The PGA Tour (that's golf for those unaware) used to have this slogan a few years ago entitled, "These guys are good". It was basically a nice way of telling people who THINK they can golf, that as easy it may look on television from the comforts of your living room couch, this is NOT easy, and our guys are professionals. I cannot play golf so I couldn't vouch for the accuracy of that statement, but I know folks who play, and they tell me all the time how difficult it is to master the sport.
There needs to be a similar disclaimer flashed on the screen before Olympic swimming.
The past three days I have been watching Olympic swimming, and I have been feeling quite inspired by the likes of Michael Phelps and Kate Ledecky. I'm not a competitive swimmer by any means--in fact I just learned to swim in 2009--but I'd like to think that with each passing day, my form, speed and endurance are approaching Olympic levels (they aren't). This morning was the first time I've been in the pool since the Olympic competitions started on Saturday, so I couldn't wait to get in there and prove my theory correct. Mind you, I had just played 3-on-3 basketball about 12 hours earlier so my arms and legs felt like I had anvils tied on them, still I just knew I could be a world beater in the pool.
I typically swim a mile in the morning, which doesn't lend itself to swimming like a sprinter. I swim at a nice measured pace, and then I try to pick it up the last 200 meters or so. But this morning I acted like a jackass, and immediately started swimming swiftly with my heavy ass arms and legs. After 150 meters, I felt like I wanted to stop, but I convinced myself I was not a quitter. After 400 meters I was exhausted, my pace had slowed significantly, and I had serious doubts about how long this swim was going to last. I tried to blame it on the basketball I had played 12 hours earlier, but that was a horseshit excuse, I just forgot that my name is Rashad, not Michael Phelps. Usually when I'm struggling in the pool, I created a false rivalry with someone else in the pool to push myself. But the only person in the pool was elderly woman who looked like she was rehabbing her legs or something. She was swimming slowly and she damn sure wasn't thinking about challenging me.
Eventually I got myself together, took a deep breath and finished my mile swim in my normal pace. I was completely drained (which is why I'm sippig coffee right now) and my arms and legs are still heavy and sore. Now that I'm four hours removed from that experience, I can honestly say I got a damn good workout. I also can say that those swimmers train for months and months, at the expense of their jobs, friends, family, girlfriends, sex, etc. I'm just a brother trying to work, be a dad/husband, have lots of sex, and keep my ass in shape by running and swimming--clearly not the same thing.
Those guys and girls are good.