I was 16 when I quit swimming. I've had enough with the psycho swimming coach - she would yell at me for really silly reasons on every practice, and I was a sensitive boy. I actually quit swimming once before, at age 10, and returned to it at 13, falling behind all the kids (who didn't quit back then).
With all the yelling I received, I also received compliments about my progress (which was very rare) - I improved my competitive times at a ridiculous rate, starting as the slowest guy and becoming the 2nd fastest guy on the team within a year! That's not the point of the story, but let me brag.
I don't think I'm especially talented at swimming, but I did do something different, I did have a "thing". My parents called me "gifted", but I think every parent thinks their kid is gifted, so I don't know. Swimming wasn't special, but it was where, in retrospect, I used "it" the most. The "thing" that made me good at it is the same thing that made me good in other things in life, and it's called intention.
Intention and focus, in my opinion, can make a difference in a way that strength, experience, and talent sometimes can't. As a "comeback swimmer" falling behind, I had both the intention to become the fastest in the team, but more importantly - make sure every stroke is perfect, in form, in gripping the water, feeling the space between my fingers, applying all the strength, timing my breath and the angle of my body in the water. I did everything with 100% intention, and that, I believe, gave me an edge.
After quitting swimming, I went on to play basketball, and had some similar experiences to that "intentional swimming", but not as intense. While I found other interests and goals in life, I haven't felt th