Success in the Pool Belongs to Those Who Hustle

Success in the Pool Belongs to Those Who Hustle

Author’s note: A version of this article was sent to subscribers of the YourSwimBook newsletter. It’s being published here by popular demand. Enjoy, and if you haven’t already, subscribe here. It’s free and awesome.

Since 2012 I have published something like 500 articles across the interweb on sites like SwimSwam, in USA Swimming’s magazines, and had them appear on the IOC’s website, NBC Universal and more.

In 2015 they were read well over 2 million times.

Through all of this, through all of the resulting correspondence I have had with swimmers, coaches and parents there has been one common thread in nearly every email I have received.

It’s a variation of the following:

“If there is one thing I could do to swim faster tomorrow, what would it be?”

To which I would say…

  • Grow 17 inches.
  • Tape dinner plates to your hands.
  • Wait for someone to hand you the motivation you need to train your butt off.

Then again, that stuff all sounds silly.

But does it?

After all, how many times have you daydreamed about suddenly—and without having to work for it—being wildly successful?

Or fantasized about all the cool stuff you want to achieve in the water… sans the two-a-days and having to challenge yourself on a daily basis?

Hustle Hard

I’ve been just as guilty.

It’s natural to want all the goodies and accolades without the hard work. And this is understandable, we are literally wired to seek out the path of least resistance. Not wanting to work hard absolutely falls into this category.

But if you do want the records, the personal bests and the hysterical success, then if I had to pick one thing that would help you swim faster tomorrow…

Just one thing…

It would be to accept that you are going to have to hustle.

And here is why accepting that you are gonna have to hustle will work beyond your wildest imaginations to make you a faster swimmer (and also crush whatever goals you have when you aren’t water logged)—

The hustle is…

  • An unwavering commitment.
  • It’s a tidal-wave of deliberate, aggressive action. It’s the “rage to master.” It’s a refusal to wait, to sit, to accept anything but forward movement.
  • It’s leaning forwards into the wind, jacket flapping like one of them goofy weather reporters in a typhoon, and stepping forward, step by step, inch by inch, no matter how vicious the resistance.
  • It’s a violent and ceaseless determination.
  • It’s adaptability. It’s the willingness to try new things. It’s the humility to know what doesn’t work and to retool and rethink.
  • It’s like water. Fluid, unstoppable, and no matter what you put in front of it, the hustle will find a way around, under, above, or through it. It’s inescapable. It’s pre-destined.
  • While the rest look for shortcuts, for tricks, for hacks, high performing swimmers lean on the hustle.
  • It is allergic to excuses. It swats aside procrastination. It simply doesn’t have time for it or them.
  • It doesn’t hope or wish, or dream or fantasize. It gets down to work and busies itself with stomping down harder on the accelerator.
  • It willingly takes responsibility. Appreciates accountability. And holds itself to a higher standard.
  • It quite literally feeds off of the doubt and cynicism of others.
  • It recognizes the inescapable fact that no one is going to come along and hand you what you want. There is no back up. No genie in a bottle waiting to be stumbled upon.

Success in the pool belongs to those who hustle.


No matter if you are gifted with those dinner plates, have Phelpsonian amounts of talent and five Eddie Reese’s in your corner.

When you understand that you and you alone have got this…

That you have the power to be the swimmer you want to be…

At that point you’ll fully grasp that…

The pool belongs to those who hustle.

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Olivier Poirier-Leroy Olivier Poirier-Leroy is the founder of He is an author, former national level swimmer, two-time Olympic Trials qualifier, and swim coach.

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