A Talk About Integrity

Osprey Aquatics has been a Finis team since the late ‘90’s.  Lead by coaches Brian Bolster and Shannon Mackin, the team swims in San Jose, Ca. and is a member of Pacific Swimming.  The Osprey have league meets on Wed. evenings in the summer.  As part of the ongoing development of their Age Group and Sr. swimmers mental approach to the sport, OAQ asks some of their Sr. swimmers to present to the team a short 5 to 10 min. talk on some of the principles they have learned during their time with the Osprey how they have applied them to their training, their racing and their winning mindset.  The following paper was given as a talk by a 16 year old Senior Group swimmer who is an Olympic Trials qualifier. Here is what was said:

Integrity- how closely your outer actions mirror your inner convictions

Conviction- a declared sense of purpose through action and belief

Purpose- what I want why I want it and the price I’m willing to pay

It’s easy enough to just repeat these phrases as Brian says them, but they really only have meaning and truth when you apply them to your work habits.



So what does this mean in terms of training? To me it is your conduct, courage, discipline and the overall standard you hold yourself up to during practices.  It’s how you represent your team at the meets.  Like Brian always says, if he were to walk on the pool deck not knowing anyone’s times would he be able to believe that you will go a 46.0 in your 100 free or a 1:59 in your 200 free? Hopefully the answer is yes.  Your goal should be to train that way all the time. Show yourself and your teammates that you are that 1:59 200 freestyler. This doesn’t just mean going goal pace times on race sets either. It means doing everything the coach asks you to do to the best of your ability. The amount of effort, courage, execution and discipline that you show in any practice will be the same level of effort courage, execution and discipline you will have when you get to any meet. So create a pattern, and a habit of focus and hard work at practice and when you get to the big meet, you will have so much more confidence in yourself and won’t have to waste energy being nervous.



What do you really want to do this summer? And not even just this summer, where do you see yourself in the years after this? Connect everything you do in practice to that. Yes, sometimes drilling seems slow and boring and maybe it isn’t your favorite kick set, so why focus or even try on it? Because you want to go fast that’s why. When drilling you find the purpose of the set, and connect it to your own purpose. This will keep you focused during practice and will give you a reason to push yourself to the point of feeling nauseous, even on the dry land that we do. All the squats and jumps simulate your start and pushing off your walls. Think of your races as you do them. Imagine how hard it is going to hurt when you get to the last turn, but then think of how good a feeling it is to push off that wall and be ahead of everyone around you; and when you get to that last wall you know you will be able to do it because of the squats and jumps you did.

Remember that purpose gives meaning to sacrifice, but the pain in practice is only temporary and will lead to success and joy.



That is how you put these two ideas together. Simple: do the hard work, the easy work, the dryland, the recovery, the eating habits, that prove that you are what you wanna be. In the end it is you that is putting in all the time swimming yards, not your coach. You should want to achieve your goals for you, not them.