How Much Time Do We Dedicate To Swimming?

How Much Time Do We Dedicate To Swimming?
Photo: © Sipa USA
It's easy to say that the amount of time we spend focused on achieving our goals is simply the amount of hours we practice per week. Although these hours devoted to training are incredibly important, we often forget about the extra, time-consuming measures we go through to ensure we are at our peak fitness level in the pool.

How much time will an athlete dedicate solely to swimming over a 10-year career? Below, we add up the daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly demands on our time spent in pursuit of swimming greatness.

Sleep: Minimum 8 Hours (not counted toward totals)

Although this fluctuates from day to day, we decided to go with the recommended amount of sleep for peak performance. Depending on where you are in your swimming career (high school, college, or professional) this number could fluctuate between 6-10 hours. 

Stretching: Minimum 1 Hour

Stretching not only assists in getting your body into the positions necessary for swimming, but it also aids in recovery immensely. This category includes: foam rolling, compression treatment, static stretching, and more. An hour a day would be the absolute minimum for elite level swimmers to keep their body in great shape. 

Transportation: 30-40 Minutes (Round Trip)

This category, much like sleep, is dependent on where the particular athlete is in his or her career. College swimmers might be two minutes away from the pool, while a club swimmer might have a two-hour round trip commute every day. 

Nutrition: 1 Hour

As you progress into the elite competitions, nutrition becomes more and more important. Gaining every possible edge over the competition is key in success. What comes with this is meal-prep time, calorie counting, meeting with a nutritionist…the list goes on. While it doesn't seem like much, we've set the estimated time per day at (a conservative) one hour per day. It may be tempting to go by McDonald's or Burger King on the way home from practice eating healthy but sticking to a nutritional plan is absolutely important.

Water time: 2-4 Hours

Now for the most important time requirement of them all, water time. On a normal day, we will spend (an estimated) 2-4 hours in the water working on technique, endurance, and race strategy. This amount of time is what is normally looked at as how much time we put into the sport, but as we've seen so far, it is just the beginning. 

Weight Room: 1 Hour 

As you move throughout your career as a swimmer, the weight room comes into play. College and professional athletes will spend an hour in the weight room 3-4 times a week depending on the events that are being trained. This time is dedicated to working on strength, agility, and injury prevention. Speaking of injury prevention, let's talk about rehabilitation. 

Rehab: 1 Hour

Every swimmer wishes to avoid this category as much as possible, but with the demands of swimming and the expectation placed on the body, it is often a place we find ourselves. Spending time with a physical therapist or doing exercises outside of the pool will take time, but it is important to making sure our efforts in every other category aren't brought to a halt due to an unexpected injury. 

We took the daily estimations from above and mapped them out over the course of a day, a week, a year, five years, and 10 years. This helps illustrate how much extra effort the elite-level swimmers dedicate to mastering this sport.

Daily:


Activity Time (By Hour) Frequency (Daily) Total
Stretching 1 1 1
Nutrition 1 1 1
Water Time 3 1 3
Weight Room 1 1 1
Rehab 1 1 1
Transportation 0.75 2 1.5
Total Hours

8.5


Weekly: 


Activity Time (By Hour) Frequency (Daily) Frequency (Weekly) Total
Stretching 1 1 7 7
Nutriton 1 1 7 7
Water Time 3 1 6 18
Weight Room 1 1 3 3
Rehab 1 1 7 7
Transportation 0.75 2 6 9
Total Hours


51

Monthly: 


Activity Time (by hour) Frequency (daily) Frequency (weekly) Frequency (monthly) Total
Stretching 1 1 7 4 28
Nutriton 1 1 7 4 28
Water Time 3 1 6 4 72
Weight Room 1 1 3 4 12
Rehab 1 1 7 4 28
Transportation 0.75 2 6 4 36
Total Hours 204

Yearly: 


Activity Time (by hour) Frequency (daily) Frequency (weekly) Frequency (monthly) Frequency (Annually) Total
Stretching 1 1 7 4 12 336
Nutriton 1 1 7 4 12 336
Water Time 3 1 6 4 12 864
Weight Room 1 1 3 4 12 144
Rehab 1 1 7 4 12 336
Transportation 0.75 2 6 4 12 432
Total Hours 2,448

Five Year: 


Activity Time (by hour) Frequency (daily) Frequency (weekly) Frequency (monthly) Frequency (Annually) Five Year Total
Stretching 1 1 7 4 12 5 1680
Nutriton 1 1 7 4 12 5 1680
Water Time 3 1 6 4 12 5 4320
Weight Room 1 1 3 4 12 5 720
Rehab 1 1 7 4 12 5 1,680
Transportation 0.75 2 6 4 12 5 2,160
Total Hours 12,240

10 Year:


Activity Time (by hour) Frequency (daily) Frequency (weekly) Frequency (monthly) Frequency (Annually) 10 Year Total
Stretching 1 1 7 4 12 10 3360
Nutriton 1 1 7 4 12 10 3360
Water Time 3 1 6 4 12 10 8640
Weight Room 1 1 3 4 12 10 1440
Rehab 1 1 7 4 12 10 3360
Transportation 0.75 2 6 4 12 10 4320
Total Hours 24,480

Data Breakdown: 

For 10 years of swimming dedication, we ended up at a grand total of 24,480 hours.

This adds up to roughly 2.79 years

No pressure. 

Work hard.

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