Here’s What It Actually Takes To Be An Olympic Swimmer

Basically, swim a lot, weightlift a lot, eat a lot, rest a lot.

It seems like Olympic swimming sprinters are actually superhuman.

It seems like Olympic swimming sprinters are actually superhuman.

For example, to qualify for the 2016 Summer Olympics, they have to be able to swim the length of a pool in about 23 to 26 seconds. That's 50 meters — or a few feet longer than the length of a football field — in LESS THAN 30 SECONDS, PEOPLE.

Tom Pennington / Getty Images

So, how the heck do they do it?

So, how the heck do they do it?

BuzzFeed Health talked to Jessica Hardy, Olympic gold medalist and ambassador for USA Swimming Foundation Make a Splash, to find out how elite swimmers stay in shape and prepare for Olympic competition.

Hardy specializes in backstroke and freestyle, holds a total of 28 international medals, and has broken 12 world swimming records. NBD.

Instagram: @www.instagram.com/usaswimming/?hl=en / Via instagram.com

For starters, they basically live in the pool.

For starters, they basically live in the pool.

Hardy says a typical training schedule is working out in the pool twice a day, six days a week. There are “not enough hours in the day for how much we train,” she says, because they need to have enough time to first do a pool workout, recover from it, and then swim again in the afternoon. To fit it all in, swimmers start their days as early as 4 a.m.

Instagram: @www.instagram.com/usaswimming/?hl=en / Via instagram.com

And pool workouts are intense AF.

And pool workouts are intense AF.

Sprinters' workouts focus on developing their power and speed in the water. They might sprint while hooked up to a power rack, a device that adds resistance as they move through the water so that they have to work ever harder to keep going. They also do kick sets to work their legs and pull sets to isolate their arms. They work on controlling their breath with hypoxic workouts, which require them to limit their breathing or hold their breath altogether.

Instagram: @swimone13 / Via instagram.com


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