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Why You Should Try Swimming

When was the last time y’all tried swimming? As someone who just picked it up in the last few years, I highly recommend it. It’s oddly calming once you figure out the whole breathing thing.

When I was a kid, I went to public school where swimming lessons started in the second grade. My mom, a true gem, knew I wanted to swim with the rest of my class. She went above and beyond to make the experience comfortable for me. She came to school a few days before our first swim session to explain to a room full of 8 year olds why they shouldn’t lose their minds when their friend took off her leg in front of them. Clearly, she said it with more decorum than that.

I learned how to swim, but I wasn’t good at it, and I definitely was never someone who willingly swam laps in the years following. 😂

Fast forward to just a few years ago, and 6 weeks before my first competition, I found out we had to open water swim. When I tell you my butt hadn’t swam a single lap since high school, I am being quite literal (and even then, pretty sure I swam laps like twice in my life). Even so, I knew I didn’t have much of a choice. I signed up for a membership at the Y, took my butt to the pool, and dropped myself in with zero plan. Basically I just wanted to assess the damage – I was in good shape, I couldn’t be THAT bad at swimming, right?

Turns out, I was bad. Real bad. I couldn’t make it down a SINGLE 25m lap. ONE LAP. Nada. I had work to do.

The amount of anxiety I experienced leading up to the swim event at the competition…holy smokes, I had nightmares. But I did it. I was slow as ever, but I made it, and I was so very proud of that fact.

I love swimming now, and I’ve worked very hard to get to that point. For a long time I dreaded my sessions at the pool. It’s also the only time I’ve trained primarily without a coach. I’ve had a few sessions where I took pointers and coaching from someone, but for the most part, I learned through Youtube videos and a whole lot of stubbornness. With time, I came to love the alone time. It almost never fails that at the start of the session, I feel tired and the laps feel monotonous. At some point, my heart rate usually spikes and I convince myself that I can’t finish. However, every single time I focus on one stroke at a time, breathing slowly and methodically, my body relaxes. I regain a feeling of control, and I find peace in the silence and rhythm of being underwater.

All that to say, swimming has taught me a lot about regaining control and peace in the midst of fear. Plus, it’s nice to know that I’m way less likely to die if I ever happen to unexpectedly find myself dropped in a body of water. What a nice feeling.

Anyway, you should take up swimming. 10/10 recommend.

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