The last two months I have spent a lot of time in the water. I’m not exactly sure what prompted my consistent return to the pool, but I’m loving it. I started swimming at the age of six on my country club swim team. It was pure summer fun. Swim team got to be at the pool before it opened to everyone else. We felt like the cool kids. I got to swim every weekday during the summers. How cool is that? Well, excitement about the water changes as you get older, better and more competitive. No matter what though, despite all the complaining swimmers do, we have a deep love for the water even if has been years since any kind of real training.
After we realized that my sister and I had a little (and I do mean little) talent in the water and interest in pursuing it as more of a sport, we started swimming for our local YMCA team. It didn’t take long until we moved to the competitive club team Kerr McGee when I was in fourth grade. My sister was like a prodigy in the water. I could beat her for a very short time, but after about nine years old that ship had sailed. She ended up swimming in college and I ended my swimming career as a decent high school swimmer who was on two State Championship teams. Those were some of the best times of my growing up years!
I spent a lot of time in the water growing up, but it doesn’t even compare to what college swimmers go through. It is a whole other level of dedication. Our practices lasted two hours. We swam anywhere from 5,000 to 6,500 yards or meters (depending on the pool) each practice. We were in the water six days a week. The big timers hit up two a days during the week. That means they swam over 10,000 yards or meters a day. That was not me. During the summers we were at the pool at 6AM. Going back to school was great because I got to sleep in again.
Once a swimmer “retires” it takes awhile to get the urge to get back in the water. Swim practice is awful, although I’m bound and determined my children will at least attempt to be swimmers. That kind of pain builds a lot of character. The best part was always goofing off with the other swimmers in your lane and taking far too long in the locker room after practice comparing school life, talking about boys, playing pranks and whining about awful swim sets. Trust me….it isn’t something you jump back into quickly once you get to leave, but you kind of always miss it.
So here I am just over twelve years after my last competitive swim meet and I’m finally excited about being back in the water. Sure, I have been swimming since I finished high school. I would go to the pool here and there maybe once a month. However, for the last two months I’ve been in the water twice a week. One day a week I swim actual sets with a semi challenging pace. The other day I use as “active recovery” and try to cover around a mile any way I can in around thirty minutes.
I’ve taken a few of my fellow CrossFitters to the pool and I’m excited they are showing interest! Sure it takes some time to get into the groove if you are new to the sport, but once you get comfortable it will be one of the most peaceful ways to exercise. I look forward to that first push-off the wall each time I jump in the water. It is quiet and for a few moments I feel like the swimmer I was when I was 17. Of course, then I take a few strokes and quickly remember I’m not anywhere close to where I used to be.
Mile Workout Example: (time denotes set interval)
200 M warm up. Alternate between freestyle and backstroke.
6 x 50 M (1:00) . Specialty stroke first 25, freestyle second 25.
200 M Free (3:30) , 150 M Free (2:45) , 100 M Free (1:45) , 50 M Free (1:00)
Kick Set; 8 x 25 M (:45)
2 x 100 M I.M (2:00). (25m Fly, 25m Backstroke, 25m Breaststroke, 25m Free)
100 M easy cool down swim.
I love that I smell like chlorine a few days a week. I like walking into the locker room and “suiting up”. I like talking to the other swimmers in the pool and not feeling pressure to not get lapped. I like having my own lane, but I miss making faces at my friends during flip turns. I’m calling out all my old swimming friends…come swim with me. You know you miss it…just a little.
P.S. I qualified for The American Open at a recent oly meet. More on that in a later post. Hooray!