Welcome back to 2019 - 2020 swimming season


When I was a young swimmer my friends thought I was crazy because I actually looked forward to the end of summer vacation and the start of the new school year.

But school mornings were always much better than summer ones. Every summer morning would start with me pleading with my coach. “Come on, Coach! It’s 7:45 am in the morning and we need to train so hard! We train harder off season than in season.” Though, I didn’t say any inappropriate word, just mumbled.

You see, summer is no vacation especially  if you have a dream of going to the Olympics as I did growing up. Each summer day except Sunday was filled with long and hard practices. I used to train twice a day, 6 days a week. Also each day, in between practices,  was filled with playing for hours many other sports such as soccer, volleyball, water polo and so on.

School, on the other hand, was a cakewalk. Studying and hanging out with school friends  was considerably more enjoyable than breaking my back under the hot sun in the outdoor pool in Bulgaria. Plus in season I used to do double workouts only every other day. The hard work was spread between school and swimming. It never felt as hard as during the summer.

And just like summer itself, Labor Day was no vacation day for me, either. Pretty much off season day became 8 -10 hours of training swimming plus all other variable sports. 

Labor Day in Bulgaria, just like in Canada, is designated a holiday as a tribute to all workers who routinely work 8-hours days, six-days a week.

My coach truly considered hard work and long training hours to be a godly virtue. My coach used to instructed me all the time, “You MUST be the first to arrive and the last to leave practice EVERY day. This is the only way you will succeed."

This was especially frustrating in high school years because my friends in the neighbourhood  were enjoying hanging out together, doing leisure sports, playing games and otherwise having tons of fun ... while I was always working in the pool.

My coach believed a swimmer was defined by how hard he/she worked out in and out of the pool.

My coach did reduce our training hours around Christmas, New Year and for a week right after the each season ended. That was as close to a vacation as I got.

Outside of swimming, this kind of crazy work schedule has largely disappeared in the world nowadays. But on the other hand that work ethic is a normal way of life for most swimmers who are getting ready for the upcoming Olympics in Tokyo 2020.

Back in the old days, as a young boy I used to wonder why I had to work so hard. But now I have to admit, these back-breaking summers in the pool are the reason for me to learn self discipline, toughness, time management, commitment and determination. I can proudly say that every success I have had in my life I owe to swimming.

A work ethic is something you learn, not something you’re born with. And I fear most young people outside of sports are not being taught what it means to put in a hard day’s work.

My coach would shrug her shoulders off, but I have to admit I enjoyed my Labor Day weekend this past weekend. I hope you did, too. My guess is that, if you read this page you are ready and excited to start the new season as I am. I am looking forward to a successful one.  Go RHAC Go!

See you all at the pool(s)

Konstantin Danailov
RHAC Head Coach