15 Things Swimmers Are Tired of Hearing

By Allison Peters, Swimming World College Intern


  1. I never see you. You’re always at practice.
    I’m not always at practice…just about 10 times a week with sessions of dryland, lifting and stretching thrown in. Okay, so I’m there a lot, but it’s only because of how dedicated swimmers are to their sport. How many other sports do you see people training this much, morning, noon and night, just to cut .1 off their time at championships?
  2. You smell like chlorine.
    That might have to do with something about your first complaint about how I’m always at practice. The plus side to this is that I’m practically immune to the smell! So while it may disgust you, I don’t even notice it anymore (until I get into my car after practice and all the windows fog up).
  3. How many laps do you do at practice?
    I never know how to answer this question. Sometimes I forget that swimmers have their own lingo – which doesn’t include counting laps. I mean, who else would understand, “Well we did three rounds of seven 25s, variable sprint.”
  4. So are you as fast as Michael Phelps?
    Nothing annoys me more than this question. If I was as fast as Michael Phelps, don’t you think you would know? I would’ve already been to multiple Olympics and have tons of Olympic medals to my name. I’d also probably be on the cereal box you opened for breakfast this morning.
  5. Swimming isn’t a real sport.
    Okay, scratch what I said before. THIS is what annoys me the most from a non-swimmer. In swimming, you can’t take a break, or call a time out or ask for a substitute! Don’t tell us our sport isn’t a real sport when we train year-round, in and out of the pool, getting thousands of yards in while non-swimmers sleep, all in hopes of shaving tiny fragments of time off at championships.
  6. Advice from Grandma after a swim: I thought you swam well, but you need to kick more in your breaststroke.
    I know our family is just there to support us every meet. Mine literally comes every chance they can make it to see me swim. Sometimes though, especially after you swim badly, the last thing you want to hear is your grandma’s critiques on your 100 breaststroke that really don’t even make sense.
  7. If you swim, you must have a six-pack.
    Although I don’t really think anyone would mind having this assumption made about them, it is a pretty odd thing to just randomly ask in an everyday conversation.
  8. Do all the boys HAVE to wear Speedos?
    Let me start off by explaining that Speedo is a brand, not the name of the suit. It’s really called a brief. They don’t have to wear them, but a lot of them do prefer to.
  9. Let’s race!
    The number of times I’ve been at a pool party in my two-piece bathing suit and someone has challenged me to a swim-off is infinite. I’ve never lost – I always carry an extra pair of goggles with me.
  10. Do you wear the cap to keep your hair dry?
    If that is the purpose of a cap, mine is broken. We wear them to keep hair out of our eyes. Also, it stops boys’ hair from turning to straw or blondes’ hair from turning green.
  11. What’s your time in your swim race?
    You need to be more specific. There are about 14 races you could be asking me about.
  12. Do you eat 12,000 calories a day like Michael Phelps?
    Phelps was interviewed saying he only eats about 8,000 to 10,000 calories a day while he’s in training. I’d love to say I could gorge myself with that many calories as well, but I’d probably sink to the bottom of the pool during practice.
  13. Why do you have to shave before meets?
    Shaving is a normal thing that every swimmer has to do before championship meets, even the boys. It helps you feel like a bullet shooting through the water and gets rid of extra resistance.
  14. I woke up so early this morning, 9 a.m.!
    Please don’t tell me this. I’ve already been up for almost four hours when your alarm was just starting to go off.
  15. I don’t know how I’m going to get all this homework done, I have so much to do!
    Try fitting in four hours a day worth of training, class and extra curricular activities and see if you can get all your homework done too. I think being a swimmer has given me an amazing sense of time management so I’m able to get everything done and get to bed. Though that doesn’t mean it’s a piece of cake to fit it all in.