Want to Compete with me at the Olympics?

Today, I discovered that 80-year-olds can compete in the Olympics.  So, I want to compete in the Olympics for backstroke and crawl when I’m in my 70s or 80s, although I’ve got to look at the chart to see precisely what age ranges compete.  And I could get bold and talented enough to try out for the Olympics by 60.  It’s now a goal.  I could be an Olympian this lifetime, and we all could be.  For example, we can grow increasingly strategic by practicing on our skateboards to win an Olympic medal.  It all starts with setting a goal.  And a skillful coach helps, too.

I need to secure a second side hustle to afford extra coaching.  Presently, I’m a candidate for a side hustle position where I’d be the Master of Ceremonies and organize events for executives.  I love doing that, although I need to figure out how to fit everything in.  I take an online class, work full-time, and exercise at least 4 hours weekly (although that will need to nearly double).  But I know everything falls into place when we have the right motive.  So, nothing is impossible, not even competing at the Olympics for any of us.  But what advances the goal the fastest is a good coach.

Today, my swim instructor was proud of me.  She is highly disciplined and extremely focused, as she is a world-class athlete heading for the Olympic tryouts.  I made significant progress with the front crawl in just one of her lessons by adjusting my head position.  That simple adjustment was a game changer, and my form improved a thousandfold.  Critical to note with this example is how a minor, seemingly trivial adjustment can change our entire performance.  We simply need to know what trivial adjustments are necessary.

When I showed my coach my backstroke progress since my last lesson, the improvements were so good that I felt I was gaining competitive form.  For the first time, she lavished me with praise.  She was proud of me, and I started jumping up and down in the pool with my arms extended.  Then I went to high-five her, grabbing her reluctant palm and putting it against my cheek.  “I could hug you!” I gently said.

That’s the power of a world-class coach.  My crawl was previously horrific, but it became incredible during practice, and my propulsion suddenly took off.  A loved one wanted to learn how I did it.  It was simply to lift my head a bit and look forward.  I’m not sure I can sustain that performance, but it was there, and I felt what good form should feel like.  It was revelatory.  In any goal we set out to achieve, we can rapidly achieve that stage where we experience the benefits of proper form.

Other recreational swimmers listen in on the coaching I receive, which throws me off a bit, as I’m conscious of them participating in the lesson.  Despite this, I read many sports performance psychology books (and they all say nothing is impossible).  Now, I’m seeing what a talented coach can do for a person, particularly in two to four lessons.  The listeners on the sidelines are getting better, too.

After my second last lesson, I came home, and as I fell asleep, I ran through the swimming motions in my head, which is mental rehearsal.  Mental rehearsal never worked for me before, likely because it’s hard to rehearse when we don’t know what constitutes good form.  But mental rehearsal becomes extraordinarily beneficial once we learn the science of swimming—the science of anything: the little details that bring huge payoffs—even for academics.  For instance, I visualized synchronizing my right arm with my left arm, one above water straight, the other under the water and bent, and I mentally had to push through this visualization as it was all wrong.  When it started to flow correctly in my head, I could swim the backstroke in a way that brought praise from my coach.  So, my dream is still to go to California to swim with the Olympians at the Race Club, not just to fit in or prove I don’t need a flotation device.  Instead, I aim to train at the Race Club to try out for the Olympics and become an Olympian.

On a final fitness note, I have another goal this year: to become super fast at running and sprinting despite my knee being slightly banged up.  Today, I ran with my phone in my hand to use my app, which provides a high-intensity interval timer.  I set the timer to go off for 30-second sprints, followed by 30-second rests for 20 rounds (20 minutes).  And when I sprinted, I’d tell myself, I’m my hero Olympian sprinter Femke Bol, and I tried replicating her form, although my legs didn’t stretch out as far forward as hers.  Fortunately, I recently found an online course that will teach me to be fast.  And it’s only $100.  So, I will buy it with my reimbursement from the Canada Job Grant, and if I keep working hard at my studies, I might receive a bursary, scholarship, or grant to buy more fitness courses—and maybe some extra coaching.

We can all be Olympians.  And if any of us says, but I can’t, well, think again.  Nothing is truly impossible, as our potential is truly unlimited.  Just read any sports performance psychology book.  They, too, can prepare us for our future Olympian roles, even if today we are overweight, so ill we can’t work, and riddled with so much anxiety that we can’t comprehend a single sentence during a seven-hour stint of reading.  That was once me, not that long ago.  Wherever we are today, an Olympic medal could be ours sooner than imagined.