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.
|Activity||Time (By Hour)||Frequency (Daily)||Total|
|Activity||Time (By Hour)||Frequency (Daily)||Frequency (Weekly)||Total|
|Activity||Time (by hour)||Frequency (daily)||Frequency (weekly)||Frequency (monthly)||Total|
|Activity||Time (by hour)||Frequency (daily)||Frequency (weekly)||Frequency (monthly)||Frequency (Annually)||Total|
|Activity||Time (by hour)||Frequency (daily)||Frequency (weekly)||Frequency (monthly)||Frequency (Annually)||Five Year||Total|
|Activity||Time (by hour)||Frequency (daily)||Frequency (weekly)||Frequency (monthly)||Frequency (Annually)||10 Year||Total|
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.