Winning races does not always define success in swimming. While swimmers are expected to beat their competitors, they are also challenged to improve their times whenever their feet leave the starting block. Constantly racing against the clock can be a stressful reality for athletes who see every race as a time trial. To be truly great in this sport, swimmers have to look beyond their heat — they have to beat the clock.
This high-pressure environment is fairly unique to swimming, as the pool provides a level playing field for all competitors and the clock never lies. Unlike most contact sports, swimmers also don’t have the luxury of time outs or breaks. The lack of competitor interaction and referee interference can actually pile on the individual pressure. Indoor pools also remove variable weather conditions like wind, rain and current, which can impact the race times in other water sports. The absence of these in-game factors may make swimming more fair overall, but the pressure can be mentally taxing on your athletes.
What does this mean for swimmers?
Being the best in your event is not enough. It’s much easier to size up the competition and pace the race based on the perceived level of competition. Without specific goals focused on time, swimmers run the risk of sacrificing the record for the win. Setting and surpassing these goals should be a priority for every swim team.
Your success throughout the year should be tracked against the best of the best — that’s where a Natatorium Swim Record Boards comes into play. The seven-time Olympic medalist, Amanda Beard, summarized it best when she said, “I concentrate on preparing to swim my race and let the other swimmers think about me, not me about them.” Amanda is getting back to the idea that you should be challenging and pushing yourself to be the best and ultimately beat the clock.
Investing in a record board is one way to make sure your swimmers always know the time to beat and keep them motivated to race the clock every day. It is a call to action for swimmers to swim with the conviction of a record breaker.