At some point all seasons end. And as we look back on this point what do we feel; how do we assess where we are; what comes next? Some of our swimmers are competing in college conference championships this weekend. Some will move forward to NCAA championship meets. Some will not. Our club swimmers are at their "last chance to qualify" meet for the March Junior Nationals in Orlando later this month.
In each case the severe nature of our sport is in plain view; either you make your "cut" or you don't. Either you move on to the next level of competition or you go home and back to work for the next training/racing block.
At our team meeting during dinner tonight with one day to go in our pursuit of Orlando cuts we reminded everyone of three things. While some made cuts this weekend and some didn't and some have another shot or two tomorrow we said the following:
If you missed it, is ok to be disappointed but not discouraged. Discouraged means literally a lack of courage and no one on our team striving for higher standards lacks courage. Disappointed perhaps; discouraged - never.
As each swimmer gets closer to their own personal zero - the fastest possible speed for them - it gets more difficult to whittle time off the watch. No one will ever swim the 100 free in zero seconds. Yet someone will swim it faster than has been done so far in history. Each of us has our physical limits. The trick is to get all the way to that point and savor the pursuit.
Finally, this pursuit is what makes us as coaches and you as swimmers feel so very much alive. It is important to remember to be grateful and at the same time realize it is important to ask for more.
We asked each team member tonight to be grateful and ask for more. We are doing the same tonight as coaches. We hope you will join us as you pursue excellence in your chosen field, on your chosen path.