When I swam laps in high school, recreation was the last thing on my mind. Competition ruled my thoughts. Many years later, I rediscovered lap swimming just for the fun of it. Less intense than meets and awards, but certainly more fun than lounging alongside the pool, lap swimming offers fun and fitness year round.
Unlocking the Secret
I learned to swim a bit later than other kids; I was eleven. I enjoyed playing and splashing before then, so I certainly knew about the fun of pools. I didn’t have the competitive pressure until high school. But, once there, I dreamed of championships and awards. I didn’t last long in swimming, then, but I did discover how much more fun laps are. As an adult, I didn’t want pools to be just for relaxing or parties. I knew the secret of a great workout.
When I Swim, I Fly
It took me years to find just the right pool. Once I did, I gave up my other recreation and workouts. I wasn’t trying to make a team, but I did put in hour long workouts. I taught myself the butterfly, a stroke I previously hadn’t learned. I felt so free: not just the stroke, but free from a competitive regime. No coach was directing my time or skill. I felt I had discovered this amazing secret. I wanted to approach all those miserable looking runners or weightlifters, hot and sweaty, and let them in on it.
Workout Time Is Party Time?
Indoor lap pools offer an easy sociability, much more so than gyms I used to frequent. Lap swimmers are less sociable than the pool party crowd, but they get that pools are a party place. I never attended a gym party or a track party, but even nonswimmers love to get together around a pool. By finding a pool that was more than just competitive, I found a great place to gather with friends or meet new ones. I found a form of exercise that not only keeps me fit, it meets my other recreational needs for socializing and relaxing.
Not everyone can or wants to swim. Many of those who do don’t want to put laps in, without a prize at the end. However, the prize need not be a trophy or a blue ribbon. Sometimes the prize from lap swimming can be new friends, relaxing workouts, new skills, and fitness at any age. I know I’ve found a form of recreation that I’ll never give up.