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Dealing with Transition


Often, you have known your mates since pre- or early teens but suddenly, non selection, finances or an injury has changed everything.  You aren’t around them day in/day out & don’t understand the funny # on Instagram or twitter.

It may be a positive!! And a relief for you not having to make the decision & move on with the rest of your career.

Working with the ASA, advisors, mentors, study, work experience, face to face social networks outside sport and other interests can help when you stop swimming, but it is not always smooth sailing.

If you feel like you are known only by your sporting success…eg you might introduce yourself as “a swimmer”, finding out what to introduce yourself as now, can be confusing.  

Some people say they aren’t sure of their ‘label’ and can feel a bit lost, talking to loved ones, experts and those in various industries can help.

You get a job straight away and things are going well, but you find it unusual not to have to go training.  You’re used to experiencing constant feedback and that doesn’t always happen in the workplace.  You aren’t sure how you’re going, when you’re used to be completely on top of everything you do.

You may be angry.  You may be embarrassed or you may feel that you have let your family, friends or even fans down in some way.  This is all normal, however, very unlikely to be the case.  Most will just be a bit sad not to be able to watch you swim anymore.

Injuries can be a long term and painful reminder of what you “were”.  You may be aware of anniversaries “I hurt my shoulder this time last year”, “ Nationals always remind me of when I just missed the team.”

You might be a bit lonely – the people that you saw or spoke to every day aren’t around anymore.  If you have been injured, you may feel ‘stuck’ and frustrated at not being able to do what you want to do.

Severe injury can have significant emotional impact on you and/or your family.  You might feel anxious, scared of what the future will hold and/or have low esteem.  You might just know that you’re ‘not right’.

Alcohol and drugs may seem appealing to cover the physical and mental pain.  However, you know this isn’t likely to be the case and it may be time to seek help if you think it is getting out of control.

Everyone reacts differently and there is no right or wrong way to behave.  Your reaction could be influenced by your age, family background, social skills, living environment, partner and many more things.

Maintaining a positive attitude can also be difficult (and exhausting) if you have to rely on others for assistance – eg: driving if injured.  It is easy to think “no one understands” when in fact, a lot of people do – it’s worth the effort to call a mate and go for a coffee or catch up.

Someone once said that retirement from swimming can be like being dumped……you can have a ‘broken heart’.  It sounds a bit funny, but it’s not really far from the truth,

You could not control the selection or injury but you can control how you respond.  Your attention to training can often assist you in working out what the next stage is – planning, preparation, communication can all help.

A key message is “Just talk about it”, don’t stew about ‘things’ or worry unnecessarily,

Although you may not be swimming anymore, the ASA can help.  We are also able to put you in touch with other retired swimmers or networks who maybe able to help you through some tricky times. 


Relationships Australia

Relationships Australia provides a confidential counselling service

Phone: 1300 364 277 (9am-5pm)


24hr counselling service

Ph: 13 11 14


24hr counselling service

Ph: 13 11 14

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