Saturday, December 19, 2009

Why We Swim

Why do you swim? Simple. Plain. Easy. Right?

Most of us know why we swim, but when asked to communicate these reasons, many of us struggle. To some, the question begs an answer larger than "to stay fit" or "because I do triathlons." Compiled here are a number of responses collected by U.S. Masters Swimming.

"I swim because I feel more connected to who I am and awake for the day."

"I swim because in this technological age, the pool is one spot where the phone doesn't ring, email ding, nor children SING my name at the top of their lungs!! It is one of the last bastions of quiet in a crazy, hectic world ... (the longer the distance, the better!)."

"I am a swimaholic. I tell myself it is a good addiction. However, my hair is wrecked, my skin is dry, I get too much sun, I'm tired by 4:00 in the afternoon, and I itch. I smell like chlorine when I sweat and my shoulders hurt if I lay on my side at night. I look forward to my workout before I get there and I think about how great it was when I am done. It is my time. I swim because I can and I will keep swimming until I can't. I do it because I love it."

"I swim because it's the ‘sanity' in my stressful life. When I am in the water I am in the present moment. Swimming is the thing I love doing the best in my life. I am safe and at peace in the water."

"To stay alive for my kids. I got married very late, have three young children and would love to see them all graduate at least from high school."

"You ask why I swim? It began when a friend invited me. I went because I have always loved the water. It continued because it calms me and helps me to sleep at night. It's my meditation time just for me and I love it!! I love the opportunity to improve with the help of coaches. One serendipity is that I have lost three sizes due to the swimming."

"When you dive into the pool and the water washes over you it washes away everything else that is going on in your life. That first rush invigorates your body, mind and soul. The water offers you the quiet solitude that keeps you sane. Masters is the place where you make friends with people you would otherwise have never met. You become a network of support for each other. You will form bonds that go way beyond the pool. Your coach will push you to go farther and faster than you ever thought you could, simply because he believes in you."

"I swim because I love the water. I was a diver and loved the adrenaline rush associated with falling, flipping and twisting with a grand finale of slicing through the cool water. It's funny, when you are standing on top of a platform, no matter how many times the announcer says, "Please remain quiet for the competitors," the pool and its surrounding area is composed of a million little sounds and noises, but the minute you enter the water there is an immediate quiet that has the power to separate you from the rest of the world. When I finished my diving career, I never thought I'd experience that feeling again. I was terrified that I'd lose the memory. Well, I did experience the power of the water again and it happened in my first Masters meet. I stood on the block and I could hear everything from the ticking of the clock to the person on the pool deck opening a granola bar wrapper. There was noise all around me, but as soon as the beep went off, I dove in and it was quiet, still. I do like staying in shape, but my love of swimming is the initial plunge into the water. I continue to swim because I long for that feeling of the loud chaos of life mixed with nerves quickly quieted by the cool calmness of the water. Sometimes I find it at practice, other times it takes a race. Swimming, to me, is like living in a memory. Whether it is my memories from diving or being 7 years old at the old country club, I love to dive into the water and "be" wherever and whenever I choose. Swimming takes me out of noisy reality and places me in my most favorite places and times."

So, this seemingly straightforward question is no longer as simple as originally intended. The responses remind us that there is not one single reason that we all swim. We each have our own motivation, reasons and purpose for doing what we do.

So, why do I swim?

I swim because it challenges my mind, body and spirit. It enables me to work off the stress and demands of parenthood... of homeschooling... of life. I am a better person because I swim; because I stay fit. I am a firm believer in life-long learning and if I want my children to do the same, I must embody it myself. I want to be a good role-model for them. Besides, it's fun!

Why do you swim?


  1. I love to swim. I'm not sure I would swim so much if it wasn't for triathlon, but since I'm NEVER going to quit tri-ing, I don't have to worry about :-)

    I love the feeling of gliding through the water effortlessly. It's another excuse to get lost in my thoughts. My mind is dark scary place, and I enjoy going where no man has gone before! Ha!!

  2. Wes - You rock! Thank you for being you & for continuing to read my blog. :)


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