By Mike Gustafson//Contributor | Wednesday, May 24, 2017
“But I’m not a butterflyer!!!”
This, said in a panic, is how many swimmers justify not swimming the 200-meter butterfly. What’s the point of experiencing pain and panic for the point of pain and panic? What’s the point in swimming a scary event? What’s the point swimming an event one doesn’t even specialize in?
“Why would I swim the 200 butterfly if I am no good at butterfly?”
A flawed question. Sorry, swimmers.
Here are 5 reasons why, if you’ve never done so already, you should swim the 200 meter butterfly:
1. “Do what scares you.”
For many years, those four words never made sense to me. Why would someone want to do something that purposefully creates fear? Why do that to one’s self? Well, I learned that when it comes to swimming, there really isn’t much to be scared of. And certainly not the 200-meter butterfly. The first time, yes, it’s scary. But once you experience it, there’s no more fear. You just finish the race. You don’t die. You don’t lose all your money or possessions. You just finish. And finishing gives you confidence.
2. Worrying about it for years is worse than the few minutes of racing.
Sometimes, we worry endlessly about something that takes only a few minutes. Before I swam the mile, I worried about swimming the mile for years. Looking back now, I wish I had just swam the event. It only takes a few minutes. Biting the bullet and just jumping into those few minutes would have saved me a few years of worrying.
3. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
Another cliché. But when it comes to the 200-meter butterfly, the confidence of finishing that race will actually make you a better swimmer. Just knowing, “Hey, I finished the 200 fly,” gives you a little pep in your step. The 200-meter butterfly will make you a stronger swimmer in the long run, even if you’re not a butterflyer.
4. Confidence comes from experience.
The only way to get better at something is to do it. And the only way to get confidence is through experience. Frankly, you just don’t know everything there is to know about swimming until you’ve competed in every single event. The mile. The 50 free. And, yes, the 200 meter butterfly.
5. … You might actually like it.
Yes, there are 200 butterflyers in this world. I don’t understand them, but they exist. And they seem to really enjoy it.
You might, too.
Follow Mike on Twitter @MicGustafson.