My Relationship with Swimming

I love being in the water.  Seriously, my little facebook thingy under my profile picture says “just add water” — and it’s true, that’s when I’m at my happiest.

With my dad a "few" years ago

I learned how to swim when I was 2 years old, and was in swimming classes until around 8 or 9 years old, when our swim coach kept getting upset that I wouldn’t show up for the weekend swim meets and was threatening to downgrade me to a lower level.  (I have ALWAYS hated competing while swimming, it caused too much anxiety not knowing if I was winning or not until the end.)  My mom finally took me out of the classes and later said it was time anyway, since girls that keep on swimming when their body is developing tend to end up with very wide shoulders and back (the so called swimmer’s body, which looks way more attractive in men!).

I spent my childhood swimming here! Always a fish...

By the way, if you think learning to swim when you’re only 2 is young, my brother actually learned when he was 8 months old — we don’t have it on camera, unfortunately, but we do have videos of my mom throwing him from a 3 meter diving board into the deep water and him swimming to the side when he was just short of 2 years old.  It’s too cute!

With my brother at the club we used to swim at. The stairs to the diving board can be seen on the upper right corner of the picture.

When I first moved to the DC area from NYC metro, I was giddy with excitement that not only I lived in a building with a pool, but I could actually afford a gym with a lap pool.  I started swimming again after years and years away.  At first it was hard, I would swim 25 or 50 meters and have to pause to catch my breath.  But within a couple of months I was swimming a mile to a mile and a half at least 4 days a week.  I kept it up for a year.

When I first moved back to DC and was super excited to have a pool in my building!

Then I found that DC also had another thing I loved:  VOLLEYBALL!  So between doing my lone swim laps or hanging out with a crowd, making new friends while I played volleyball for 4 hours straight 5-6 days a week (really not exaggerating, I was obsessed), I chose volleyball.  This was right after I got dumped by my boyfriend when he moved out of the country to work for the State Department in Poland (a very good decision he made at the time — a long distance relationship for that long and that far would have ended badly, he decided to end right after his move when he realized that it would be unfair to either of us to try it.  He is now – I think – happily married and they just had a baby girl).  Anyway…  I was in NEED of new friends.  I gave up swimming and didn’t regret it once.

I keep saying that I want to get back at it, specially now that my volleyball schedule died down a bit (and I just left my league last month, since marathon training is taking too much of my free time), but I never actually seem to get myself out there.

On Sunday, while lounging at our pool, I approached a random neighbor who was swimming and asked if she wanted to join me for laps during the week — I just needed something to make me get out there.  After such a long time away, I was hesitant to start again.  She was up for it, and we made a pool date for tonight.  The forecast tonight sucked though, so she canceled, but as soon as I got home from my run from work, I rinsed the sweat off, put on my swimsuit, and out I went!

Our building's pool

It was even better that the finger lap counter I bought online on Sunday, arrived on the mail today!  I couldn’t find my old one (not that the battery would still be good), so it was great to have it (I get so lost in my own thoughts while swimming that I always lose count).

At first, I had to take a break after every 100 meters…  Then I decided to swim the way I used to 4 years ago (not the proper way of swimming but helps defeat boredom and keeps me from tiring out):  out freestyle (front crawl) and back breaststroke.  After doing that, I didn’t have to take a break once.  I was so in peace with myself.  Plus my favorite part of swimming is the flip-turn (yes, I’m still a kid), so I get to do it going on both directions!  (You won’t ever see me talking about backstroke — I’ve hit my hand on the edge of the pool way too many times so I hate it!  Specially since the pool doesn’t even have flags, so I won’t even try it…)

Unfortunately, it started to rain and the lifeguards closed down the pool.  I was hoping on using these for some leg drills with dolphin kicks, but didn’t get a chance to.  (They’re great for working out the quads, so I highly recommend them.  Plus, I have long lost ago lost my core strength to cross a pool swimming butterfly, but this gives me just enough “oomph” that I can pull it off.)

I checked how many laps I had done and did the math:  I swam 900 meters today!  Not much, but definitely great for my first time out in years.  It’s probably a good thing the lifeguards kicked me out, otherwise I would have easily been there for an hour.  I’ll definitely be sore tomorrow.

I was surprised I was not once out of breath.  Hmmmm, all this running might be keeping me in good shape…

I went home super happy and couldn’t stop talking about it with Karl!

I really need to start learning how to take better pictures of myself. But I was so freaking happy, it didn't matter. Plus, I'm sparing you the goggles with swim cap picture, now THAT is scary. (It really is just a matter of time until I posted it here though, let's face it...)

Now let’s hope I keep up with it (I’d be stupid not to, I loved every minute of it).  Maybe I’ll finally get those toned arms and shoulders just in time for the wedding?

How do you feel about swimming?  Do you use it for cross training with running at all?


Filed under Cross Training, Pictures, Swimming

13 responses to “My Relationship with Swimming

  1. I have never learned how to swim, and I wish I would have. I can barely doggy paddle well enough to stay above water! I enjoy being in a pool, but I’m not talented at all.

    I’m glad you revisited your love! I can tell you really, really enjoyed it!

    • In Rio everyone learns early (plus the swimming classes were free for the club members). I’m going to make sure my kids learn super early too — I remember spending my childhood in the pool and the beach, and my parents never having to worry whether we’ll drown. I want to be one of those parents!

  2. Rachel

    Aww, I love my broad shoulders and back! It’s one of my favorite features of my body, because it screams, “I’m a swimmer!!” Started when I was 2 and competed until I was 18. I still do tri’s to get the bug of swimming out, but I’m like you, Just add water. It’s such a haven 🙂

    • That’s a good point! Even with all the running, the biking, the volleyball playing, the only thing my body ever screamed is “couch potato!” Sadly, the friends I have that do absolutely no exercise look way more athletic than I do… *sigh*

  3. I love swimming too! It’s the best part about the tri. 🙂
    Glad you are getting back into it since it seems you love so.

    Thanks for the tips on blog! I really appreciate all the help for the bike. I’ll take all I can get.

    • I would also think is the best part of a tri — but most people are so scared by it! (Said that, I’m great at following the black line of the pool… If I swim in open water, I bet I’d go in a completely different direction as everyone else…)

  4. I’m jealous of your pool!
    I’m usually stuck swimming in our county pool — indoors and kinda dark, with not-great locker room facilities. It’s often crowded at the times I want to swim. I’m lucky when I don’t have to share a lane!

    I’ve only managed to swim regularly during late spring/summer while triathlon training. I always say I’m going to keep it up but it never happens 🙂

    • I really love my building’s pool! It’s not usual to have lap lanes… Too bad it closes after labor day 😦

      I never liked the county pools here either, they’re always so crowded and the locker rooms are sketchy!

  5. Love this!!! I am hitting the pool in the morning for some cross training 🙂

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