When you get in the pool, you sink. So you start beating your arms and legs around like crazy, inching forward and trying like hell not to drown.
The guy in the next lane is going much faster than you, so you assume that he's just a lot better at beating his arms and legs around than you are. But one day, you realize that he's not beating his arms and legs around at all. He's found a different way to play the game. A way to work with an element that should by all rights kill him. A way to stay balanced and graceful after fatigue and panic set in. A way to enter an alien environment and instantly become a native.
The day you realize these things may be the most important day of your life.