I hate swim.


Leah Dragmen

Leah Dragmen posing with her team.

Leah Dragmen, Co-Editor-In-Chief

I hate swimming. Don’t take my hatred lightly. I really do dislike my own sport. All anyone ever hears out of my mouth are the disservices swim has done to me. Trust me, this sentiment is shared among pretty much every single person who has ever participated in this heinous sport. But why is this? I’m pretty sure I have it figured out. Let’s analyze a comprehensive list of all the swimming-related atrocities that cause us all to hate a sport we’re supposed to love. 


Let’s dive into the most dubious aspect of swimming: the practice schedule. 


Yes, other sports practice every day, and some even practice twice a day as well. Not to overshadow the hard work of other athletes, but there’s nothing comparable to feeling like you are drowning for three hours straight. The full-body torture is ruthless.


The schedule is go, go, go all the way until the last regular season meet with no stopping along the way. And I mean it, you will never be off for more than one day, because the more time you spend outside of the pool the worse your endurance and strength are when you begin practice again. 


We start at the end of October and swim consistently until mid-February. However, this four-month obligation does not include pre-season and summer training. 


Conveniently, the middle of the season happens to hit during Christmas break. Now, most students are encouraged to use the winter time off to relax and recharge for the second semester. For swimmers, that is a silly notion that cannot be achieved. Practice is every day, twice a day, totaling 30-plus hours in the pool throughout every week of break.


In case you were worried, we only get Christmas and New Year’s off, nothing more. If that is not pure torture then I don’t know what is. 


The time commitment alone can make you lose all motivation to accomplish anything, so imagine how tiring it feels to be burning approximately 1500 calories a day. 


Now you may think that’s only two weeks out of a four-month season. But don’t worry, it gets worse. Two times a week we have the privilege of waking up at five a.m. to jump into an ice-cold pool before going to school itchy and smelling like chlorine. It seems like it would wake you up, right? No, I can assure you it does not. Instead, it will put you to sleep in every single class for the rest of the school day. 


Furthermore, swimming will drain your bank account too. Fancy tech suits that can be worn in postseason meets can easily cost $300 if not upwards of $500. That’s right, a piece of fabric will run a hefty fee. Many would assume something that costs so much would last for a whole high school swimmer’s career. Nope, you’d be wrong. Tech suits are only supposed to be worn around four times before they become ineffective. They’re durable at least, right? Again, nope. By just stretching it the wrong way while putting it on, you can easily rip a seam. It sounds like there are no redeemable qualities to these money pits. Except that they are the biggest placebo effect to ever exist. Last year, my $300 piece of fabric somehow translated to me dropping eight seconds in my 200 freestyle race. So, maybe it was worth it?


At this point, I’m assuming you’re expecting me to conclude this hate piece with one last body blow about how swimming is the worst sport ever created. But that’s incorrect. 


I wrote the first portion of my article around mid-swim season. Now I’m revisiting to edit, but it feels wrong. I swam one last meet—districts—with this year’s seniors. Hugging them goodbye, after our final bus ride back to Hoban, made me realize how much it means. Yes, all swimmers are huge advocates for hating their own sport. But something needs to be said about the good side of toiling in a pool for hours. 


Most swimmers have been stuck in the trap for years and years. For me, it’s been 10, and throughout all this time, we’ve complained a whole lot, but we’ve also met so many people who make swimming bearable and on occasion, even fun.


With that, it only feels fitting to revoke my hatred because through this sport I’ve met my best friends. I’ve made the best memories. So for that reason, no matter how hard I try and no matter how many times I say it, it will never be true. I will never hate swimming. 


Thank you to all of my swim friends from over the years, and this high school winter season specifically, who have taught me to love the sport I once hated.