The Reality of the Splash
As many people may have anxiety, everyone will at some point in their life experience a form of anxiety. From social anxiety to anxiety with an important event, or they just naturally have high-level anxiety. Anxiety can be higher in different ways for each person, there is no true way to show how anxiety truly affects a certain person in a sport. Swimming being one of the sports where there is a lot of anxiety that is experienced. There is no true way that can show how a person is suffering from anxiety specifically from swimming. Some studies have shown that a person’s anxiety is higher from the sport, but it does not state that every person is affected by it.
Each person is affected differently, anxiety cannot be the only thing that affects how a person swims or approaches a certain situation. Anxiety in some way is used as a scapegoat for reasons on why swimmers may have a bad race. If a swimmer has a bad race, they may say that they were overthinking the races and let the anxiety of the races get to them and that they never could get over it. They may not be fully prepared to race, or they just wanted to sandbag the races because it was not their focus event of the meet. Anxiety is one of the complicated mental illnesses because it can affect you at one point or another, or does not. This is seen throughout swimmers’ careers, but there is still not a strong evidence that shows how anxiety affects that swimmer now.
The studies that have been done so far on anxiety in sport, but more importantly in swimming have shown how anxiety affects an athletes performance. The flaw in their studies is showing how it truly affects a person because a swimmer could be living how they feel after or before a race. They could be using the excuse of anxiety as a way of saying that is why they swam badly. The studies are inconclusive on their research of anxiety in the sport. This brings into question the effect the study as a whole is truthful on the finding that they have found. The study down in the Journal of Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics was looking at the amount of stress that swimmers go through during the season. The studies state “ findings are limited by program competition schedule, as it is probable that some mid-season meets and championship meets occurred before or after our survey was sent out.” This information opens the question of the anxiety of an athlete only comes when the swim season is in session. When they are out of season they can relate more than they would during the middle of the competition season. But where the study is hard to understand is that many different swim conferences have different seasons making it hard to see if the anxiety is something that will affect their racing. Division One swimmers are in season for most of the year, whereas Division Three swimmers are only in official training from September to early March. This makes it hard to say that every swimmer is affected by anxiety. Athletes that are training more often than others may be feeling more anxiety or stress than a swimmer that is in here offseason.
Each athlete has their own experiences with any type of anxiety, some of the anxiety that swimmers face is not always a negative thing. Anxiety has always been viewed as a negative thought in sport, where in reality it can help an athlete perform better. Positive anxiety can be seen as some type of adrenalin that a swimmer gets before a race. The extra push that they need to reach the next level of their swimming. Athletes that turn anxiety into a positive will have more positive outcomes than a swimmer that uses their anxiety as a negative. Positive anxiety will lead to self-confidence in a person swimming, having confessed will little the effects that anxiety has on an athlete. An athlete that only has positive anxiety will be completely different than an athlete that suffers from negative anxiety. In a study done by Psychology of Sport and Exercise, the study takes a look into how self-confidence will lead to a better level of performance in swimming. According to the results of the study, they state, “high levels of self-confidence, leading to increases in motivation and effort, athletes were able to maintain a confident outlook towards performance.” When swimmers can compete with a high level of self-confidence in their swimming, their levels of anxiety will lower down to a point where they no longer affect the athletes. Even putting together their anxiety and self-confidence into fuel to help them race better. There are too many conclusions that an athlete that has anxiety will be hurtful to their performances. Where in reality it does not have any effect on how they perform in a race.
There is a known truth that some swimmers will experience some time of anxiety in their swim career either if it is a positive or negative type of anxiety. But it is untrue when people say that every single swimmer will have anxiety. There is no true way of proving that every swimmer will have anxiety. Each swimmer is so different, has different backgrounds, and different experiences in the sport. There is also a negative light that anxiety brings on to the sport of swimming. This is a turnoff for them to join swimming. Why would you want to join a sport that is going to add more anxiety into your life? In the swimming community, there are many swimmers that will never be affected by anxiety or will never have to experience how to cover their anxiety. Some people are going to experience some type of anxiety in their life, but it is unfair to say that everyone will.
Stoa, R., Fogaca, J., & Johnsen, L. (2020). Feel the Pressure: Stress and Intrinsic Motivation in Collegiate Swimmers. Retrieved from http://csri-jiia.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/RA_2020_13.pdf
Hanton, S., Mellalieu, S., & Hall, R. (2003, October 20). Self-confidence and anxiety interpretation: A qualitative investigation. Retrieved April 11, 2021, from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1469029203000402?casa_token=LADL5_IHHewAAAAA%3AyxdaGYQnDInNn8BqUIPdyllwy9A-9VmXbZ_Qc1KhvNIq1hOPjeK1-J58G81Q-kJuomHCmhZ6Rw#BIB4