I AM: A Swimmer

I AMWhen I was a freshman in high school I was on the swim team. Just the one year. I needed a fall/winter sport to play since I couldn’t run track (it conflicted with spring soccer). One of my friends convinced me to be on the swim team. I say “be on” because we didn’t have to try out for the team. I was not the greatest swimmer in the world, not even mediocre. My parents, while supportive of my endeavor, had a hard time keeping food in the house. After practice I was so hungry I would literally just pull up to the refrigerator and eat. What I wouldn’t give for 25% of that metabolism.

Swimming is a total body exercise and we swam for about 2 hours a day. Up and down the length of the pool. Your first question might be, what about my hair. I looked just fine most days. But this was high school, I wasn’t trying to look like a model and I didn’t have a professional appearance requirement. I love the water. I love gliding through the water. I didn’t always know how to swim. My Mom signed me up for lessons after I jumped in to the pool one day…not knowing how to swim. That’s me, always going for it.

After graduating from high school I spent the summer working before freshman year of college got started. One of my two jobs was as a swim instructor. I will never forget this little boy who’s Mom didn’t want me as his instructor. She simply wanted a male. We didn’t have too many male instructors. Anyway, after a few weeks of private lessons it’s expected that a student should be able to jump into the deep end of the pool with assistance. That assistance came in the form of me treading water for 15 minutes waiting for him to jump. I also taught two black girls, 15 and 16 years old. Their fear was stronger, but I only had to tread water for five minutes with them.

The point I’m trying to make in a roundabout way is that I was in the best physical shape when I swam regular. You couldn’t pinch an inch on me. I incorporated swimming into my workouts, but find it harder to get to a pool in the city I live in now. My health club had a pool, in my current city most do not. If you want to use a pool you have to join a YMCA or other sports facility to use their pool. It’s not cheap and I don’t want to pay high membership fees just to use the pool. I miss swimming, mainly because of the insane amount of calories I burn. Also, swimming is low impact and versatile. If you have knee, hip or back injuries water aerobics is a great way to get in some exercise. I injured my knee in high school, water exercises was 50% of my rehabilitation plan. Has you build strength and endurance in the pool you can begin to translate it to “ground” work.

And no, my hair didn’t fall off or break off from the chlorine, but I did have to put more effort into taking care of it.



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