How to become an Olymipc Swimmer
By: Amaris B
So you want to be an Olympic swimmer? These might be some questions you are asking: How do I get to the Olympics? How do I become an Olympic swimmer? What times do I have to make? This article will answer those questions and many more, and tell you how to reach your goals of becoming the Olympic swimmer you have dreamed of.
The first step to becoming an olympic swimmer is to start swimming! You could join a local swim team with your park and recreation department, school, YMCA, or a USA Swimming club.Most teams will have different levels based on swimmers ages, skills, and speeds. As you improve, you will advance to keep you challenged - and to keep you improving.Some swim programs specialize in younger or novice level swimmers, then suggest you move to a different team when you reach a certain level. Others are set-up as "cradle-to-grave" programs, offering learn-to-swim, novice competitive, advanced competitive, novice comand, adult lessons or practice.You need to make the FINA “A” time standerd.The “A” time standards are the way FINA controls the entries into the Games. In order for the USA to have two entries in each event, both athletes must have the “A” time standard. “A” time standards can be found on fina.org in late February.To make the USA Olympic Swimming Team, a swimmer must finish first or second at the USA Swimming Olympic Trials Swim Meet and they must be a US citizen. People think you have to be top two at trials to make the Olympic Team. In reality, the top two in each event only go to the Games based on the number of double qualifications each athlete has. The first thing in selection is the winner in each race and the top four in the 100 and 200 free. Because they are only allowed 26 athletes per gender on the team.The next thing you have to do is be the highest world-ranked athlete who finishes second at Trials. If all second place finishers are taken, the next highest world-ranked athletes who are 5th in the 100 and 200 free are selected, and finally the 6th place finisher.
Day to Day Life of an Olympic swimmer
“There’s not really a “typical” day for me, since I travel and have other projects that switch up my routine a lot. But when I’m home in Florida I get up at about 6:45 and walk my dog. Then I get my 5-year-old daughter up and feed her, then head off to practice. I start swimming at 8. I’ll swim anywhere from an hour to an hour and 45 minutes. Then I’ll do some weights and sometimes resistance [work] for a while followed by lunch. After that I do about two hours of Ki-Hara Stretching. I also try to fit in some rehab for my injured knee. Then I head home and pick up my daughter from school and we have dinner. I get to sleep at around 10”- Olympic swimmer Dara Torres. A swimmer’s diet is very important for them to have a good race. Eating carbohydrates such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat milk increases the glucose levels in a swimmer's body. The body relies mainly on glucose for energy, especially during periods of intense physical activity. Glucose provides energy for the nervous system and controls your body's use of fat and protein as energy sources. Your body uses the glucose from carbohydrates first for energy, making carbs the most important part of an Olympic swimmer's diet. One secret of swimmer Michael Phelps' amazing performance in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing was consuming as many as 12,000 calories in one day, but Olympic Swimmers burn about 2,870 calories a day. Other than the fame and craziness an olympics swimmers life is pretty normal.
Professionals in the Field
Olympic swimmers swim a lot (duh), they train for two hours every day swimming 5,000 meters and up to 12 miles. Olympic swimming takes place in a 50-meter swimming pool with at least 8 separate lanes, one for each swimmer. The lanes are separated by a wave absorbing lane line or lane rope. The pools are deep - 5-feet or deeper - and have a variety of high-tech features that minimize turbulence for the swimmers. Each race starts from the starting blocks, a raised platform at one end of the pool. Being a professional swimmer means you need a coach and your coach is your biggest weapon: “I can’t push myself as far as my coach can push myself; I’m going to stop when I feel pain, and they’re going to expect something more,” Hardy said.
Becoming an Olympic swimmer takes time, effort, energy, and a lot of strength, but if you get there it will be worth all that time, effort, and energy. All it takes is motivation and never giving up and you will get there. “Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think”-A.A. Milne