I often tell people that as a swimmer I make a great runner.
That doesn't mean that I can't swim, I've been able to swim for as long as I can remember. I swam squad for a few years and was involved in Surf Lifesaving between the ages of 6 and 16.
Steven is not the best swimmer. He had a scuba diving ticket once and grew up on a farm so he needed to be able to swim to save himself should he fall in the dam. Having a pool probably helped too.
Regardless of either of our swimming ability making sure that our kids learned to swim has always been high on our agenda. The lack of year round swimming lessons in both of the mining towns we lived in was always a point of frustration for me so it didn't take long for us to get the kids enrolled in swimming lessons after we moved.
Fortunately we are lucky enough to live close to an amazing pool facility and the swimming program they run is fantastic. It has been great watching the kids progress.
Twelve months ago L and C were both water confident and able to swim a lap or two of freestyle, maybe. A couple of weeks ago C blew me away when I took her lap swimming for the first time and she knocked out a full kilometre. Massive proud Mummy moment!
S was pretty keen on the water but his swimming ability was mininmal. Generally speaking he was not confident at all in the ocean. J thinks she can do anything and as a 2 year old starting out was pretty sure that she already knew how to swim in the pool. Now and nearly 4 she is ready to start learning proper stroke technique, can torpedo a fair distance and her dog paddle is getting pretty impressive.
Joining the pool gave me the opportunity to take up lap swimming again.
Back at the start of February I swam in the Brighton Jetty Classic 1500m Open Water swim. Ocean swimming is obviously not something new to me, but I quickly discovered that swimming south to north was. I only breathe on my right hand side which is fine for weekly surf races, which always run south to north (or left to right). Note to self: learn to breathe on my left before next year.
It took me a touch over 42 minutes. I might have been a bit faster if I hadn't fallen over the first 5 times I tried to stand up. I must have looked hilarious. Ocean swimming does that to my balance. Like I said, as a swimmer I make a great runner but even so there are plenty of great reasons to include swimming as a regular activity.
- Swimming might not be the best thing for a heart racing cardio vascular workout but keeping on going at a steady pace for 30 minutes+ is great for fat burning.
- Swimming uses most of the muscles in your body, and is low impact because you have the water to support your weight. I will start including a 45 minute recovery swim in my weekly training program again very soon. As well as the fact you are moving it is a great way to stretch out your muscle soreness.
- Swimming yourself is a a great way of modelling behaviour to your own kids. If you have never learnt to swim properly there are plenty of adult programs available.
- Swimming is a fun activity for the whole family and there are plenty of amazing indoor and outdoor facilities around Australia. Pack a healthy lunch and make a day of it.
- Being a competent swimmer opens you up to a whole range of activities that you might not be able to do otherwise. Think snorkelling, stand up paddleboarding, kayaking, diving and waterskiing just to name a few.
- Besides pool swimming there are surf clubs on the beaches all around Australia. Getting your kids involved (next summer) as nippers will give you plenty of opportunity to be involved as a parent and it is a great way to meet new friends.
Are you a swimmer? If not would you learn as an adult? Did you swim squad as a kid and can't bare the thought of ever smelling like chlorine ever again?