There are lots of different ways to measure how much you value a teammate.
Whether they will let you have a sip from their water bottle. Borrow a pair of goggles. Or be the constant and dependable driver back and forth to practice.
But over the course of a season we don’t just learn all about the personal lives of our teammates between reps and sets, we also piggyback some of their training habits and behaviors.
If the kids in your lane are all pulling on the lane rope during kick sets, you are more likely to do so. If the swimmer you are paired up with is holding the breathing pattern during the main set, you are more likely to do so as well.
Although we like to think that the behaviors and attitudes of others doesn’t infect our own training or thoughts, it’s unavoidable that you won’t pick up some of what your teammates are putting down.
Understanding this, here are 6 teammates that you should make a point to spend more time with this season:
1. The Optimist.
Unflappable under duress, this swimmer will always stay positive, no matter whether it is rep 1 or rep 100. They are the ones cheering for you when you are bummed about swimming in the B final, and they are the first to congratulate you after a great swim. Regardless of what kind of lunacy coach has scribbled up on the whiteboard you can count on this athlete to bring positive energy to the workout.
2. The Workhorse.
This athlete takes pride in having an epic work ethic. Steady, dependable, the local workhorse is all-go, no-quit from the moment they strap on their swimsuit. They might not make it look very pretty at times, and heck, it might be downright ugly, but you know that they are going to give it every last ounce of effort.
3. The Lightning Bolt.
This swimmer, although they work hard, are prone to violent and sudden drops in time that befuddle even the coaches expectations. They can raise the bar very suddenly for the group, and as such, elevate what everyone think is possible.
4. The Technical Master.
This swimmer bangs out everything according to spec. From not pulling into the walls on kick sets, to holding the breathing patterns, to completing the full warm-down, this swimmer’s attention to detail infects your swimming as well, reminding yourself to always give a complete and focused effort in the pool. This athlete is a you that there is a lot of pride to be taken in completing the details and the seemingly benign aspects of your training.
5. The Team Manager.
They are the one that gets everyone together for team cheers. That tracks down the missing member of the relay team. That is corralling everyone to the team van so that the squad makes it to the pool in time for warm-up.
6. The Superstar.
Having someone on the team that is so good, so fast can be a blessing for those who seek to do great things in the water. Knowing how high the bar can be set, and seeing what it takes on a daily basis to make it happen can provide a humbling education on how excellence is attained. The Superstar forces you to raise the expectations and standards you have for yourself in the pool.
Although swimming is competed largely at an individual level, you train as a team, and as such, like a sponge, are going to soak up the good habits that the above teammates display on a regular basis.
Make a point to not only associate with these athletes, but to be that teammate as well.