So funny thing about Susan, is that we actually trained at the same club! I really resonated with that piece, being that I used to swim at Santa Clara during my winter and summer breaks. That pool, those coaches, cultivated the best of the best.
But going back to your original point, I think swimming, and sports in general, really develop a person from the onset — everything from life lessons to friendships...
I will say that all swimmers, have a very competitive nature. This is something that comes through in work, later on, outside of the pool — it’s learning how to channel the energy around something you’re passionate about and focused on, outside of a race environment.
I would say another quality is that swimmers have, is an analytical mindset. We are taught from the onset, the importance of being very detail oriented, as a split-second can make or break your career. Because of that, it's understanding that little things, lead to big results: not cutting corners, making sure you’re doing things properly in training — so you can execute in the race. Split seconds can dictate the team you’re on, your place on the podium, or the ranking of your country. I think I’ve been able to channel that, especially in the digital space, through analytics. That’s something I noticed even in my first job, I got excited about the numbers — how could I make my work better? What are the tiny tweaks that can lead to bigger and better results?
One last thing I’ll note about swimming is time management. This began with 4:30 AM wake-up calls starting at the age of 13. Just having to learn to go to practice, then school, then practice, then get homework done — all helped me for when college, and startup life, demanded a similar routine. I still wake up at 5 AM every morning, I have a set calendar and stick to it, almost because it’s now second nature to me. Looking back, until I met other non-swimmers, I was like “What is everyone talking about? 9am start times?” I quickly realized it’s NOT normal to wake up so early! I guess I’ve just ran with it.