In the wake of the excitement of the swimming at the Beijing Olympics it is interesting to see what some of the participants are doing, what path they are on if you will.
Some have definitely retired - or at least that is what they are saying now. Of course, Dara Torres has retired a couple of times only to have been reinvigorated by her passion for swimming and competing at the highest levels.
Others, such as Michael Phelps and Natalie Coughlin have said they will retire after the London Games in 2012. There was an interesting piece in Sunday's San Francisco Chronicle about what Natalie is up to these days.
And of course Phelps has had tremendous exposure lately. He has appeared on Saturday Night Live, 60 Minutes and this week was named Sportsman of the Year by Sports Illustrated. He is the only swimmer ever to be named to the magazine's prestigious award.
Then there is Ryan Lotche. At last week's US Swimming Winter Short Course Nationals he competed in four events, winning all four and posting remarkably fast swims. By his own account he did not swim for two months after Beijing and has been training only an hour a day since returning to the water.
While money is certainly a motivator for many of these swimmers we believe that their love of the activity is a main factor. Training and racing at high levels requires inordinate levels of commitment and not just of time. One must have a willingness to make sacrifices, pay attention to the details of training and stroke, nutrition and life style - the list is endless. Personal satisfaction drives nearly all high level performers.
It is wonderful to be involved in a sport that has both such compelling storylines and lifelong benefits. Enjoy your swim today, or your coaching, knowing that you are in fine company!