In my lifetime, I’ve swum more than 10,000 miles. That’s like swimming from New York City to Cape Town, South Africa, or nearly half the circumference of the earth.

I swam 643,000 laps and took over 9.7 million strokes in 16 different countries. I swam from Asia to Europe in my first cross-continental swim, and I went through way too many caps, swimsuits and goggles to count.

I competed in college, trained through a global pandemic, raced Olympians, and I got to swim with the most incredible human beings all over the world.

Through this journey, I lost weight, gained weight, added muscle, hurt my back, shoulders, and groin. I learned so much about swimming but more importantly, I learned about myself.

I’m going to break down what I’ve learned over the last 10,000 miles of swimming and share some wisdom after logging so many miles in the water.

Challenging Myself

A few years ago, I attempted to swim 100,000 meters in 30 days and failed. I wasn’t ready, didn’t have the foundation, and my body just couldn’t handle that kind of volume.

At first we give it our all, and if we fail, we try again. And that’s exactly what I did.

I re-focused with a new game plan and tried the 100,000 meter challenge again one year later to not only succeed with your support, but we also raised thousands of dollars for the Movember foundation.

I wanted to see how far I could push my body, so I swam one mile every day for 100 days straight

Doing anything for 100 days straight, non-stop, is going to change your body!

Swimming is one of the best things anyone can do for their fitness. It’s low impact, you work every single muscle group. It’s refreshing, fun, and you can do it every single day for the rest of your life. They don’t call it the fountain of youth for nothing!

Working Through Injuries

But it wasn’t all smooth swimming. About a year ago, I hurt my lower back and I was out of the water for two full months.

I couldn’t work out at all, and because I was barely moving, I lost almost 20 pounds of muscle. It took me a full year to recover and swim without any pain.

Related: Recovery For Swimmers: What You Need to Know

But here’s the thing I learned about swimming and the human body. It’s AMAZING!

We can be broken down and feel terrible, but if we can consistently improve, hold a positive mindset, and surround ourselves with people who will support us, we can make incredible, fast progress.

And since returning to the pool after that back injury, I’m swimming almost every day, and I’ve made some of my biggest gains in the water and in the weight room!

After 10,000 miles of swimming, I have an incredible feel of the water, supreme breath control, and a huge aerobic foundation that gives me insane endurance in the water.

Swimming Isn’t a Destination, It’s a Journey

I mean sure, if you’re out in the open water, there’s clearly a destination, but when you zoom out, each workout is just a drop of water in the sea of a swimming career that lasts a lifetime.

I want to swim fast, I want to feel amazing in the water, but some days it just doesn’t happen and that’s ok, because It’s all a part of the journey.

Embrace the days you don’t feel like getting in, and be grateful for the opportunity. Because if you only focus on a specific destination, you miss out on the magic that happens day by day, set by set, and stroke by stroke.

When I was fixated on a specific race, set, or workout, I felt anxious. It’s exhausting to go from event to event in what seems to be an endless circuit of benchmarks.

Setting Swimming Goals

The good news is, you don’t have to do that to enjoy swimming. I do believe it’s good to set goals, specifically SMART goals.

These are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound, but don’t let it consume your life.

I still set SMART goals and go to competitions. But instead of thinking about them as the end all be all of my swimming routine, they’re goal posts to look forward to, sort of like chapters in your own swimming story.

Know Why You Swim

I swim because I feel alive when I’m in the water. It’s the feeling of weightlessness that you can’t get anywhere else, because I know that when I swim, I become the best version of myself and I can inspire those around me to do the same.

Over the last two decades, I’ve met so many incredible people through swimming. From coaches, to teammates, to swim fans, and everyone in between, it’s become very clear that swimmers are awesome!

Related: Learn More About Why I Swim

We are all so different, yet so similar. Regardless of where you’re from, the language you speak, the color of your skin, or your skill level, we are united by one thing: The water.

Water is the great equalizer.

Whether your goal is to go a best time in the 100 meter freestyle or to feel confident enough to snorkel with the fish, we are all united by the water!

It brings us all together, and this is our community!

There’s Always Room for Improvement

One of the things I’ve learned after swimming 10,000 miles, is that you can always be better. In swimming, I like to call it “unlimited potential.”

There are so many things you can improve, regardless of your current ability or your goals.

You can always improve your technique, breath control, feel and, of course, speed.

No matter how fast you are, there’s always room to get better, even if it’s just 1%, do that every day, every week, and you’ll see massive gains over time.

And remember, the human body is incredible.

There’s a reason every world record in swimming is re-broken every few years. There’s a reason so many people start to swim as adults.

That’s why I created the MySwimPro app, because I truly believe that everyone can benefit from having a guided workout at a fraction of the cost of hiring a personal swim coach.

So if you want a personalized workout, and are ready to take your swimming to the next level, download the MySwimPro app on iPhone or Android.

And if you don’t want to improve, that’s fine, because there really isn’t anything like swimming.

The Power of Delayed Gratification

Delayed gratification is the ability to delay an immediate reward for a more favorable one in the future.

You put the work in today, knowing that you’re not going to see any results tomorrow, but you have a belief in the process, that if you can stay consistent and make those small improvements, results will follow in the future.

This is why you jump in the freezing pool at 6am. It’s why you hit the weight room, and why you push your body and mind to the max!

The height of your success is limited only by your conviction to improve. You’re not chasing perfection, you’re looking for progress. And little by little, you start to see results.

Sometimes it gets boring – swimming back and forth can be monotonous.

But you enjoy the process, you set SMART goals and you remember to pursue the journey, not the destination.

And if you want to explore other sports, go for it.

Over the last 10,000 miles, I’ve done five triathlons, tried CrossFit, played water polo, and tried a whole bunch of activities in and around the water. But at the end of the day, I come back to the pool and I swim.

10,000 miles is a lot of swimming, and I’m still going. If you want to follow my journey, subscribe to my YouTube channel or follow me on Instagram.



  1. I love reading about your swimming journey…I am much like you…started keeping track of my swimming miles in January 2007…started off swimming five miles a day six days a week….I am now up to 15,700 miles….to most people…they think that distance is insane…but they are missing the point….it’s not hard to do what you and I do…because while we swim…we are in a deep meditative state of mind….I talk to god…about my entire life….I’ve been married for over 42 years…and Dee is my best friend…I will think about her and how much joy she brings me…and before you know it…I’ve swam another mile….I have to keep track of my distance by both lap counting in blocks of 20….groups of miles…and the clock….Im not breaking records number….swim about a 27 minute mile….my other “hobby” is investing …we do vey well because im not being greedy….and im very good with numbers….it is our thoughts while swimming that make the long distance cardio workout so pleasant….isn’t lif wonderful!

  2. Lorne McDougall on

    Thank you for your article. It made me reflect on my own journey. I used to track everything: running, biking, X Country skiing, swimming. I don’t anymore but enjoy reading,y logs every now and then. Swimming is body feel for me now…the enjoyment of feeling all the parts working, the ease of a flip turn, the grace of a good stroke. But what gets me out most of the time is the people I swim with…the social aspect. I am so lucky to have found swimming and to have been able to swim most of my life.

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