When kids discover a passion for competitive swimming, jumping in the pool is about much more than just cooling down. From butterfly to backstroke, they’ll spend hours perfecting their technique. And, while not everyone can make it to the Olympics, swimming in a squad offers a medley of long-term gains that will set them up for life.
The student swim team at Nexus International School (Singapore) is a particularly lucky bunch. Over the past three years, husband-and-wife coaching team Ivan Bunakov and Larisa Mogutova have steered their squad to success on the Singapore school swimming circuit. They also recently organised and hosted the FINA World Cup Swim Clinic, giving Singapore school swim teams the chance to meet and learn from champion swimmers like American Michael Andrew, and Australian sisters Bronte and Cate Campbell. Here, Ivan rounds up five life lessons squad swimmers all learn that matter both in, and out, of the water.
Life has never been and never will be fair. Learning to overcome challenges (races, opponents, your own record) is the fundamental core of sports and the key to making it through.
#2 Every failure is a gain
You can’t always win, and when you don’t, you learn. Swimmers will sit with their coaches and run through every aspect of their race. They analyse, adjust and come back stronger.
#3 Always strive to accomplish your goals
Whether its winning or beating a personal record, the end result is what drives swimmers to work hard. The same is true in life. Whether it’s an upcoming exam or a personal project, having a sense of achievement will drive these goals.
#4 Hard work yields results
This is a no-brainer for athletes. They know that time, energy and enthusiasm does equal success. They’ve been through enough races to know the formula and see the results. It may not happen right away, but they know that hard work will pay off.
#5 People bring you happiness
Competitive swimming may be a passion and you may be very determined to win, but it’s the people you surround yourself with that make you happy. Without them, the win won’t be so sweet.
Check out the video from the 2017 FINA World Cup Swim Clinic below: