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Swimming to nowhere.

ski diva

Staff member
Now that it's the off season (for me, anyway), I've started swimming laps at my local fitness club.

For me, it's a family tradition. My brother, who's five years older than me, swims a mile several times a week. And my dad, who's 85, swims half a mile three or four times weekly -- without stopping. It's incredible. He's slow, but he's steady as a clock (Lord, I hope I have his genes!).

So I figured, if they could do it, why not me? Hey, I'm in pretty good shape. I've been skiing all winter. Should be a piece of cake!

Let me tell you, it's a workout. I've gone four times so far, and though each time I've managed to do half a mile, I do have to stop for a few seconds every few laps.

My goal is to do it like my 85 year old pop. I'm working on it.


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
The first time I tried swimming for fitness was a couple of summers ago when I lost my job and had lots of time on my hands. I had a membership at a gym that had an outdoor lap pool so I'd go, swim then relax by the pool with a book. But, let me tell you, I had been riding steadily for 3 months by then and by the way I swam you'd think I hadn't done a bit of exercise in years! One thing it really does is teach you to breathe steadily and deeply since you can't just suck wind when you need more oxygen. I actually looked into the rec centers around here last night just to see where I might be able to get some swimming in to add that to my workouts.

ski diva

Staff member
It really is an incredible workout. When I'm done, I really feel like I've done something. I feel really good; like all the cob webs have been blasted out.

Combine that with riding my bike this summer, and I should be in pretty good shape!


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I wish I was a better swimmer. As a kid I was "true" blonde and I ddint' like to be in swimming pools too much cuz it would turn my hair green. I liked to swim in lakes & in the ocean.

But, really...I only swam well enough to get my girl scout badge!

ski diva

Staff member
I'm wearing a swim cap to keep the chlorine out of my hair as much as possible. I'm not blonde, but I know all that chemical can't be good for it.

I wear goggles, too, otherwise my eyes would be a wreck.

It's quite the look! :eyebrows:


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Ah Swimming! I've been doing it for years--off season 6 x per week, 1 mile each time, no breaks, no breathers. It is a fantastic workout--but you need to couple it with biking or some other strength training for skiing! But the best thing about it is it gets your upper body in strength and in tune (those abs, babes!) without (yuck) sweat!.

Now I didn't start being able to go so long. I never had swimming lessons when I was young--I learned to swim by watching the 66 (?) olympics and Mark Spitz--they had underwater cameras and I literally taught myself to swim by watching. Swam a little--and then didn't swim AT ALL for 35 years. So when I got back into the pool, I experienced what some of you do--a few yards (laps? forgeddit!) then massive breathing to recover. A few more yards, etc.

My advice? KEEP DOING IT! Your endurance will improve. Yes, you ski--and ski well. But it's different each time you take up a new sport, which is why it is important to cross-train.

Sorry to be longwinded--but stay with it. The most treasured sight in the pool is that 85 year old--I vow that I want to be "that" 85 year old when I am that age!

Also--swim cap and goggles are a must. I gave up those little swimmer goggles (they hurt the sensitive skin around my eyes, which has grown more sensitive with age). Instead, I use one of these scuba like goggles (no mouth thing, tho)--they are larger (like ski goggles) and protect my eyes without hurting my facial skin. Looks stupid, but this isn't the first time I have looked stupid in my life!

Have fun with it--splash around and you will do wonders for your skiing next year!

ski diva

Staff member
Ah Swimming! I've been doing it for years--off season 6 x per week, 1 mile each time, no breaks, no breathers.
So you're one of those!!!! Wow. I aspire to swim like that. Maybe someday, if I keep at it.

Thanks for the encouragement!


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Yeah, keep up the good work SkiDiva ! I go swimming twice a week and normally do a mile, altho I was quite ill over the winter which really knocked the stuffing out of me and am only just now getting back to my normal distance. I go with a friend and now that it's springtime we've started jogging as well before-hand for the first time ever. Only 15 mins, but gosh that takes it out of me (and her too!), the two of us are puffing & blowing like a couple of steam engines. I guess it's just what you're used to. Still it's amazing how quickly it seems to take to build up stamina for swimming, I'm sure you'll soon be swimming like your brother let alone your old dad :smile:


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Nowhere ?

Ahhh, they way the warm weather is spent ! Yes, I swim. It is one of the reasons besides the 6 stall barn for my horses & my awesome old oaks that I tolerate the tiny old house we bought. A 50 ft lap pool in the yard in the foothills. I have no clue how much or how far I swim. It is rarely swimming to nowhere. Pre-child, it was that wonderful feeling of getting the bones, joints & muscles stretched out & realigned, floating below & above water, stretching the tense muscles & stroking the stress away. Post child, well, we seem to make some adventurous trips around the world. Seems every area of the pool becomes an adventure, new country, a destination & time warp back into history or into the future.or another world. Boats of all sizes, construction, purposes have been floated & sunk in this pool. It is an un-ending adventure & we have been many things, gone many places, raced many races in many ways while submerged in the wonderful sensation of water. It is so very healing & strengthening.
Mr. NVG & I are going to start swimming at our rec center as soon as he gets the go ahead. It's GREAT for the joints and the mind. The pool that I like to swim at has a heated lap pool! HELLO!!! FABULOUS on a rainy summer evening!

I do love swimming.


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I swim at the Y...where the "serious" swimmers overheat because they keep it warm for the arthritis classes! :becky: It doesn't bother me since I'm not a good enough swimmer yet to be expending that much energy! I will say that I am swimming much better than I ever thought I could though. Last summer when I started (because a friend talked me into signing up for a triathlon), I thought I couldn't swim freestyle because I couldn't manage putting my face in the water and turning my head to breathe. Turns out all I needed was a swim cap and goggles (ok, it was probably all mental, but still!). I breast-stroked my entire first tri and the majority of my second one, but I am now able to swim a mile freestyle. Not very fast, but I can do it! Haven't been in the pool for a few weeks, but it's time to start gearing up for tri-season again! I actually am going to take a couple of lessons from one of the swim coaches at DU since I was never formally taught how to swim.

Robyn, the rec centers are a GREAT value, in my opinion. I joined mine last summer because it was so stinking cheap and I needed to swim...I think it was around $40 for three months! Unfortunately, my rec center doesn't have childcare so I had to pony up for the Y. Which I absolutely love, but is WAY more expensive!


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I just got back from Masters swim class. It's butterfly this week, and my shoulders are killing me. I am NOT a stroke swimmer, I am all freestyle. I mostly picked it up again for tris, but I think it's one of my strongest of the three disciplines. I am all about distance though, slow and steady. Speed is not my friend!


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I just got back from Masters swim class. It's butterfly this week, and my shoulders are killing me.
Butterfly is my nemesis - my shoulders are not flexible enough to rotate adequately to do the stroke. And yet as a pre-teen, I swam the IM. Anyway, I enjoy it, but I don't do it enough. One of the reasons is that while it may strengthen muscles and is great for cardio, it doesn't do much for maintaining bone density b/c it's not a weight-bearing activity. I figure, since I've got a limited amount of time for exercise, it makes more sense to me to do an activity that will help me stave off osteoporosis. So...keep up the weight training if you plan on shifting entirely to a swim workout (as opposed to running or aerobics, for instance) for the cardio. Cycling is also another awesome for cardio but crummy for osteoporosis activity. It's such a bummer!


Certified Ski Diva
For those of you that read the New Yorker, check out Lynne Cox's fascinating article (4/21 or 4/14 edition) on swimming parts of the Northwest Passage. Water that's BELOW freezing! Here's her website, if interested: http://www.lynnecox.org/Articles&Interviews.htm

I grew up in Marblehead, Mass, so I can appreciate her description of what it's like to jump into water that makes your entire body go numb. Now I'm a wuss and pretty much stay south of Cape Cod. I LOVE ocean swimming though. Give me waves!


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
One of the reasons is that while it may strengthen muscles and is great for cardio, it doesn't do much for maintaining bone density b/c it's not a weight-bearing activity. I figure, since I've got a limited amount of time for exercise, it makes more sense to me to do an activity that will help me stave off osteoporosis. So...keep up the weight training if you plan on shifting entirely to a swim workout
I came to the same conclusion. I used to swim a lot - I swam varsity in high school and spent about three of my college years doing triathlons. Once I stopped the tris I realized that it was really hard to keep my fitness and strength up by just swimming. You just don't hold the muscle mass and burn the calories that you do with other sports. However, I still think it's a great cross-training tool to give the legs a break and keep the upper body strong and flexible. I'm thinking about getting back into it a little bit this summer once the outdoor pools open. I think it will be really good for my wrist rehab.

Hmm.....running and swimming again. Maybe I should train for another tri.....

ski diva

Staff member
Just thought I'd post an update on where I am with my swimming. I've been going 4 times a week now for about 2 months. When I started, I was doing a half mile (32 lengths) and stopping for about 10 seconds after every four laps. Now I'm stopping less and doing 40 lengths (hey, I've surpassed my 85 year old Dad; see my first post). So there's been some improvement. I'm also doing weights for half an hour before I start swimming. And on days I don't swim I ride my bike.

Gee, if I only ran I could do a tri. But I can't run (bad feet), so I have an excuse. Phew! :becky:


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Hey congrats on your swimming improvement SkiDiva! Hope your poor ole Dad isn't too miffed about being overtaken :eyebrows:

Interesting thought about triathlons - I saw an aquathon when we were on hols this year, which was people swimming & running only. So maybe there is a competition which just has swimming & biking - then you could enter that !

Our outdoor pool opened for the summer a few weeks ago, and it is such heaven to do laps under the summer sun instead of stuck inside. Altho it's hard to concentrate with all the beach balls & lilos flying over your head!


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Actually, I have seen a couple of "aquabikes" out here. There aren't many, but they're out there! Or, you could always just walk the run part. Believe me, there were many many women at my tri today doing just that! :becky:


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Around here there are some run-row-swims, which work out great for the nonbiker like me. There are combined events out there for everyone :smile:

ski diva

Staff member
I am so proud of myself! Today I swam 3/4 of a mile! All because I made an interesting discovery (which I probably shouldn't reveal because it only shows what an idiot I am :redface:): If I swim slower I can swim farther and don't have to stop. :doh:

I guess that's what happens when you attempt things without proper adult supervision! :rolleyes:

I actually could have gone farther, but I didn't want to take the time.

Yay for me!!!:thumbsup:

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