Last year was a year full of great adventures, experiences and memories. With this post, I want to share one of those memories not to impress you, but to encourage you to do what you love and what you passionate about. This post is for those who need to dare something in their life, something that they’ve never thought of ever doing it. And it is for those who love swimming as much as I do.
For the very first time, I attended the 17th FINA World Masters Championships. FINA is the short cut of Fédération Internationale de Natation (Engl. International Swimming Federation) and administrates all international competitions in water sports. In 2017 it took place in Budapest, where I spent one week – also to see something of the city. You can read more about the city in my Budapest travel guide.
The World Masters Championships are separated by age classes from AC 25 up to AC 100. Due to my age of 25, the accomplishment of achieving the qualified times and the fact that my swimming club wanted to take part, I finally had the chance to attend the Championships.
How I got prepared for the championships
It was my dream for so long and I can’t tell how excited I was. Weeks – no months – before the competitions would start, I entered a fitness studio and made matching swimming plans. I can say that I literally worked my ass off just to achieve my goal of swimming good times. It wasn’t always fun, because it was hard and exhausting sometimes. But I saw results. I felt better and better every time. I felt strong.
And I had the feeling I could make it.
One week before the competition started I had worked out less to begin the muscular regeneration. It is important to give your muscles some time to rest so they can be fit when you need them the most.
After the regeneration week time finally came to head off to Budapest. I arrived one day before my first heat so I had enough time to explore the FINA campus and the in- and outdoor pools that were spread out all over the city. I wanted to figure out in which pool I would compete since there were plenty of them.
Let the championships begin
Then there was the day of the days. It was on the 15th of August. I had my first race. 100 m freestyle. It was early in the morning and my entire body was shaking. I felt nervous and excited at the same time, but also a little lost because everything was so chaotic. The indoor swimming pool called Duna A was very big. I had to ask around to get to the warm-up pool. And even the call room, the last room before getting out for the race was hard to find. I asked swimmers who just swam and finally found it – way too early.
My heart was beating, my legs were shaking.
Then it was time to get out there. My heart was beating faster and I just wanted to dive into the water to make all the pain from the last weeks and months getting paid off. I jumped into the water and swam as fast as I could.
But when I finished and looked up to the board with the times, I felt disappointed. I didn’t just miss my qualified time, I also had the feeling that I trained so hard for nothing. Disappointment is one thing, but I also asked myself why I failed after all this hard training.
What I’ve learned from the World Masters Championships
After a while of reflecting, I decided not to compete again after the World Masters Championships. And it was a good decision. You might be confused now, but I don’t regret anything, because I can focus more on what makes me happy. And it is not competing or the feeling of wanting to be the fastest. It is swimming without any pressure. Regarding my passion for swimming, I realized I’m not an adrenaline junkie who needs to be part of every competition.
Though it was an experience I will never forget.
By attending the FINA World Masters Championships my dream came true. And although it didn’t work out as good as I wanted to be, I’m still glad that I did it. It was impressive to be part of such a big event and I’ve learned that I always have to follow my dreams. No matter if it turns out in a good or bad way, at least I can say that I’ve done it and I’ve done it as good as I could.
By following your dreams, you learn what you really like and what is maybe just an illusion. If you never go for it – if you never try – you might be missing the chance of living. Because living means to do things that make you happy. And I know for sure now that swimming with my people without any pressure is something that makes me happy.
Have you ever been in such a situation? I would love to hear your stories! If you want to learn more about Budapest, read in my post 6 things you should know before going to Budapest everything you have to know.