, so I don’t actually have to think about it,” when arriving for competition.  Having vision for what you want in the future is going to h elp you develop the mindset you need to make that vision a reality.  

Want to swim in college?  See yourself there! Want to develop a fast turn, visualize yourself hitting it.  Want to swim through the wall at your finish, visualize a snapshot of that finish before you race. 


4. Resilient- Resilience means that you can bounce back after a mistake, setback or adversity.  A setback could be something as small as a false start, or a larger setback like swimming an entire season without dropping time.  Being resilient means you still believe you are going to succeed even after experiencing the setbacks. The old Japanese Proverb says, “Fall seven times and stand up eight.”  It literally means even if you face a challenge, don’t let it stop you. If you continuously experience setbacks, don’t let any of them stop you- just continue pushing through them.  There will always be setbacks but you need to co ready to face them head-on.


5. Confident- Focusing on all the good things about you and your abilities will help you stay confident in yourself.  However, if you dwell on past mistakes or shortcomings, then you won’t feel confident in yourself. You should know what your strengths are in your game and allow them to give you confidence. You should know what your strengths are in your events and allow them to give you confidence. Make an effort to see mistakes and shortcomings only as learning opportunities, and not as negatives that bring you down.