Family and swimming: My relay race
When asked if swimming is an individual or a collective sport, the majority would place it into the first category. Is it really the case? Is swimming an individual sport? Is swimming a race of individuals or a relay race of the best ones?
Swimming and family are quite similar if you observe them from the perspective of a parent. In a family, mum and dad find the ways to make a certain situation into a proper solution for different personalities of family members on daily basis. The same goes with swimming, the coach is the one who knows each one of them as individuals and knows who can be expected to give the best effort for the benefit of the team in the relay race. At the end of the day, when the «family» gathers at the table or next to the pool, the unresolved issues are resolved, both individual and collective ones. It is then when the plans for the relay race are made!
Swimming and family have the advantage of being both individual and collective «sport». These are the reasons:
Each relay race is another story: As family is a group of individuals, who are also part of the team, the same applies to swimmers who swim to win a medal, but who also put effort to make their team win the relay race. Namely, swimmers mostly swim individually, everyone for himself/herself, but are often part of a relay race, so apart from the individual, they also have the collective responsibility for the achieved results. Breathing as one is the goal of a good team and a good relay race.
Family above the personal interest: Each swimmer reaches a moment in the career when he/she swims for something which goes beyond personal. That’s «the family» and its relay race! A team swimmer is always flexible, ready to listen and put the benefit of the family, relay race, above the personal interest. A positive atmosphere, the team spirit in swimming, and the family are more important than the qualities of an individual. Having your team in mind and what’s good for it, and not only your personal interest and result. That is what makes a difference between a good and a topmost swimmer.
Adjusting the qualities: Every team member is encouraged to give his/her best. Without a partner in the training who would push you forward every day, it is unlikely that you will reach your full potential. A good swimmer is the one who knows how to adjust his/her own qualities to a relay race, family, and a good team is the one in which each one of the members has his/her own note in the system. And the final goal is the rhythm which will bring them to the final goal, the victory!
Prestige: Swimmers often swim faster in relay races than in their separate races, because they’re taking the last atoms of their strength to give their maximum for their «family» in the pool. A relay race gives a special feeling and adrenalin, from the moment the team appears at the pool before the race, a special announcement, the cheering audience.. you just can’t help but give 101% of your ability!
Communication is the key: There are disputes in a relay race as well as good and bad days, as both in the family and in swimming, but everything can be resolved with a good communication. Of importance for swimming and a relay race is to be honest, realistic to yourself, and observe which features you have and which ones you need to develop.
Perfect turn taking: Most often determines the winner. One millisecond of perfection in turn taking by swimmers brings an advantage in a relay race, a victory or a defeat, or even a disqualification. Special trainings and thousands of turn-takings in trainings make a perfect turn taking time. Family also learns on daily basis, how members can help each other and take each other’s turns, every time when someone is tired or «does» his/her part, the other ones take their turn, until the task is finished for the benefit of the entire family.
The winning stroke in the last one-hundredth of a second of each relay race, no matter who the hero is to touch the goal, is always the result of «the family»! And I can openly say that swimming is not an individual sport anymore, because there is «the family» standing behind each individual stroke. It is the key to reaching the wanted result in a relay race.
My relay race is my family. The team standing behind every word, picture, turn, jump in the Swimming Dad concept is my family. And at least once a week, we swim a mixed 4x100 relay race. We put inside all the good and bad things which took place during the week, which make our everyday life, and which make us learn and make us a stronger relay race team – family!
Do you consider swimming an individual or a collective sport?