Change is hard. It's a human condition.
No matter when you stop swimming competitively, whether it is at the end of high school or college, or any time in-between, whether it is by choice, injury, or just time, it will always come suddenly. It doesn’t matter how exactly it comes about, one day you will find that you are no longer a competitive swimmer.
I know it is hard to imagine that something you spent hours doing every day, something that defined you, something you dedicated your life to, something that came to mean so much can just come to an end. And it usually happens without ceremony or celebration, no matter how great your accomplishments. No matter how many awards, accolades or titles. The end of something almost always, inevitably, happens with a whimper not a bang- and not as you expected.
This sudden transition in your everyday life can feel overwhelming at times. You suddenly find yourself with more free time than you may know what to do with, and if the structure and routine of swimming is something that you enjoy, it can be difficult to figure out what’s next. This is grief. It is not only okay to grieve the loss of swimming but an important part of the process of moving forward. There is something called The Change Curve- based on a model originally developed in the 1960s by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross to explain the grieving process.
Stage 1- Shock and Denial
Stage 2- Anger and Depression
Stage 3- Acceptance and Integration
This is a useful tool when managing transitions such as these.
You should also remember, that you aren't in this alone. Your parents are also experiencing the loss of swimming - just in a different way. And there are approximately 700,000 kids in the US currently swimming- that means there are many swimmers, like you, transitioning into the next challenge that life brings them. Read more about
The Change Curve- to better understand your reaction to such a significant change or upheaval that leaving swimming might mean.