I run because it’s cheaper than therapy.
I swim because I am good at it. I didn’t say I was fast at it, just that I am good and natural at it. I am comfortable in the water, I feel at one with the water, my mind goes completely blank when swimming lap after lap after lap, focusing all of my energy on the perfect stroke and breathing correctly.
Not everyone is comfortable in the water like I am. Not everyone can swim 2000 yds in the pool without any practice/build-up/endurance training. I would even venture to say that there are some of you who are deathly afraid of being in water over your head.
Do you know how to swim? Do you know what to do if you fell in a body of water where you couldn’t touch the bottom? What about if your child fell in and needed your help?
I started taking swim lessons in third grade and took them for 2 years, until I was proficient in all strokes (thank you mom!). I then went on to join a synchronized swim team (yeah really! think ballet meets dance meets the pool). In college I became certified to teach swimming. I went on to teach hundreds of kids (and some adults) how to swim.
I can vividly remember one lady who was deathly afraid of the water. She had gone through the beginner course and it was now her turn to jump into a deep pool and swim to the side in order to graduate to the next level. She jumped in and never came up. I dove in, saw her SITTING on the bottom of the pool, parallazed with with fear, her muscles and body unable to move at all. I dived down to help her up. As soon as I touched her (more like grabbed her) she went from being frozen with fear to panicking with fear, flailing her arms and legs. She was so scared that she was pushing me down in her effort to get to the surface for air. I grabbed her anywhere I could, putting all my strength into a bear hug around her, and used all the power my legs could give me to bring us to the surface.
I was a mere teenager at the time.
Why am I telling you all of this?
Because it is Summer time and so many Summer activities focus around water, whether it is the pool, the lake, or the beach. You may or may not get in the water. Your children may or may not get in the water. BUT, accidents can and do happen. It’s happened to me (my toddler) before.
If you don’t know how to swim, then I highly encourage you to take swim lessons. You don’t have to know every stroke out there, you just have to be comfortable enough to take care of yourself, to able to help yourself (or someone else) if the occasion should arise.
I joined the Masters Swim Class at the local YMCA. When I joined, I just thought I would get coached workouts and maybe a few pointers on my technique. I have been going to the class now for 6 weeks and it’s so much more than I thought it would be. I LOVE IT! While I originally thought everyone there already knew how to swim and was there for the same reasons as me, I found out that several people didn’t even know how to swim one bit when they joined the class. As everyone else was doing the workouts, they were getting 1×1 instruction from the coach and learning how to swim. How cool is that?
I asked one of the coaches for the top 3 reasons as to why someone should join a Masters Swim Class. She said and I quote:
- Technique- making your swimstroke better
- Interval work- only way you will get faster is by doing interval work, comparable to doing speedwork for running
- Accountability/socialability- getting to know other swimmers
And my personal favorite and a direct quote from me: swimming is an awesome way to exercise. You use your entire body- upper and lower. You never get sweaty and while your muscles might be tired from exertion, there is ZERO pounding on your joints. SCORE!
I really should have made this two posts, but whatever.
Anyhoo, all this to say that I hope that you take the time to look into swim lessons or even a Masters Swim Class if you don’t feel comfortable in the water. Knowing how to swim is SO important. Really.
And now, I will get off my soapbox : ).