Brain Waves

What we think about when we swim can be varied and unpredictable. Sometimes it depends on the day, sometimes it depends on the set, and sometimes it depends on the swimmer. We at Swim Across America know from experience that the thoughts that float through our heads while we’re floating through the water will fall into some distinct and interesting categories.


Here are the most common Brain Waves that we catch during a workout.

The IPod- This brain wave is a gift- or a curse. There are times when a song is stuck in your head, and the annoyance makes you as dizzy as the constant flip-turns. There are other times that a solid tune gets in there, and it pumps you up and gets you through a set. Either way, who needs headphones?

The Blank Book- There are some swimming brains that can go an entire practice without thinking about anything, really. How relaxing! These lucky swimming fools get an hour or two of brain shut-off while getting their workout in, and they’re the envy of many. (Including ourselves, can’t you tell?)

The Planner- We must be conditioned because of all those 6am workouts, but many swimmers cruise through a practice and come out with a plan for the next twelve hours. Especially during sets with long yardage, the Planner brain wave lets you dive in a groggy mess and climb out with a mental To-Do list, ready to attack your day. 

The Abacus- Similar to the Blank Book, the Abacus wave almost shuts the mind completely off, save for one thing- it’s countin’ meters like it’ll never count again. Sometimes the only thing we can think about is how many laps we’ve got left, and sometimes it’s just that relaxing, monotonous time-waster that gets us through a set.

The Worst- There are times when you can’t think about anything else but the pain. It sears into your brain like the lactic acid searing into your muscles. Try and try you may to catch another brain wave, it just won’t stick. The Worst wave makes for the most miserable sets, but toughing it out is almost a right of passage in the swimming world! 

The Kobayashi- You will never encounter a swimmer who has avoided this brain wave. For many swimmers, it’s rare to actually register hunger during a practice, yet that hardly stops us from daydreaming about the mountain of food we’ll get to consume after a rip-roaring workout. Do you even know what a Vermonster is? Of course you don’t… unless you’ve tasted victory over it after a 4-hour Christmas training session.