When pools shut down in the first part of 2020, many swimmers never expected them to stay closed for so long. And while some teams have been able to come back to their pools (with certain rules, guidelines, and restrictions), other swimmers have yet to get back in the water.
For some, the many months spent away from the pool have given swimmers more time in their daily schedule. And it’s left some swimmers wondering if they should quit swimming.
Related article: How Swim Teams can Train during COVID
It’s not an easy decision for most and there’s no right or wrong answer.
If you’re debating leaving the sport but still aren’t 100% sure, here are four things to consider before you decide to quit swimming because of COVID-19.
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No doubt about it, the coronavirus has hurt the economy across the world.
It’s left people without jobs and with no idea as to when they’ll be able to return to work. Financial aid from the governments can only go so far and with the future still uncertain, finances can weigh heavily on the mind.
And let’s just say it honestly here. Swimming is expensive. It might not be the most expensive sport out there, but it’s not exactly cheap.
Between monthly club dues, the cost of swim meets, caps, goggles, suits, gear, and more, the price adds up quickly. That’s also not even considering the cost of fuel to get a swimmer to practice, along with the food needed to keep them going.
With all that in mind, the sad reality is that some families might not be able to afford the cost of swimming during the pandemic. Or even after we return to the ‘new normal’.
If you’re considering quitting swimming because of COVID due to the cost associated with the sport, take a moment to talk to your coach. Ask them if the team has any options for payments. Or see if you can find used gear/equipment to use for free.
Finances are a serious matter and though some may disagree, I don’t think a family should take on debt to keep swimming. Talk it over with your family and coach. See if there are other options to consider.
Health plays an immense role in a swimmer’s decision to continue with the sport or to leave it.
For those swimmers with pre-existing health conditions, it’s a scary time to think about going back to the pool. It’s enough for some to quit swimming because of COVID-19.
The governing swimming bodies have started to implement rules and guidelines for reopening. But that doesn’t mean they’re foolproof. You can still catch the coronavirus (or other colds and viruses!) while at the pool.
Some swimmers and/or parents might not feel comfortable with going back to the pool right now and won’t return until they feel safe.
And ‘safe’ varies for each individual.
Whether that’s until the number of cases has decreased or a vaccine becomes available.
Your health and safety should always be one of your top priorities.
Coaches and teammates might nag your decision to quit swimming because of COVID, but that’s not their choice. This is something you have to make for yourself. And if you’re concerned about your health and safety, do what’s best for you.
You can’t swim if you’re sick. And you shouldn’t have to put your sport before your health.
Club Shut Down Because of COVID-19
Much like many businesses that are struggling to stay afloat, club and school teams face financial issues, too.
Club teams support themselves based upon monthly dues, hosting meets, and swim lessons. With pool doors barred shut, that stream of revenue no longer exists. And it makes it near impossible to pay coaching staff without it.
Certain companies and businesses will shut down permanently from the coronavirus. So too, will some swim teams.
While this isn’t a decision on your behalf to quit, you may no longer may be able to swim due to the pandemic permanently closing down your team. Or the pool that you train at.
It’s not to say that you can’t join other teams. USA Swimming and US Masters have a dedicated page for team searches.
But for those who don’t live close to other teams, the closing of a team/pool might mean you have to stop swimming if another nearby option doesn’t exist.
If one does, it’s a decision you and your family have to make. Do you want to switch teams and drive potentially further? Or join a team that you don’t particularly care for?
None of these options are ideal. But some swimmers will find themselves in these situations. It’s not a decision that they made themselves. But one that will force them to quit swimming because of COVID.
If you find yourself in this situation, be sure to check with other teams nearby. You might find that the distance isn’t as bad as you originally thought. Or that the team is different from what you remembered.
You can also look to train at any nearby pools if they’re available. See if you can’t start your own team or training group!
Do you still enjoy swimming?
It’s an honest question and one that those on the fence should consider seriously. For those who have always been somewhat ‘eh’ about swimming or have started feeling that way, take this break from swimming to reflect.
Do you truly want to keep swimming?
When the email goes out and calls you back to the pool, how does it make you feel? Do you get excited and can’t wait to get to training again? Or would you rather enjoy the newfound time in your schedule?
Related article: How to Return to the Pool After a Long Break
Again, there is no right or wrong answer to this question. And as a swimmer, I probably shouldn’t be supporting other’s desire to quit. But I’ve always been of the firm belief that if you’re not enjoying the sport or don’t want to swim anymore, it’s time to walk away.
And honestly, now is the best time to make that choice. You’ve had months to reflect upon your time away from the pool and come to terms with how it makes you feel. If you’re happy right now when you’re not swimming, tell your parents!
Let them know that you don’t miss the sport and you think it would benefit everyone if you didn’t go back. Why put yourself back into a situation where you’re not happy and you hate going to practice every day?
But if you find yourself missing the water, your teammates, and the challenge, perhaps it’s not your time to quit just yet. Give yourself some more time to make that choice. Try going back to practice and see how you feel.
Swim because you want to. Not because someone tells you to.
Related article: Why I Started (and Keep) Swimming
I’ll close with this. Remember that quitting doesn’t have to be a permanent solution.
No one says that you can’t ever come back to the sport after you leave it. I wouldn’t be here if that were the case! Many of us wouldn’t!
It’s hard for some to walk away from the sport. Others have an easier time. And whether you decide to quit swimming voluntarily or because you didn’t have a choice, remember that you can always come back.
Swimming will still be here no matter your reason for leaving. It doesn’t judge and it doesn’t discriminate. It simply exists. Waiting for people to embrace or return to the water.
As always, to happy swimming!
Best Gear for Swimmers Returning to the Pool: Returning to the pool? Chances are that you’ll need to replace some gear. Here are 7 pieces of gear for swimmers returning to the pool.
How to Return to the Pool After a Long Break: Returning to the pool after a long break can be a challenge for swimmers. Mentally preparing yourself can help ease your transition back into the water.
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