“Associate track” is not a bad metaphor, but we’re all sick of it. And for every lawyer-runner who finds the phrase harmonious with his or her whole being, there’s another lawyer who’s more into Frisbee or chess. In search of the perfect sports metaphor for associate life, I sought out America’s most impressive and bizarre associate-athletes.

Nancy Hogshead-Makar, who won three gold medals at the 1984 Olympics, compares lawyering to “swimming upstream.” Hogshead-Makar, who is building a Title IX practice at Holland & Knight L.L.P. in Jacksonville, Fla., has a specific stream in mind: the beetle-infested, slime-choked Itchnatucknee River. While training for the Olympics, she’d swim against the chilly current, amid “a thundering herd of 50 world-class swimmers, kicking up silt.”