5 Reasons Employers Should Hire Swimmers

This blog was published on Relus.com

A blog post about five reasons employers should hire tennis players recently grabbed my attention and thoughts.  While I agree (and like to hire athletes in general), I feel the qualities possessed by a competitive swimmer are even greater.   So, given the choice, hire both.   But, if you can only hire one – pick the swimmer!

  1. Swimmers have better work ethic.   Obviously genetics plays a significant part in success in competitive swimming, but nearly every college-level swimmer became great at the sport by outworking the hundreds of other kids in the pool.   A great tennis player had to work hard, but being naturally gifted is a more important component.  In swimming more than any other sport, sheer will and determination outweigh skill.   Hire a swimmer if you want someone who will give 100% every single day.   In tennis, I will agree that you have to practice hitting a ball into a court thousands of times.   But the determination of a swimmer who can log 10,000 painful yards in one day alone is unmatched.   That’s who I want to hire.
  2. Swimmers understand what it takes to win.   In tennis you can blame your racket, bad line calls, or an off day of playing.   On the other hand, in swimming, every single lap of every single practice is measured.  Swimmers are used to getting measured and judged based on their performance.   You never hear a swimmer blame the judges or tools such as their goggles.   As a swimmer, it is you against the clock.   In business, I want employees who are unafraid of being measured, and who know that they control their own destiny.  Swimmers know that they succeed or fail based on how hard they have worked – how much effort they put into every single practice.
  3. Swimmers have goals based on their own efforts. In tennis, most goals are based on beating someone else.   You have no control over how the other player performs.  Swimmers have goals that are detailed, under their own control and down to the hundredth of a second.  I love employees that are goal-oriented – and you won’t find a more goal-oriented person than a swimmer.

Read more…

Wade Morgen. Jack Thompson Swim Meet 2011. October 23, 2011. Online image. Flickr. https://www.flickr.com/photos/lash9420/6284920172 



  1. This article speaks volumes and thanks for posting…hire me!!!! 🙂 I grew up in Northern Indiana, a competitive swimmer…fast forward 30 years later after raising 4 sons…started college to earn a degree still had eligibility to swim since I did not go to a 4 year college out of high school…2011-2012 swam and played waterpolo for American River College in Sacramento, Ca…just another personal experience to change my life forever…I just forwarded your article to my college coach and friend…what I do today is a reflection of my life’s journey…because of my hard work and dedication as a mother, once a dedicated wife, employee, swimmer…I realized where my determination and commitment came from when I was given the opportunity to swim again with young women 1/2 my age pretty much my sons ages. I could write a book with what it gave back to me. I am so ever grateful for my journey…it was and is never easy, but so far I am enjoying the ride…recently, I took a chance and adventured out to the Central Coast…it’s been a dream move of mine for the past 7 plus years…my priority was to be mentally, emotionally, physically, & spiritually available for my young sons. They are now all adults doing life and they are so proud of me to be doing what I am passionate about… I know they will visit, heck who doesn’t like the ocean :)…with a new year I am grateful to have read this article…I will stand by it 100%! Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Love your story!. I actually dreamed of doing something similar – wanting to play college waterpolo when I was in my 30’s. But, I swam all four years at Furman University and had no eligibility even if I could have walked onto a team. Congrats!


  2. I loved this article. Being a parent of a High School Swimmer here in NY, (the most competitive job market in the country) I am encouraged by the excellent points you bring up and will hand them over to his younger brother and hopes he sees the importance of discipline and commitment. Thank you


    1. Two reasons I would hire a swimmer over a cyclist: 1. You have to use your entire body all the time and it takes incredible control and focus. It is the ultimate multitasking and pacing.
      2. Once you leave the block, there is nothing you can do to another swimmer to make yourself better. Anything that can be done to beat another swimer comes 100% from within. The race is within our lane.


    1. Not sure I agree with the dedication argument, but this article wasn’t really about which requires more sacrifice – it was about who I would want to hire. I am guessing cyclists and swimmers are probably pretty similar personalities though.


  3. While I completely agree that swimmers display tremendous discipline, character and commitment and are great hires, I disagree strongly with your first point.

    When you say swimming requires zero natural ability you are significantly over-emphasizing the training and discipline that is required to exploit the natural talent of the the swimmer. Do you really believe that Michael Phelps didn’t have extraordinary natural ability? As amazingly hard as he has worked, there are elite swimmers who have worked even harder and never came close to his accomplishments as an athlete.

    It is insulting to the athleticism of swimmers to imply that it is a sport that has less requirement for natural potential as an athlete. Some of the best athletes in the world are swimmers, with tremendous natural ability honed by relentless dedication and commitment. Lots and lots of less talented swimmers quit along the way. It is a fairly narrow pyramid at the top of the sport. Many quit because they lacked the natural talent for their efforts to be satisfying enough to continue with the arduous training necessary to compete at a higher level.


    1. Obviously all elite athletes (like Michael Phelps) possess natural ability. However, the point I am making is that swimmers have shown dedication to their sport far beyond most other athletes. Their accomplishments from age-group swimmer to collegiate level athlete is nearly always the result of year-around practices, often twice per day. Natural born superior eye-hand coordination, a pre-requisite for many sports, is not really that important in swimming. What is important is dedication, drive, and determination to out-work all the other kids in the pool and do it consistently for years. As an athlete, I would be proud to rise to the top of my sport based on my work ethic and dedication (less so if I had just been born with a natural gift to shoot baskets or hit a ball).

      This is really a debate over whether a great athlete is born great or becomes great through effort and practice. While both are necessary at the elite level, my belief is that dedication and effort are more important in swimming than in most other sports. I feel confident that when talking to a college level swimmer that this individual worked their butt off for years. I have talked to other college level athletes who only played their sport a couple seasons in high school, and did not put in the hours and dedication of the swimmer. In summary – swimmers almost always have to be more dedicated to succeed. If any swimmer takes this as an insult to their natural born athleticism, I would be surprised!


  4. thank you for this article. My daughter is 20 years old, started swimming when she was 3. She is in her 3rd year in the university taking up Computer Engineering and a member of her varsity team. In between training and her academic requirements, I don’t know where she gets her energy and discipline and yet she and her team mates partied like no other. Hope employer will consider your article and that gives her a big chance later. If not, hire her?


  5. The idea that swimming requires zero natural ability is absolutely false. i’ve swam competitively my entire life and raced most of my generations olympians and there is so so much to be said for natural ability and genetic advantage. Ian Thorpe and his huge feet or Michael Phelps with is larger than normal wing span and ability to process lactic acid at higher rates to name a few. i’ve never met a swimmer that was able to make it at the upper echelon of college or professional swimming who made it based on only hard work with no natural ability. they were all naturally talented.


    1. I certainly agree that athletes in all sports can have some genetic advantages. However, this article is about why I would hire a swimmer. I would hire one because I feel they succeeded based on effort, not because they have big feet. I also like that they typically don’t blame factors beyond their control.


  6. What an amazing article. Having swam at international level some years back, I spent on average, 5 hours a day, 6days a week in the water. There was no money involved, it was just pain, loneliness and determination. Why then? Because as Mark points out, swimmers are unique. We are the physically and mentally the fittest, toughest and most ambitious athletes in the world. Success is what every swimmers personally needs to feed his or her appetite. This makes is quirky, individual and probably the most charismatic people you are likely to come into contact with in your lives. We don’t do second! Second is last! As the saying goes ‘access to success is through the mind’ For all these reasons, this definitely makes swimmers the best people to employ.


  7. I love swim!!! But if you want a real discipline, dedicated, passionate and focus employee then hire a TRIATHLETE…of course I’m one!!! a proud IRON MAN


  8. Thanks for the comments Ren. I also play tennis as my article mentioned. Obviously this was not intended as a scientific study of the 2 sports, but really just a fun way to say that swimmers make great employees!


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