Swimming Motivational Quotes / Inspirational Sayings

"In training everyone focuses on 90% physical and 10% mental, but in the races its 90% mental because there's very little that separates us physically at the elite level".
Elka Graham

"With so many people saying it couldn't be done, all it takes is an imagination."
Michael Phelps

"People ask me 'what was going through your mind in the race?' and I don't know. I try and ...let my body do what it knows".
Ian Thorpe

"I wouldn't say anything is impossible. I think that everything is possible as long as you put your mind to it and put the work and time into it".
Michael Phelps

"Being your best is not so much about overcoming the barriers other people place in front of you as it is about overcoming the barriers we place in front of ourselves. It has nothing to do with how many times you win or lose. It has no relation to where you finish in a race or whether you break world records. But it does have everything to do with having the vision to dream, the courage to recover from adversity and the determination never to be shifted from your goals."
Kieren Perkins

"When I go out and race, I'm not trying to beat opponents, I'm trying to beat what I have done ... to beat myself, basically. People find that hard to believe because we've had such a bias to always strive to win things. If you win something and you haven't put everything into it, you haven't actually achieved anything at all. When you've had to work hard for something and you've got the best you can out of yourself on that given day, that's where you get satisfaction from."
Ian Thorpe

"I have been visualizing myself every night for the past four years standing on the podium having the gold placed around my neck."
Megan Quann

"I concentrate on preparing to swim my race and let the other swimmers think about me, not me about them."
Amanda Beard

"Before the (Olympic) trials I was doing a lot of relaxing exercises and visualization. And I think that that helped me to get a feel of what it was gonna be like when I got there. I knew that I had done everything that I could to get ready for that meet, both physically and mentally".
Michael Phelps

"The water is your friend.....you don't have to fight with water, just share the same spirit as the water, and it will help you move".
Alexandr Popov

"In most sports they have a physical effect on your performance, in swimming only psychological. If you worry about what your rival is doing, you take your mind off what you are doing and so fail to concentrate on your performance."
Bachrach, great Chicago coach of the 20's

"I can't control what everyone else swims but if all goes well I know there are no limits."
Leisl Jones

"I am not going to allow myself not to perform well just because I don't feel well. I am bulletproof to the extent that a lot of things can be thrown at me, but it's about how much I am prepared to let them affect me".
Ian Thorpe

"I can definitely take more off my world record - a lot more. I have no doubt about that. I'm by no means putting pressure on myself, it's just the belief I have in myself......I'm not going to limit myself by nominating times or anything like that. I never thought I'd do 14:34 and I did. I thought I'd maybe do 14:38 or 14:39 that day, and I went nearly five seconds quicker so I don't want to limit the possibilities".
Grant Hackett

Mind Training for Swimmers


"Body does what mind prefers."
Lenny Krayzelburg

"Mainly, I like to have fun. Swimming is all about having fun, and I am firm believer that you should keep swimming as long as you are having fun, but I can say that it becomes much more fun as you get older and learn more about the sport, life, and especially more about yourself".
Scott Goldblatt

"I was so surprised. Then again, I was so relaxed in the water, it felt amazing".
Pieter van den Hoogenband after 2000 Olympic gold medal swim

"For myself, losing is not coming second. It's getting out of the water knowing you could have done better. For myself, I have won every race I've been in".
Ian Thorpe

"While I'm swimming, I sing songs in my mind."
Alexandr Popov

"I enjoyed every bit of my swimming career. I think that's the most important advice — to enjoy what you do".
Summer Sanders 1992 double gold medallist

"Any time you can get up there and scare a few people, throw up some decent times, it builds up your confidence and also sends a message to other people."
Olympic silver medallist Marianne Limpert

"I just refused to give up, to give up the dream. I was in excruciating pain, my arm was numb and they said it would be six months, if ever, for me to be back in the water. I thought my career was over, I was shattered but I never lost hope. I've always believed if you want to do something badly enough you will do it. Some told me that if you visualized healing an injury it would heal faster and that's what I did"
2004 Australian Olympic diving team qualifier Lynda Dackiw, 4 months before the Athens Olympics

"There is water in every lane, so it is OK."
Ian Thorpe (on being in Lane 5 for a final).

"I always have on my headphones to block out all of the other distractions and I'm just focused on doing the best that I can.... There a few of them … DMX Party Up ... Mack 10 BC and Ice Cube Connected for Life. I also listen to the Eminem CD …whichever song really gets me going that night".
Michael Phelps

"Susie had no talent whatsoever. She's a little person who couldn't even make a final at a state meet - coming and showing the world that on sheer guts and determination you can do anything you want!"
Susie Maroney's coach Dick Caine after her 200 kilometre marathon swim from Mexico to Cuba

"You can't put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the farther you get".
Michael Phelps

"I swam the race like I trained to swim it. It is not mathematical. I just let my body do it. It is a lot easier if you let your body do what it is trained for."
Ian Thorpe


"Most of the preparedness happens during training every single day, so it's all about getting to a meet and being as relaxed as possible. Personally, I just try to stay in the crowd of people, just talking so my mind doesn't think only about swimming. That helps me to relax. And at this level, we all know what needs to be done once we jump in the pool".
Lenny Krayzelburg (Preparing for a race)

"I try and just relax and reflect on all the work I've done in the past season. That's one of the most important things, remembering your goals and how to swim your races. It's also important to get your mind off racing before you race sometimes".
Ian Crocker

"I like to get in my own world. When I'm getting ready for a meet, I always have headphones on, listening to rap music to get myself fired up".
Michael Phelps

"Enjoy swimming for swimmings sake. We have to spend far too much time in the water to not enjoy the process challenging yourself of moving through the water".
Jeff Rouse - Multiple Olympic Gold Medalist and swimming World Record setter

"I saw my name: THOMAS, Petria. Saw my time, 57.72. Saw the number one next to them. I'd done it. Me! Petria Thomas, Olympic champion. The feeling inside was one of pure, utter joy. Excitement, disbelief, relief, hapiness, amazement, the whole works. Id worked so hard. I'd gone through so much, privately, publicly. I'd lost faith in myself and found it again. I'd sometimes stopped believing that I could do it and that I had a purpose in life. I'd come through the darkness, and this, this moment, was the sweetest, most amazing light there could possibly be. I was alive and loving it!"
Petria Thomas, Athens Gold Medallist

"I told myself there was no way I was going to let this training go to waste. It was my time, and I was ready to go."
Katie Hoff

"Everyone who has been to an Olympics says expect the unexpected. That kind of psychology games does go on, so I'm kind of expecting things to happen but I don't know who from. I think it's kind of silly but I'm prepared for it. I'd probably just laugh it off because it means that they are afraid of racing me, so it's like a huge compliment".
Libby Lenton, world record breaker

"It's easy to forget when you're an elite athlete that everyone else gets nervous as well. Even the best people in the world, at whatever they do, they're still nervous".
Leisl Jones - world record breaker at the 2005 World Championships

"I always assume that whenever I race against Michael it's going to take something amazing like a world record to win. It's definitely faster than I thought I could go but you can't put limits on yourself." Ian Crocker after a world record at the World Championships

"I won't predict anything historic. But nothing is impossible".
Michael Phelps

"I've always been fortunate in that I've been able to put myself in my own zone and relax. It comes naturally. I'm lucky to be that way".
Michael Phelps

Mind Training for Swimmers


"I used to beat myself up everyday if I did not win an event. I am quite open about those things now and that has been a big change."
Leisl Jones

"I'm really quite exhausted at the moment, but you never know, you are always surprised at what you can find sometimes, and maybe I will find something deep within to find the desire to swim fast".
Leisl Jones

"I know I've made huge gains in my confidence, and knowing more about my racing and myself as a person. That has made me a better athlete".
Libby Lenton

"It took a lot of guts to change it and say 'I don't like the life that I'm living and I don't like the swimmer I am', so let's change it completely and say 'Look, I've got to learn to love myself'. And that's been a really hard thing to do because when you've done a performance that you're not proud of and the public and the media have criticized you.....people are really quick to make judgements so it was tough to say 'Well I don't care what you have to say. I'm going to do this for myself and if you don't like me after this, well then, it's too bad'."
Leisl Jones

"Going into that race I was going for the world record, just quietly, but I wasn't feeling at my best all week so it was hard to determine what would happen. I could not believe it, I went into shock, I'm still in shock".
Leisl Jones after smashing her own world record at the 2006 Commonwealth Games (Answering Jade Edmistone's comment that Jones was 'unbeatable') "I don't think I'm unbeatable, nobody is".
Leisl Jones after breaking her world record at the 2006 Commonwealth Games

"Tonight was not about winning, it was about focusing on myself and what I was aiming to do. It's the reason why I was able to swim so well".
Libby Lenton after setting a Commonwealth Games record and beating Olympic champion Jodie Henry

"It's unbelievable I'm swimming so fast. I went in with no expectations. I just went out hoping to get a personal best. I went out there with a smile, just to have fun and see what would happen."
Jade Edmistone after taking 2 gold at the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

"I've just been enjoying the training a bit more. I've put too much pressure on myself in the past. Just relax and let it come. I just went out there to have a bit of fun tonight."
Sophie Edington after taking gold at the 2006 Commonwealth Games 100m backstroke in front of a home crowd.

If you're not on your 'A' game in our workouts every day, you're going to get absolutely smoked."
Michael Phelps

"I feel like Aaron brings out the best in me"
Michael Phelps


Other Inspirational Quotes

Ability may take you to the top, but it takes character to stay there.

Act as if it were impossible to fail and it will be.

Actions speak louder than coaches. (Speedo ad)

Always remember, whatever the goal--keep your eye on it.

Attitudes are contagious. Are yours worth catching?

A winner makes committments to a goal, a loser makes promises.

Defeat should never be a source of disappointment, but rather a fresh stimulus.

Don't count the days, make the days count.

Faith can move mountains, doubt can create them.

Focus on your strong points when you visualize your race.

Failure is often that early morning hour of darkness that precedes the dawning of the day of success.

Go hard or go home. (Speedo advertisement)

Hard things are put in our way, not to stop us, but to call out our courage and strength.

He who does not hope to win has already lost.

If you do not consciously form good habits, you will unconsciously form bad ones.

Losers let it happen, winners make it happen.

Life's greatest adventure is in doing one's very best.

Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.

Obstacles are what you see when you take your eyes off the goal.

Only those risking to go far will ever know how far they can go.

Only a mediocre person is always at his best.

Practice is 90% physical-10% mental. Championship meets are 10% physical-90% mental.

Pride, intense pride, that's what it all comes down to.

Practice does not make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect.

People are generally better persuaded by the reasons which they themselves discovered than by those which have come from others.

People who feel good about themselves produce good results.

Swim each practice as if it was the most important practice of the year.

Take the best team and the worst team. Line them up and you would find very little physical difference. You would find an emotional difference. The winning team has a dedication--they won't accept defeat.


Take all defeats as temporary setbacks.

The road to success is always under construction.

There is always room at the top.

The swimmer who says, "It can't be done" is passed by the swimmer who is doing it.

The will to win is not nearly so important as the will to prepare to win.

The dictionary is the only place where success comes before work.

The future belongs to those who prepare for it.

The height of your success is determined by the depth of your belief.

The harder your work, the luckier you get.

The hardest thing about climbing the ladder of success is getting through the crowd at the bottom.

The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond into the impossible.

The swimmer that makes the fewest mistakes wins.

Trust your hopes, not your fears.

Tough times never last, but tough people do.

We accomplish in proportion to what we attempt.

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

When you are behind, don't give up; when you are ahead, don't let up.

You can motivate by fear and reward, but these are temporary. The only lasting thing is self-motivation.

Yesterday is a canceled check; tomorrow is a promissory note; today is the only cash you have. Spend it wisely.

You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it come true. You may have to work for it however.

You can't do anything by doing nothing.

You create your own luck.

Your toughest opponent is in the mirror.