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Are Swim Teams Worth it?

by Meghann on June 11, 2012

*I updated the wedding page today! My wedding dress is here!*

Leftovers.

Leftovers are always a safe bet for lunch.

Leftovers on top of a salad?

Even better.

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I reheated last night’s triscuit chicken chicken tenders, roasted okra, and steamed cauliflower, and added it all to a bed of spinach. A drizzle of spicy bbq sauce made the perfect dressing.

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I also had some Triscuits on the side to add a little crunch to the meal. :)

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From the inbox!

I received the following email in my inbox last week and wanted to share my response (I also wanted to see if anyone had anything to add :) )

I have a few questions about your swim classes/history. I’m a runner who would love to get into tris, but swimming makes me want to gouge my eyes out. I know how to “swim,” or at least not drown, and have gone and done laps at my gym a few times. I know my form is horrible and the lifeguard probably worries I’m going to drown the entire time.

My gym offers what they call a masters swim club. I need to call up my gym to get more info, but some people at work have told me it’s for all levels and while it’s not one on one, as there’s usually 10-15 people in the class (it’s a huge pool), you still do get some one on one attention. The swim club is insanely affordable (like $36 for 8 weeks) so I’m really thinking of doing it. I’m just wondering for your experience in started your swim classes. I know you had done tris, even the half ironman, before you started, but would you say you were a good swimmer when you started? Are others in your group much better than you? I’m pretty much terrified to take this on, but think it might be a huge help. Anything you can share from your experience would be hugely helpful.

-Sarah

Hi Sarah!

Let me give you a little run down of my swimming history. Basically I have none. I grew up near the water, so I’ve always been a strong swimmer in the sense that I could be left alone in the water and not drown, but not in the sense where I could do legitimate freestyle laps in the pool and make it look effortless. I never had any swim lessons or was a part of any swim team, I swam for fun, not much else.

When I first looked into doing my first 70.3 last year and was shopping around for gyms with pools in my area, the masters program at my gym was one of the things that drew me in. It was the same concept as the one at your gym and it seemed like the perfect fit for becoming a stronger swimmer before race day. Then I chickened out. I attempted to go to one practice, but was so intimidated by the different levels of the group that I turned around and backed out (looking back I now know I had nothing to be intimidated by, but back then I was new to the gym and didn’t know what to expect). Instead of attempting to go back I found a friend who was willing to work with me on a few lessons and gave me a few workouts that I cycled through during my training.

That same friend was the one who introduced me to my current swim group this past April. Again, I was intimidated (the people in this group can SWIM), but since my friend was going to be there I was a little less intimidated. She offered to make up my own workouts on the side if I couldn’t keep up with the group and there was no pressure of going back.

Even though the majority of the group was way more advanced in the water than I was, they never judged me or made me feel insecure about my own skill set. The coach ended up working with me more than I thought he would and was really encouraging. Honestly, I was hooked on the whole swim team concept after that first lesson.

Yes, the majority of the group is still much faster than I am, but I’ve learned to appreciate that. Workouts are tailored to fit my own skill set and – just like with running – I’ve learned that swimming is an individual sport with personal goals and records. I work at my own pace, while still striving to grow and improve in the process. Plus, the bonding element of my group can not be beat. It’s hard to spend that much time in the water together and not become friends.

So my advice is to find a friend to help with your technique to start out with and get you more comfortable in the water, then enroll in the masters swim class! Don’t chicken out like I did the first time around. There will be swimmers of all levels, and the opportunity for some one-on-one coaching is so much more valuable than attempting to train on your own. You’ll also be surprised how much the faster swimmer will inspire you to work on your skills, rather than discourage you.

Good luck!

– Meghann

Does anyone else have experience with a master’s swim program? Have any advice for Sarah?

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