We wanted to know what motivates people to hit the pool. Why Swim? Is it more than the great health benefits?
It’s a simple enough question. Most people are aware that swimming is a good all-round activity because it builds endurance, muscle strength, cardiovascular fitness, helps maintain a healthy weight, healthy heart and lungs, all while toning muscles without the impact of land based activities.
After interviewing Stowe Masters Swimmer, Barbara Bauman, here’s what we found….
Q: On a winter morning in Stowe, it’s dark, it’s cold, and the drive to the pool can involve navigating icy roads, multiple feet of snow, and/or frigid below zero temperatures. Others are tucked up under warm comforters, what motivates you to brave the elements and swim with your fellow masters swimmers in Stowe, VT?
A: Tomorrow morning when my clock rings at 5:00am, it will be dark, and it will be cold, despite this, I will go swimming. This realization makes me anxious even though I am hours away from bedtime. But, I know I will get out of bed and put on the suit that I draped over the bathtub the night before along with the clothes I will wear over my suit to The Swimming Hole. My packed gym bag is waiting at the top of the stairs. My breakfast protein shake is prepared in the fridge, ready to grab and go. I already made up my mind the night before to get up and swim. It’s all part of the plan.
Sometimes when I arrive at The Swimming Hole in the wee hours I am amazed at the number of cars in the parking lot. I realize I am not the only crazy person headed for an early morning workout.
Many of the cars belong to my fellow Master’s swimmers. We rendezvous in the locker room to change, and don our swim caps and goggles. The chit chat in the locker room has already begun even though it is still not yet 6:00AM. These swimming friends are one of the warmest, most welcoming, generous and caring groups I have ever met. We cheer each other on, and boost each other up.
Why wouldn’t I want to get up early a few days of the week and start my day with this wonderful group of Master’s swimmers?
PS: And…I love swimming with my lane mates!
Q:What has swimming taught you?
A: If someone looked in a crystal ball six and a half years ago and told me that I would be swimming with a Master’s Group three times a week I would have said they had the wrong person.
I would never have guessed that I would participate in swim meets, participate in triathlon events and open water swims.
It began by taking “baby steps”, putting one foot in front of the other, trusting and following the guidance of my coach Charlotte Brynn and my fellow swimmers. Lessons, drills, meets and events planned within my Master’s group have created a stimulating and rewarding swim experience.
I’ve learned to push myself, swim faster than I thought possible, focus when I should, and feel invigorated when I’m done. I’ve learned that after my morning swim it helps to ensure that I’m off to a positive start on the day.
PS: I’ve learned that I love my swimmers shoulders!
Q:You have also ventured in the open water. Why, and how did you get started OW swimming?
A:Most of the time I head into OW following the lead of one of my fellow swimmers. I have been invited. I do not have a good enough reason to not go. Besides, I’ve already explained how much I like my swimmer friends so given another opportunity to swim together is a win win.
We either caravan or meet up at the reservoir. We stand on mats by our cars pulling on our wet suits, never an easy task. We trudge (really, only me is trudging) our way to the water’s edge. I trudge with trepidation and ask myself, “why are you doing this?” I continue to follow, wade into the water, glide onto the waters surface, feel that first trickle of cool water fill my wetsuit and ask myself, “why are you doing this?”
After my first few strokes I notice how still the water is, it feels almost soft. With each breath I peek above the water’s surface with the one goggle eye that is taking in the view and notice how still the world is so early in the morning. I flip over on my back and take in the early morning sky and observe the clouds. I’m exhilarated by the mist on the water, the beautiful evergreens along the reservoirs edge, and an occasional blue heron. I realize how serene this OW swim is. My strokes could be infinite if I choose. No walls, no lane lines.
PS: When I ask myself “why are you doing this?” the answer is obvious.
Thanks for sharing Barbara! Lots of great reasons to swim, and great tips on establishing a routine!