Swimming Fool

6 Sep

By my title, I don’t mean to suggest I love swimming or that I’m an excellent swimmer. It’s just that anyone using the pool at the gym where I go might wonder, “Where did that woman learn to swim?” and they would think it in a pitying way as they glide on by at two or three times my pace. I can almost hear it: “Who’s that fool in the pool?”
Such is my glorious skill at windmilling my arms, flutter-kicking my legs and twisting my torso. Not. I struggle to swim with good form, to be a regular Amy Van Dyken (she’s a radio personality here in Phoenix now, BTW). But it really bubbles down to my breathing — I love the feeling of being in the water, yet I can’t embrace it to the extent of putting my face down and swimming in a perfect horizontal plane. Instead, my head keeps sticking up like a little kid’s floatie.
At least I’m trying. I typically swim for 20 minutes, and on some days I’m actually pretty energetic about it. Then I reward myself with 10 minutes in the Jacuzzi.
So a quick look at swimmingbenefits.com (that was my google phrase — I didn’t actually expect a site with that name, but there you go …) helps me feel better about my flailing attempts at aquatics:
It’s low-impact exercise; it helps your heart; it’s a good calorie burner if you swim hard enough; it builds lean muscle; and one study says it helps you live longer. I especially agree with what the site says about mental benefits: to swim right, you have to focus on your form and your breathing and maintain a rhythm. There are few distractions as you swim in your lane, and the water is like your protective bubble. “Swimming is like a form of mediation,” the site says. Of course, the word is “meditation.” But I get the idea, and I like it — enough so that I refuse to be embarrassed about my less-than-sleek swimming style.

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