For every fist pump, celebratory air punch, there's a missed qualifying time and a podium place lost by a millisecond.
And it all comes to a head after a championship like the LASAs.
As the LASCAT results were announced last weekend, there were swimmers in tears because they'd just missed a slot in the top 10.
Or they'd been denied a podium place by a few points.
Or they'd watched their mates get medals and they'd gone home with 'just' PBs.
But a word of encouragement:
This year there were swimmers in the club who placed in the top 10 after years of leaving the LASAs empty handed.
But this time, after countless hours in the pool and a determination not to give up, it all came good.
So the message is: keep going. If you're still enjoying swimming, then keep at it. Try hard, have fun training, at galas and at swim meets. And one day, you may get the results you're after.
Remember: if you're trying as hard as you can, what more can you do? You can't do better than your best.
So keep breathing in that choloriney perfume and chin up! (Apart from when you're doing breaststroke and then you should definitely keep your chin down.)