It is currently February 28, the day before March. As any year-round swimmer knows, March can be absolute hell. For those who don’t know, March is the beginning of championship season, for whatever reason everyone has decided. Most of the big meets take place during this window (except for Pro Swim Series and such). Unfortunately, March is also likely the end to snow days and teachers are likely to cram things into this month to make up for the missed snow days becasue they don’t seem to be able to plan in extra days into their plan to account for these snow days. Depending on what meet you’re going to, you might be missing one day or the entire school week. So to get things started, you’re stressed about keeping your grades up in school and trying to not fall behind.
And then we add on the pressure of dropping time. This is what you’ve been training for, the ending of a successful season. How you do could make or break how you view this season. More likely than not, you’re trying to get a cut for another meet, either for a meet this season or to set yourself up for next season. Either way, that time seems more important than anything in the world, and if you can just get that one cut, you won’t care about anything else you do. So now your stressed about literally everything going on with your life, but just for extra measure, let’s add on the fact that you have NO time for school work because you want to take a nap between prelims and finals because you just missed the stupid cut and NEED to make sure you get it tonight.
And now you make the cut and are going to miss more school. Your teachers are anything but happy about that. And you’re even more stressed to catch up just to fall behind again. At this point, you’re on the verge of either crying or punching something, or maybe both like my nephew here.
Sound familiar? Okay, so maybe you might not be doing finals but if you do well, you’ll be tired and will want to sleep. You just went your best time after all. And if you didn’t you’ll probably be upset and just want to go cry and maybe eat your feeling. Either way, schoolwork is not at the top of the list for things that need to be done. So how are you going to 1) handle the stress of championship season and 2) balance your schoolwork.
Let’s handle part 1 first. The biggest thing you can do is NOT think about it. To a point obviously. When you are training and need motivation, think about it as much as you want. Visualize what you are going to do at home because that’s important. But don’t think about the “what ifs” and stress over it. If you don’t go the time you want to go then you didn’t go the time. It doesn’t mean anything in the big picture. It’s just how fast you happened to go in that moment, not the fastest you can ever go. It may seem
important like the biggest thing of your entire life, but it’s not, and there will be more opportunities. Just relax, and give your best in your race, and when the meet is over, use that pain to motivate you to train harder. Make sure to stretch in between sessions. Do whatever you need to do to prevent injury because prepping all year just to have to scratch due to an injury is the worst.
As for school, communicate with your teachers. Give them advance notice when you’ll be gone. NOT THE CLASS BEFORE. This won’t give them enough time to prepare for you what you’ll be missing. A week at the minimum is necessary and make sure you remind them you’ll be gone the class before. Teachers can be very understanding if you are respectful about it. Explain why you are leaving and don’t just say a swim meet. Call it a championship meet at the minimum, not to boast, but to convey the fact that it is important. If you have to travel somewhere for a meet then, do your homework while you’re traveling. If you aren’t swimming finals but still have to go, do it between prelims and finals so you can cheer on your teammates during finals and you’ll still have free time at finals to convalescent over the fact you didn’t make it. Although you’ll likely forget it once you go to finals anyway. It’s likely too late now, but you should try to not be a troublesome student in class and get good grades. Teachers are more likely to be helpful and more understanding if you have good grades and don’t disturb the class.
Overall, don’t worry too much. It is not going to help you to stress over times. If anything, it will hinder your efforts to go a best time. As for school, just talk to your teachers and do your best to turn in your work as soon as possible.