The essential aphorisms of marathon swimming

evmoevmo SydneyAdmin
edited March 2012 in General Discussion
Inspired by a suggestion from @david_barra...

  • "Nothing great is easy" (attributed to Capt. Matthew Webb)
  • "One stroke at a time" (attr. unknown?)
  • "Just keep swimming" (attr. unknown?)
  • "Even a paper cup will eventually reach France" (attributed to Alison Streeter MBE)
  • "As sh*tty as this is, thank god I'm not on the boat" (Bob Needham)

Others? Let's hear 'em.


  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
    DON"T BE A P***Y! ( John H to yours truly somewhere around hour 13... Catalina 7/20/10)

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • swimmer25kswimmer25k Charter Member
    Sharks are the other guy's problem.
  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member
    edited March 2012
    • No-one ever died from sore shoulders.
    • Swim from feed to feed.
    • Every Channel swim is different.
    • The Channel will still be there tomorrow.
    • Practice everything.
    No attribution for any of them, they are all too well known. (But maybe Freda Streeter for the first one).

  • Kate_AlexanderKate_Alexander Spring Lake, MichiganSenior Member
    a smile a mile
  • ssthomasssthomas DenverCharter Mem​ber
    edited March 2012
    Inspired by a suggestion from @david_barra...
    "Just keep swimming" (attr. unknown?)
    Just keep swimming is from Finding Nemo! :-)
  • gregocgregoc Charter Member
    Swim until you can't see land. (Frightened Rabbit)
  • jcmalickjcmalick Wilmington, DEMember
    edited March 2012
    "Quitters Never Win, Winners Never Quit" -Napoleon Hill and if that doesn't work "There's always tomorrow" -Anon. (meaning unless something catastrophic happens, if mother nature or one physically/mentally is not in the "game", you can always re-entertain the swim or event)
  • gregocgregoc Charter Member
    "Either you decide to stay in the shallow end of the pool or you go out in the ocean." (Christopher Reeve)

  • SharkoSharko Tomales BayGuest
    "I never met a shark I didn't like" a little poetic license from Will Rogers adopted by Sharko

    "I never met a shark I didn't like"

  • IronMikeIronMike Northern VirginiaCharter Member
    "At least I'm not in the pool"

    I feel this way after almost 3 years of swimming in a 15 meters (per length) pool...

    We're all just carbon, water, starlight, oxygen and dreams

  • VanMouVanMou San Luis Obispo, CASenior Member
    "No, I don't want any f***in' M&M's." -anonymous marathon swimmer in the thick of the battle
  • ForeverSwimForeverSwim Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaCharter Member
    edited March 2012
    DON"T BE A P***Y!
    I remember you telling me this story from John! That was a rough swim you did for sure... Even though I was dead tired after swimming the Channel, I remember sitting up in my room in Dover, and following your Facebook posts! Wasn't going to sleep until you finished!!
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania U.S.A.

  • I just saw this on a t-shirt:
    "Pain is temporary, victory is forever."
  • rxleakemrxleakem Southwestern Vermont, USAMember
    I just saw this on a t-shirt:
    "Pain is temporary, victory is forever."

    My high school swim coach always said, "Pain is negative energy. Make it work for you." Intersting thought when you are hurting ...


  • JanetJanet New York, NYMember
    My high school swim coach always said, "Pain is negative energy. Make it work for you." Intersting thought when you are hurting ...

    One of my rowing class instructors likes to bark out "Pain . . . is just a warning sign!" when we're in the middle of a hard row. I've never found that particularly reassuring!

    But it does make me laugh, which always makes things hurt a little less, so I guess it's in some sense effective.
  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    "don't make eye contact"
    Made up this one today. Was inspired by the fact that there was a persistent and annoying creeper in the pool I was trying to avoid. I got in 5000yd continuous swim before he left.
  • ssthomasssthomas DenverCharter Mem​ber
    @chickenosea- I need to use that one! I get creepers from time to time, too. Just yesterday, some weird guy got in my lane, started swimming down the middle doing side stroke. After a while, he'd stop at the wall, wait for me, then SPRINT a 25 to keep up. As soon as another lane opened up, I jumped out and relocated. At the rec center, I get people stopping me in the middle of a set to ask me how far/fast I'm swimming if I make the mistake of looking anywhere other than at the pace clock. It inspires me to do 5000-6000 without stopping...
  • Kate_AlexanderKate_Alexander Spring Lake, MichiganSenior Member
    I break for wildlife.
  • JBirrrdJBirrrd MarylandSenior Member
    Whenever I'm feeling blue...
    I just take a breath.
  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member
    Bumping this thread with @BobSwims' "As shitty as this is, at least I'm not on the boat".

  • molly1205molly1205 Lincoln, NebraskaSenior Member
    Pain is weakness leaving the body - Marines
    Don't touch the butt (another Finding Nemo gem)
    What for? (Gertrude Ederele's response to her support crew telling her to get out because of stormy weather and high waves. It became a catch phrase in the 20s.)

    Molly Nance, Lincoln, Nebraska

  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    "I'm only getting in because I need to wee"
  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member
    As you'll have seen I've split this thread. This aphorisms thread is intended to be a collection of the essential distillation of the marathon community's knowledge, wisdom, and wit.

  • Loneswimmer, perhaps you could also start a thread about the creeps and weirdos we encounter at the pool.

    Sisu: a Finnish term meaning strength of will, determination, perseverance, and acting rationally in the face of adversity.

  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member
    @Dawn_Treader ? Anyone can start a thread.

  • @Niek
    This is just a toss off email to the channel chat group, by a non-swimmer, non-swim coach, and non-nutritionist. Not sure it qualifies as an essential aphorism of marathon swimming.
  • firebahfirebah Charter Member
    "Can't is dead and buried." Words spoken by Coach Ray Peterson back in the mid 60's when we would say "I can't do ..." whatever set he just gave us
  • MvGMvG MauritiusCharter Member
    Niek wrote:
    Michael O. :
    If you are training properly then you should not be able to gain any weight at the moment -- you should be using the calories you put in to push your body to it's limits.
    If you start to gain weight then train harder.

    Ouch... :-)
  • evmoevmo SydneyAdmin
    edited May 2014
    "Anything worth doing is worth overdoing."

    -- South End Rowing Club legend Bob Roper, via Mick Jagger, exported to the east coast by @david_barra
  • Cole_GCole_G PhiladelphiaMember
    "Make it hurt so good." - John Cougar Mellencamp

    A phrase that became popular among the elite group on my club school back in high school. It's my personal mantra when a set starts to get too painful. I think we can all agree that those big sets hurt like hell, but as soon as they're done you realize it hurt so good :)
  • "Let me flow into the ocean, Let me get back to the sea, Let me be stormy Let me be calm Let the tide in and set me free.... I want to drown, in cold water!" P. Townhend, Drowned... Quadrophenia
  • evmoevmo SydneyAdmin
    edited June 2014
    So many gems in this post by @malinaka, which may be my favorite thing I've ever read about this crazy sport:

    Swim all the time. Swim through Love. Swim through Loss. Swim through all emotions that come in between. Never ask if swimming is the cause or the cure. It is probably both, but knowing that won’t help anything. Swim as your life crumbles around you. Swim while you rebuild it. Never stop swimming.

    Just go read it.
  • flystormsflystorms Memphis, TNSenior Member
    That's incredible. What a beautiful blog entry.
  • JenAJenA Charter Member
    edited June 2014
    I was 20km into a 32km swim, and the currents had shifted against me. It took me five hours to swim 3km. Not moving was so depressing that I fantasized about swimming to shore and wading through the currents -- at least I'd have some traction! (I knew this would be quite against the rules!)

    As I rounded the peninsula, I could see the 12.5km-long bridge that spanned the strait I needed to cross. The bridge has piers every 250 meters and I could start to quantify my lack of movement. I started to cry, and my coach wrote a doozy on the whiteboard:

    "Don't measure. Just do." -- Coach Phil Evans

    It still moves me to this day.
  • sharkbaitzasharkbaitza LondonMember
    I'll go with 2 of my favourite Star Wars quotes...

    Luke: What's in there?
    Yoda: Only what you take with you.”


    Yoda: No. Try not. Do... or do not. There is no try.

  • bobswimsbobswims Santa Barbara CACharter Member
    To continue with the movie theme:

    "The trick . . . is not minding that it hurts" - Lawrence of Arabia
  • CliffCliff Member
    Swim until you run out of ocean.
  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    "We were not responsible for the weather"
    The African Queen
  • dpm50dpm50 PA, U.S.Senior Member

    Old thread, but happened upon it. When I mentioned being tired, my coach said, "there's no such thing as tired." Another time when I mentioned cramps, he said "there's no such thing as cramps." I could have dreamed that second one, but I distinctly remember the first.

    So much is mental though.

  • abbygirlroseabbygirlrose Los Angeles and Palo Alto, CASenior Member

    In a similar vein, my coach always says "there is no such thing as fatigue"

  • LakeBaggerLakeBagger Central OregonSenior Member

    Mine always said, “there’s no such thing as altitude”

  • MLambyMLamby Senior Member

    When I'm getting tired, my mind jumps straight to, "Each stroke is one stroke further than you just were."

  • rlmrlm Senior Member

    "Go slow to go fast"

  • MoCoMoCo Worcester, MASenior Member

    "It's not THAT cold"

  • kejoycekejoyce New EnglandSenior Member

    "cold is a state of mind"

  • akswimakswim United StatesMember

    "I was born on the crest of a wave and rocked in the cradle of the deep"

  • Copelj26Copelj26 ChicagoSenior Member

    "Clear water=cold water"

    at least for lake michigan lol

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