1. You are much more capable of yourself than you ever thought imaginable. Looking back on your competitive days you will be amazed at the things you were able to do. All those hard swim workouts you at one time thought impossible. The 5k’s for time. The New Years Day 100 x 100’s. Two-a-days over Christmas break. Swimming teaches us that we are much more resilient than we give ourselves credit for, and that when challenged we will rise to the occasion.

2. The shared struggle. Swimming – or rather – the shared experience of endless laps and the shared glory of triumph – will create and forge bonds that will last a lifetime. Regardless of how you may feel about some of your teammates outside of the pool, you cannot help but respect them for being right beside you during every early morning practice.

3. That your new favorite song is only one workout away. The shortest distance between a song being a casual favorite to being on steady, unending repeat for hours is one single swim practice. How many times have you gone into a practice with a song in your head, only to sprint home afterwards to download it? If you’re like me, too many times to count. Nothing guarantees a song’s place on your “most played” playlist than singing it over and over in your head for two hours.

4. How to make a plan to achieve cool stuff. No matter where we fall on the scale of swimming ability, from age grouper to national champion, we each have things we’d like to do with our swimming. In order to do so, we pick a goal, make a plan, and get after it. Swimming is a perfect proving ground for learning how goal setting works best for each of us. There are fewer things more satisfying than having a dream, putting together a strategy, and then achieving it from start to end. On the way you will make working out a habit, and grow confidence in your ability to crush the things you set out to do.

5. Learning how to bounce back from failure. Setbacks and failure come in every size and shape. Injury. Illness. False start. Suit rip. Whatever the case, swimming shows us that not everything will go smoothly all of the time, no matter how well we plan. Via swimming we learn how to cope with the tough stuff, rejecting “rejection,” and ultimately making us more successful in the long term.