Mike's Mailbag: Considering a Comeback
My sister and I swam division 1 our freshman year of college, then transferred to a club team. We're now 27 and wondering if we can still go best times. Is it selfish to try?
Mike's Mailbag: When Time Drops Stop
I give 100% in practice. I listen and do whatever the coaches tell me. Somehow I never get the times I know I am capable of at meets. Please help.
Mike's Mailbag: Keep Swimming in College, or Move On?
I recently graduated from high school, and I made the decision to swim next year at a smaller NCAA Division III school. I have begun to question whether this is something I really want to do for four more years, or is it time to move on?
Mike's Mailbag: Preventing Breakdown
I'm having a difficult time understanding my body. I'm not sure how long to warm down, or how hard to push myself when coming back from injury. Please help.
Mike's Mailbag: Preparing for the Back-to-Back Race
My main events are the 500 freestyle and the 100 backstroke. I usually only have 5 minutes between events. What can I do to recover quickly?
Mike's Mailbag: Backstroke Bullied
I'm 12 and I love every part of swimming except backstroke. I'm way behind younger swimmers and I don't know what to do. Please help.
Mike's Mailbag: Multiple Sports
I want to swim in college but I have other high school sports I enjoy. Will attempting two sports harm my chances of swimming in college?
Mike's Mailbag: Ready for Action
I am a very cautious person. When it comes to swimming, this is affecting me in a very bad way. Please help.
Mike's Mailbag: Taper and Physical Jobs
I'm working a physical job this summer. How can I do my job and still have a great taper?
Mike's Mailbag: Backstroke Flipping
I am always scared when I do backstroke that I will turn too early and miss the wall. Can you help me?
Mike's Mailbag: Strange Injuries
Recently my daughter dislocated her right shoulder while doing a flip turn during taper. How common is this?
Mike's Mailbag: Frenemies
I am a freshman in high school and I swim on an extremely competitive club team. I would define my teammates as “frenemies”. I'm not sure this dynamic is worth my time. Please help.
Mike Gustafson: Starting Out
The other day, I was interviewed by an elementary school student. He wanted to know if I had any advice for people starting out. I had to think hard.
Mike's Mailbag: Relighting the Flame
I'm a 15 year old from Canada and I've been swimming for the past six years. I've been in love with the sport for years but now my motivation is gone. What do I do?
Mike's Mailbag: Breaststroke Kicking
I am a middle school swimmer and I love all the strokes, especially breaststroke. How can I get better at breaststroke?
Mike's Mailbag: Negativity on the Deck
I am an age group swimmer who has been having issues with a difficult coach recently.
Mike's Mailbag: Returning to One's Old Self
Please let me know what I can do to get back in shape. I really do want to return to swimming now that my back injury is so much better.
Mike's Mailbag: Psyched Out by Psych Sheets
Looking at psych sheets gives me butterflies in my stomach. What can I do?
Mike's Mailbag: Returning to the Team
I quit my college team a year ago and now I want to return. How can I convince my coach I'm serious about swimming?
Mike's Mailbag: To Swim or to Swam?
I’m a freshman in college and I didn't make the team as a walk-on. Now I'm wondering if I should hang up my suit for good? Please help.
Mike's Mailbag: Do I Even Matter?
I'll never be on that record board and I'll never be the one holding that shiny gold medal over my head. Do I even matter to my team?
Mike's Mailbag: The Swimmer Plateau
I just finished my freshman season and I haven't dropped time since I was a junior in high school. I'm frustrated. What can I do?
Mike's Mailbag: Swimming Through Snow Days
What should I do when practice is cancelled due to snow or my parents don't feel safe driving to practice?
Mike's Mailbag: What Is Mental Toughness
I have been swimming for many years, but I never truly understood what it meant to be "mentally tough."
Mike's Mailbag: Compete Against Yourself
I have been swimming since I was four and nationally ranked when I was 10. I'm 17 now and my competitors are much faster then me. What can I do?
Mike Gustafson: The Weight of it All
The other day, a swim mom came into my bookstore and asked, “Should my 14-year-old son do weights?”
Mike's Mailbag: Dealing with Unkind Teammates
I am a senior swimmer and have been struggling to continue wanting to swim because of unkind teammates. Can you give me any advice?
Mike's Mailbag: Forward Thinking
I have my two last high school championship meets coming up within the next month. I have worked hard in a lot of the practices, but, admittedly, not all of them. How can I stop second guessing my training?
Mike's Mailbag: Coming Back
At the beginning of the swim season, I had to stop because of my health. I have been out of the water for almost five months. I'm really excited to get back to training, but how can I not feel so discouraged when training?
Mike's Mailbag: Only You
I've been swimming for eight years now and I'm thinking about quitting. I'm not enjoying practices anymore and I only like swimming races. What should I do?
Mike's Mailbag: Take Control Over What You Control
I am a freshman swimmer at a D1 program and find myself struggling to keep up with the rest of the group. I feel like my presence on the team is inconsequential. What can I do?
Mike's Mailbag: Thinking Through Overthinking
Lately I have been having so much trouble during meets due to my ability to completely overthink a race. How can I change my mindset?
Mike's Mailbag: Just Keep Kicking
I've been swimming for a while now and I'm near the front of the age group except when we do kick sets. Can you give me some tips to improve my kicking?
Mike Gustafson: Conquering Morning Practice Cold
There’s no cold quite like Morning Practice Cold. It’s a cold that permeates your clothes, your skin, and your bones.
Mike's Mailbag: Advice for Swim Parents
All swim parents love their kids and hate to see them struggle and be disappointed. Any words of wisdom-besides hug them/love them? Which we do daily!
Mike's Mailbag: Give Your New Coach a Chance
A few weeks ago my coach told me that this was his last season. I need some advice on how to move past and accept this huge change in my swimming career.
Mike Gustafson: For This I'm Thankful
When I dive in, my heart pumps. Underwater, I listen to it. The faster I go, my heart beats louder, like a drum. In these empty, weightless waters, with each stroke, with each length, the beat gets louder. For this, I’m thankful.
Mike's Mailbag: When You Don't Accomplish Goals
I'm a sophomore in high school and I've dedicated my life to swimming since third grade. I've faced the harsh reality that I'm not fast enough to swim in college and now I'm wondering if there's a point to all this?
Mike's Mailbag: Taking Ownership of Practices
I like to count up the yardage and write down times from practice. I feel like it keeps me accountable. My coach thinks this makes me too obsessed with yardage. Please help.
Mike Gustafson: 5 Ways to Avoid Illness
As I type this blog, flu medicine rests near my keyboard, a sports drink in my hand, and a blanket is by my chair. Cold and flu season is upon us, and even lowly swim writers are prone to fever and chills.
Mike's Mailbag: When You Don't Get Along with Teammates
The members of my team are some of the most judgmental people I've ever known. Recently I've distanced myself from the team and now I feel completely left out in the cold. Any advice on what I should do?
10 Ways Swimmers Can Get More Sleep
If dogs are man’s best friend, then sleep is a swimmer’s best friend. Swimmers are constantly chasing sleep. We crave it. We need it. We demand it.
Mike's Mailbag: Finding Relevancy in Swimming
Lately I've been really struggling in deciding if swimming is right for me. How do I decide when it's time to give up swimming and move on to bigger better things?
Mike's Mailbag: That Swimmer Guy
I have been swimming since I was six years old and have loved it. Last spring, I injured my shoulder and since returning to the pool, swimming doesn't bring me happiness like it used to, and I'm confused about what to do next.
Mike Gustafson: Using Fear as Motivation
A week ago I wrote a post entitled “Lighten up, Swim Parents!” but “Swim Parents” aren't the only adults in the swimming community who need to “lighten up.”
Mike's Mailbag: Plight of the Zombie Swimmer
Dear Mike: Just recently I’ve started swimming on a USA Swimming club. In the past, I’ve always been able to stay on top of my schoolwork and keep up with it, but lately it’s been a bit challenging. I haven’t exactly been keeping up with work, and I struggle to finish it every night.
Mike Gustafson: Lighten Up, Swim Parents!
I’m not a fan of cliché stereotypes that begin with, “There are two types of parents in the world…” but there are definitely two types of parents in the swimming world: The parent that builds, and the parent that breaks.
Mike's Mailbag: Three Easy Tricks to Stay Refreshed
Last week, I skipped one practice and went back in the pool the next day feeling really refreshed and went a best time! How do I get that refreshed feeling every day without skipping a practice?
Mike's Mailbag: Exhaustion from Worrying
I have been swimming on a winter swim team since I was about 8 and loved swimming. I am 12 now and this year I was invited to join a more advanced group. Now I realize it is really tiring me out. What can I do?
Mike's Mailbag: Lessons I Learned from Losing
Believe it or not, when your kid finishes last he or she might actually learn something about themselves that you can’t teach or read in a book.
Mike's Mailbag: Conquering Mental Block
My goggles fell off during my best event and I can't seem to get over the mental block that now happens almost every time I hit the water in the 200 free. How can I beat this mental block?
Mike's Mailbag: Burning Out on a New Team
I have recently started swimming on my new college team. And I am slowly feeling more and more like I made the wrong decision by choosing this college. How do I get the passion I had in high school back?
The Future of College Swimming and High School Swimmers
A few weeks ago, I spoke with a college swim coach who told me something horrifying, although not unsurprising. We were discussing the potential unionization of collegiate athletes, and possibly the ramifications extended to non-revenue Olympic men’s sports, like NCAA swimming. “Collegiate swimming might not even exist in 10 years,” he said.
Mike's Mailbag: College Questions
I'm a junior in high school and definitely want to swim in college. The problem is, I don't know where to start looking.
Mike's Mailbag: The Eat Real Food Diet
Can you give some advice on ideal eating? What I want to know are good foods and correct size portions. This way, I can cut out unneeded food.
Mike's Mailbag: Practice to the Fullest
Last summer I had a knee injury and I couldn't swim for about 4 months. Now that I'm back in the water, how do I regain my confidence level and how do I push myself to work hard and to actually try my hardest?
Mike's Mailbag: Picking a College
I am about to enter my final year of high school. I have narrowed my school choices down to three and I am stressing about what school to sign with.
Mike's Mailbag: The College Decision
Every Monday I answer questions from swimmers around the country. If you have a question, please email me at email@example.com.
Mike's Mailbag: Confidence Before a Big Meet
I’m reaching out to you because I am 8 days out from the most important meet of my career to date. I had been throwing down nasty pace times so that I could get my first Senior Nationals cut. But about two days ago, my body started falling apart.