Why Do You Swim?

I’ve seen articles recently attempting to explain why people run, because to non-runners, running looks like hard-work and couldn’t possibly be enjoyable.

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What about swimming, though? Does swimming look like a fun activity? Is it something that non-swimmers would like to do? I know a lot of people who have no interest at all. Some of them can’t swim and therefore won’t attempt to. Other people are too embarrassed by their physique to be seen in speedos. Others say they would like to go swimming, but don’t have the time, money or access to a pool.

Tonight I returned to Kakamigahara pool which had been closed for four months for repairs. Over the winter, I did my swimming at the pool in neighboring Seki, and Friday nights were usually pretty quiet. I often had a lane to myself there. In Kakamigahara, on the other hand, the pool was full, and not with elderly people or school kids. No, every lane was taken by athletic young men, like me! Haha!

It made me wonder what would motivate a man to go swimming on a Friday night? When I was in my twenties I was out drinking every weekend. I would never even contemplate going to a pool to grind out 1500m of freestyle.

Back and forth, back and forth, just 25 meters at a time, with no music and a lifeguard watching your every move. It’s not very appealing, is it?

Or is it?

The actual process of gliding through the water is somewhat therapeutic. Once you’re proficient enough that you don’t have to worry constantly about your breathing or your form, you can relax and zone-out, much like you can on a long run. With both vision and hearing impaired by the water, and songs from your car stereo still playing in your head, the feeling could be compared to how you might feel on the dance floor in a nightclub.

It takes a fair bit of effort to get yourself to the pool, changed and into the water, but I make every effort to include swimming in my training schedule. Not only because it’s a component of triathlon, but because, along with cycling, it allows me to work out without running. In other words, I no longer run on consecutive days. Running has been hard-going on my now 37-year-old body, and I feel that running every other day will reduce the likelihood of injury. Swimming is a fine alternative because it’s a low impact sport, still develops endurance, and gives my upper-body a workout, too.

It’s also good fun, and I’m sure none of the guys at the pool tonight would have been there if they didn’t enjoy it as well.

Do you swim? Why or why not?

6 comments

  1. Michael

    I don’t swim and in fact I hardly work out. This isn’t good. I should work out. I don’t know if I will swim though because it’s a hassle to get to a pool.

  2. Nick Ramsay

    Even if it’s a hassle, do it once and see what you think. Maybe you’ll enjoy it, and that’s what’s most important, finding some kind of exercise that you enjoy doing.

    • Michael

      Yes, you’re right. I did try it a couple of times but it was quite difficult and didn’t really enjoy it since I was so bad. I can swim, but swimming lengths I just had no endurance. I guess that would change if I did it a few times. I might try running again once the snow and ice melt. I’d really like to get back into cycling too. Cycling is probably my favorite individual exercise. Can’t wait for spring, brah!

  3. Christine Ramsay

    As you know Nick Dad and I used to swim a lot but I find it too energetic for me these days and Dad needs a pre-beginner lane as he holds all the beginners up, lol. I love the post.

  4. Richard Hall

    I love to swim but having been in a while, I infact did my 1500m aged 9 and am still a strong swimming I think! So your article has spured me into plans and ill be trying to swim at lease once a week from now on. Issues stopping me are time and money.