Unlike running, swimming isn’t something that we all learn how to do from a young age. Biking, though challenging, isn’t too hard to pick up. Learning how to swim is hard enough as it is, but then learning how to swim fast is another challenge.

Related: Wanna swim faster? Then swim faster!

Swimming can often be associated with fear, dread and doom for many age group athletes – myself included. This self-doubt can spiral out of control and can lead you to do the very minimal – “I’ll just survive the swim.” But what if you could learn to love the swim? Here are five tips on how to learn to love the swim:

1) Get there: The first step is getting there, so get there.

Related: What not to do when lane swimming

2) Find a swim buddy: If your self-will is failing, it might be time to find a swim buddy, masters swim class or tri club. Having someone you’re accountable to can be the extra motivation you need. Once you’re there, swimming is actually fun (who knew?).

3) Add variety: Doing the same sets and drills over-and-over again is boring – no wonder you hate going to the pool. Adding variety will not only keep you engaged mentally but also physically. You’ll actually look forward to the new drills and sets. Investing in new equipment like snorkels, paddles and tempo trainers can also change up your swim workouts.

Related: The five characters you meet at public lap swim

4) Believe or will yourself to do it (new challenge): Swimming is a challenge, so treat it as a challenge and keep on going. The beginning, especially when you start in triathlons, can be tough, but there’s no need to quit. As Dori in Finding Nemo says, “Just keep swimming.”

5) Pick a time and place that works with your schedule: The most significant barrier is time – “Time is money.” If your pool times don’t work well with your schedule, you’ll hate going to practice. So, if possible, find a pool and swim time(s) that work.

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