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Swimming is an individual or team sport and activity. Competitive swimming is one of the most popular Olympic sports, with events in freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly.


I respect other sports and I believe every sport has their challenges, but I'm here to tell you about swimming challenges. Here we go, in my opinion swimming is the hardest, of course you'd say well ya you would say that because you are a swimmer (which I am), but it is SO DANG HARD. We don't do the easy back and forth pace non swimmers think we do, we do hardcore training... Always conditioning. Also competitive swimmers USUALLY, don't only do swimming during practice, we also have dryland which is like running, weights, plyometric training, abdominal workouts, etc. I saw a comment below that a runner said something like burning 1000-1500 calories in a practice, because no other sport burns that many. Haha buddy, we burn that in an hour. The reason is, swimming works your whole body at the same time. We aren't only working our arms/shoulders, but also our abs, legs, back, butt, and many more muscles ALL AT ONCE. I've seen so many kids throw up during practice, or they can't move at ...more

Yeah. I have state time in every stroke. And I went everyday to get it. Al my friends say it's easy. It is HARD. You can't be slow but you have to be commented You Need more insurance than muscle. But I go before school for it to work out and now I can bench way more.

Here's some questions for all you doubters :)
1. In what other sport do you break down if you don't achieve your goal by one hundredth of a second? In fact, in what other sport does that one hundredth even count?
2. In what other sport do you raise your heart rate so high every day that it passes your healthy maximum heart rate but you are told to keep going?
3. In what other sport do you use every single muscle in your body for every slight twitch of your body?
4. In what other sport do you train for at least 2 hours in the water and then straight after, get out of the water and train for another few hours on dry land?
5. In what other sport are you forced to do so many repetitive movements that your joints begin to break down at the age of 14?
6. In what other sport does your coach yell at you for breathing?
7. In what other sport do you constantly feel like your chest will cave in at any moment from holding your breath for that long?
8. In what other sport ...more

My whole family is made up of swimmers. I am the best according to age and skill because to get to the top, you really have to work hard. The Olympic swimmers are some of the best athletes since they put in so many hours of dedicated practice. This is not a sport where you can show up at practice and expect to get better. You have to try your hardest and physically wear yourself out. This sport requires more than 100% of both your physical and mental energy.

Swimming has taught me many things. Among them is how to set goals, and how to achieve them.

But what happens when you don't achieve them? When you lose? What happens when you miss your goal by a few tenths of a second?

You learn how to deal with disappointment, and this is the greatest lesson of all.

You get back up. You stand up tall. And you try it again. You tell yourself that you have to keep improving. Then you do better than you thought you could. Your lungs burn worse than you thought ...more

Damn right swimming is training non stop for hours on ends. I have 8 practices a week and NONE of them are easy! From the start it is hard. you think it is easy but you can't just say that when you have never swam competitive swimming. It is harder than Gymnastics, football, basketball, etc. I can tell you it is a mental and demanding sport that no other sport is. I swim and I have a bad shoulder injury that does not stop! Yes we get muscles pulled, cartilage damage in our joints, hurt backs, etc. I would love to take you to a practice on my varsity swim team and see you do the practice or even try and keep up. Gymnastics you do flips and dance and lift weights and look like small body guard. As where swimming you exercise every part of your body and it is tone and equally and tall and not one ounce of fat unless you eat crap, than that is your problem. Also being a swimmer you actually have to try and should start at 5 to be close to descent, not amazing descent.. wanna be amazing ...more

I have been swimming at high competition for many years and swimming is a tough but an amazing sport to do. Swimming is super demanding and it takes up a lot of time. People think that swimming would not be hard because you are in water and it doesn't look like you move very fast. But if you think anything like that then go try swimming for real. You literally use every muscle in your body to move. And on top of that while you are working your butt off in a 2-3 hour practice, you get no oxygen what so ever. And plus a swim meet lasts forever. They can last from 4-8 hours but they are worth it.

I guess people can underestimate swimming because yes, it is a very low impact sport, but don't think that you can get injured, because you can! I have torn a few muscles and I have heard of many people who have gotten tendinitis really bad too. Swimmers swim up to 2-3 hours once to twice a day and with a bonus of many hours on land so we can get stronger.

A swimmer propels ...more

What some people don't understand how hard swimming is! I totally respect other sports and I know for a fact that every sport has its difficulties, but I can't explain how much swimming hurts. Its literally hell. I am a competitive junior national swimmer and I HATE HATE HATE HATE it when people say "o ya I've done swimming its so easy, or its not a real sport." I guarantee you, you weren't really swimming. You were just doing stereotypical swimming laps backa and forth without trying. How about you jump up and swim a 400 I'm, 200 fly, 1650(mile) freestyle? I've seen so many kids break down during practice because it hurts so bad. I've seen countless kids throw up from over exhaustion and pure pain and agony. Swimming is the ONLY sport in the WORLD that uses EVERY SINGLE MUSCLE IN YOUR BODY ALL AT THE SAME TIME. If you are a real competitive swimmer you know, if you ask for extra rest or you stop during a race (which will disqualify you) you'll be known as a loser and weak ...more

I am 13 and have been swimming competitively for six years. I am at one of the highest levels on my team and one of the best swimmers. I have done gymnastics for five years and love to do both. After many years I do think that swimming is way more hard than gymnastics. Sure in gymnastics you could break a leg easily and it's hard to do the flips but I do find that swimming is harder. People don't think you can get hurt in swimming but they are wrong. You see, swimmers do workouts at home, in the pool, and also participate in land training. When swimmer's workout they use weights and equipment that could result in serious injury. In swimming you have to make sure your heartbeat stays under a certain rate and you have to drink water often to prevent injury. Also, swimmers have a higher chance of getting a concussion than gymnasts. Swimmers can also break their writs, arms, hands, or fingers by slamming them into the wall. I noticed that one of the comments said that swimming was easy, ...more

In swimming you have to master more skills then in any other sport, and if you don't it can cost you the race. It matters if you win or lose by.01 of second sometimes and its not just a individual sport, but a team sport too.

If your not a swimmer then you don't understand. We don't go to practice two times a day seven days a week just to float around on our back and splash each other. We go there to SWIM to learn to achieve to set goals to improve to practice to gain skill to do our best and to SWIM. No not your idea of swim, a swimmers idea of swim. Every muscle fiber is working. Your lungs are burning desperately for oxygen, your legs are cramping, your shoulders are hurting like mess, your goggles are foggy and filled with water and are squishing your eyes, your swim cat is digging into your skin but you can't stop, you won't. Because your doing it for your team, and yourself. Swimming is a lifestyle. It requires emended cardiovascular strength, muscle tone, endurance, and let's not forget mental strength. The things that keep you going to every practice, even when you have 3 tests and a final. Even when you know you will barely be able to walk. Swimmer need to be physically and mentally in shape. We ...more

So, is swimming easy? Everywhere I hear people tell me oh, our sport is way harder such as dance, soccer, volleyball, baseball, etc. I do understand gymnastics is hard, and I do give credit to the gymnasts. (Not the dancers or cheerleaders) we train 7-9 times a week, 4 hours of practice each session. We will do anything to drop.01 seconds in one race. We spend years just to do that. People say oh you can't get hurt in swimming. Oh, have you ever slammed your head into the wall and whacking your hand or foot into a hard solid lane line? Not to mention pulling muscles. I see that other sports have more injuries, but swimming has some too. We get up at 3 am everyday and that shows how dedicated we are. We swim 6 miles everyday and can do 50's under 26 seconds. Some people say they can do a 50 on 20, and not even Michael phelps can do that. Not to mention track people who say running is harder than swimming. It is way harder to move through water than thin air. We push ourselves until we ...more

Just a few short questions for the non-swimmer community.
1. Do you work out for 3 straight hours per day... Twice?
2. Do you do strength training for 3 straight hours per day, twice?
3. Do you also do cardio training for 3 straight hours per day, twice?
4. Do you have a coach who passive-aggressively tells you that you're going too slow so instead of being told to do better, you have to convince yourself todo better?
5. Do you risk hypothermia on a daily basis?
6. Do you cry during workouts, but have no choice but to keep going?
7. Do you experience the pure agony of lactic acid every day of the week?
8. Do you place all of your training into 25 seconds?
9. Do you compete next to someone every day until you barf?
10. Do you hold your breath for 2 minutes while strength training your entire body and simultaneously doing a cardio workout?

Ask yourself those questions. Then realize, that these experiences are every. Day. Meanwhile, a true swimmer ...more

Thank you for posting those questions. Hopefully people will realize how HARD swimming actually is.

In swimming you rely mostly on yourself, its you against everyone else. Even though your on a team its a personal game. No one else is going to help you. It is a physical, mental, and cardio game. Physically every muscle in your body must be in shape especially for the butterfly, and you have to be able to sprint long distances. You have no recovery time unless you do a flip turn and even then the only part of you that is resting is your arms. The hardest part though is teaching your body to go without oxygen. You must regulate your breathing to be normal even when your heart is racing so that you can go long distances without taking a breath otherwise you lose time, which is really important since you can lose by a .01 of a second. The practices are also insane and require much more than just a race since you have to keep up your endurance for the entire practice. I practice 2 hours 5 days a week sometimes more. In our practices you can end up swimming several miles mostly sprints. ...more

People say oh I know how to swim, and I ask them there 100 free time and they say, whats that? Only people involved in extremely competitive swimming know the challenges and sacrifices to get to the top, and know that they are extreme. It annoys me how people say oh anyone can swim, and there's no point in doing it. Swimming pushes upper, middle, and lower body strengths and you can't ever swim at your highest potential until you learn to maintain all three. When people say, Michael phelps is a joke, I take that into offense. I just went from swimming for two hours four days a week to swimming for two hours six days a week with an hour of dry land before each practice, it is a huge step up and the goal is when you wake up in the morning, for every muscle in your body to ache, I am proud to say, I have made hat achievement quite a few times and not a lot of people who don't have the joy of feeling that you got a little stronger each time it has happened. I go to the pool with my ...more

I swim and play water polo all year round and can honestly say swimming is harder HANDS DOWN!

I have swam competitively for 6 years now. I've done gymnastics, figure skating, horseback riding, competition cheerleading, water polo, and hockey. Although all are physically taxing sports swimming still comes out on top.

I have 8-10 swim practices a week. Every day I have a two hour swim practice. Every other day I have a one hour dry land practice an 5 in the morning. Swim practice consists of 5,000 to 7,000 yard a day. This averages out to 2-5 miles usually (128-320 laps in the pool). We do this with little to no breaks in between. Now please remember that 2-5 miles swimming is equivalent to 5-10 miles running. We do this daily. Oh, breathing is also frowned upon while swimming so...

We also practice more times than there are days in a week.

And rude coaches that will throw a kick board at you for breathing...

The term drylands means all the work we do outside the pool. This usually includes push ups, pull ups, core work, weight lifting, and painful ...more

Cheerleading? Wrestling? Cross country? Tennis? Yes, these are sports (except maybe the first one. _-) But none of these sports use ALL parts of the body and go nonstop for two and a half hours. Swimming and gymnastics are definitely the two hardest sports. We push our bodies to the limit. Not just our legs, not just our arms. We use every single inch of our body to strive to go faster, and be better. We practice every day, sometimes twice a day. We commit ourselves to this sport. It hurts like hell after practice, you'll wake up in the middle of the night with your muscles aching, but it's what we live for. If you're not a swimmer, you won't understand. It's that part where we feel like we are going to die in a race, because it hurts so much, but we pull another arm out and push the water back, and we keep going. As swimmers, we have the most strength, capability, and endurance than any other sport except gymnastics. I bet that when you think of swimming, you imagine floating in a ...more

Swimming isn't only a physically challenging sport, it tests you mentally and emotionally as well. Spending hours a day staring at a black line at the bottom of a pool and swimming back and forth, and back and forth, and back and forth... It can sometimes get boring and makes you question why you ever did the sport in the first place. Not to mention that after all of those hours of swimming, strength training, and healthy eating, a race can be boiled down to a mere 20-something seconds (such as the 50 freestyle). AND people have lost by.01 seconds at the Olympics, after training their whole life for that one event. However, the pros in swimming definitely outweigh the cons. We have the best bodies out there since swimming engages practically every muscle in the human body, and after putting in all the hard work and finally reaching your goals, you truly know that it was all you. YOU are the one who swam all those laps. YOU are the one who did all those squats. YOU are the one who ...more

I'm a professional swimmer myself... And to spend 20 hours a week in the pool and 10 hours doing dryland (weights, running, etc) is extreme! If you want to succeed in swimming you gotta have three things: 1. Your body gotta be perfect. Tall, Strong, stretchy and so much more! 2. Your head gotta be ROCK HARD! You gotta be smart... You gotta see whats the best way for your body to move fast in the water. There's only the strongest who keep on swimming until their goal is reached... Most people quit before they have reached their maximum because of the extremeness of swimming. Not many can manage to do 4 hours of swimming almost everyday for years. 3. You gotta have the right people around you, supporting parents, a good coach, training partners and at last but not at least somebody to motivate you! Swimming is so much more than many will ever understand! GO HARD OR GO HOME! NO PAIN NO GAIN!

I have been swimming for a little over a year now and I think it is just adorable when people talk about how difficult their sports are. No other sport has the full range of motion that swimmers must have. Football players have the argument that they get injured but let me tell you, when they say that swimmers don't, they just WRONG. While it is not a 'contact sport' swim is very aggressive and just the swimming itself does have some contact. A girl on our team recently fractured a wrist coming into the wall after our coach told her to come in with more force. There are endless possibilities like this that happen everyday. And again, with football players. They claim that their 3x a week 1 and a half hour practices are just EXCRUCIATING. Please, try everyday for at least two hours. And yes, include Saturday. We normally have holiday practice as well but instead this year we just have Sunday practice. The one thing that sets swimming apart from every other sport is that you are in the ...more

I've been on 2 swim teams, one club team and one recreational team and I'm about to be on another. I have done so many sports before swimming like basketball, softball, dancing, and gymnastics. To be honest gymnastics definitely deserves the place it got, but the other sports are a breeze. Swimming is one of the most physically and mentally hard sports ever. I have practice 6 days a week for 2.5 hours each practice. Many people think that you just do leisurely laps around the pool, if you think that then YOUR SO WRONG. Imagine running top speed for about 200 yards. Now imagine, swimming as fast as you can for 200 yards (8 laps of the pool), with limited amount of breathing, and using your entire body (core, shoulders, legs, hips). Come back to me after you do this and tell me how tired you were. Also, this doesn't even compare to what we do during practice, think about that. My favorite quote "Swimmers do more yards than a football player, more kicks than a soccer player, more sets ...more

I've been swimming competitively for about four or five years now. I just have to say that this sport requires a lot of dedication and grit. I wake up at 4 in the morning and swim, then I go to school. After school, I go back to the pool to practice again. Not to mention that not only do we practice in the pool, we get out and train outside the pool as well. There is no such thing as a swimming season, as we swim year-round, anywhere from six days a week to fourteen times a week depending on the level you swim at. Each of those days, we swim than 3000-6000 yards.

There's also those certain indoor pools that don't seem to know how to open the windows, so the chlorine air builds up inside and burns your throat, making it almost impossible to breathe. There are days that your whole body is sore after practice too (shout out to the girls who swim through their periods). One more thing I really want to get out there is meet warmups. Seven teams in a pool at once = every man for ...more

My point of view before the race of my life: I stand before the blocks. Shivers rush down my spine, my legs shaking as the swim suit digs in to my shoulders. The heat in front of me is completed, and the starter blows the whistle 3 times. I say to myself, this is it, if I don't make it on to the podium, my life is gone. I step on to the blocks and look at my fellow competition. The starter says 'Take your Mark." At that moment, my brain goes blank. It's prepared for this race all my life. BEP. I take of like I'm on fire. I do dolphin kicks underwater and reach the surface. I power all my strength, taking breaths once a lap, and I approach the wall. The person next to me has a powerful turn, and gets ahead. I pull and kick so hard my legs are stiff as rocks. I need that breath, but I can't reach it. For my last stroke I push with all my might. I look back at the clock. I get a 26.45 for a 50 freestyle. All the work all my life, it payed off. I spent hours doing 20x100 on 1:10 ...more

Pain in your muscles when you work out or excercize comes from lack of oxygen which leads to a build up of lactic acid in your muscles. This is what makes excersizing so painful and hard. This is why swimming is the hardest sport, because swimming requires an athlete to perform with very little oxygen, making it more painful and tiring than other sports. The endurance a swimmer has to endure is immense. You can't judge swimming if you've only done high school swimming or summer league, just like you can't judge football by throwing a football and saying its easy. Ou an only know what it's truly like if you swim professionally and competitively in a club or college. In swimming, races require continuous repetitive movement which makes muscle burn even more intense and painful. Real swimming events like 200 fly, 400IM, 1650 free, etc require insane endurance. The winners are always the ones who have the highest pain threshold from training in practice. In my opinion (I used to do ...more

Swimming is an all-in sport. Your goggles can fall off your face and you can be swimming blindly. You can hit your head on the wall or lane-line, chock on water, and still have to swim. You focus on the there and now. Every muscle you can use is being used and your head in underwater. Even if you are a rec swimmer, your practices are one to one and a half hours, and your warmup is a 200 s-k-p. For competitive swimmers, you get the added bonus of trying to decipher the shorthand Coach scribbles on the board and take a breath - in 10- seconds. Your knuckles are skinned and bruised, so are your knees. You spend every spare moment in the pool swimming and swimming. For me, I'm a flyer. My shoulders ache constantly, my back muscles stand out more than my stomach ones. My whole race relies on air, my legs, and my arms. For football, you have a team, you can take a break or get subbed out. For a flyer, or a swimmer in general, you suffer like crazy. 200 flys can kill your shoulders and you ...more