Just Keep Swimming! (By Christel Nassif)

It is six in the morning and you walk on the deck for meet warm-ups. You think to yourself” why am I even here… waking up this early for this crazy sport called “Swimming”? But then you realize that you cannot imagine your life without this sport. Water…water has long been recognized for its healing and rejuvenating powers. We will dive in the benefits of swimming, the telltale signs that you are a swimmer and the challenges you can face.


I will set fire to my pen igniting my words to describe my competitive swim practice. In the cold early mornings of Orange County when the fog is down and you’ve got to step on the block in an outdoor pool, you become the ultimate master of your own destiny. When swimming is the only sport in which it is good to be fat, swimmers are all deemed to be skinny; hypothermia hence becomes the swimmer’s biggest nightmare! So I put on the suit, slip on the cap, step in the water and begin my first lap, flip turn here and hold your breath there. Up goes the sets and all what you feel is your heart pounding, muscles burning and lungs screaming! That’s when the body achieves what the mind believes- and when it feels tough; then you are doing it right!…And on that moment of panic when you dread that your feet don’t make contact with the wall on a flip turn, yes those annoying thoughts racing through your head on the blocks, you hear the coach yelling at you to keep Breathing! You just feel the insane drive to keep pushing to get to the wall to win and when you get there, you realize that all your hard work, intense training and all those early mornings are now...Worth It!


            We’ve all known that swimming is a low-impact activity that has many physical and mental health benefits. If what you want is a lifetime of health, fitness, and vitality, you’re better off swimming laps. The results speak for themselves. Indeed, swimming is this magical fountain of youth when you build muscles, tone them and boost your health as blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, pulmonary function, muscle mass, and strength. So what does really set a swimmer apart from any other athlete? To begin with, none of your clothes fits correctly in the shoulder areas. Swimmers’ bodies are designed in a shape commonly known as “V-shape”: large shoulders coupled with small hips. Another reality check point, jackets that are purely fashionable do not exist in a swimmer’s wardrobe. Also, swimmers have super dry skin- of course, you can put lotion on three times a day and your skin still rivals the Desert. What truly set swimmers apart is their chlorine smell! You can surely complete the run in gym class without problems, but the minute a swimmer starts sweating- people ask: “Why does it smell like a pool in here?” Unlike the humdrum comments a woman can hear, I so often hear “You look great in a Speedo” along with a tan-line from a two-piece swimsuit is a thing of pride. 



            To sum up, if you’re looking for a sport that improves at a time heart and lung capacity, but is gentle on your joints, swimming is a top choice. Like other aerobic exercises such as running, it can improve cardiovascular fitness.  Swimming is a sport that promotes motivation; dedication and patience when you ask for input and constructive advice and be willing to listen.  Being a swimmer is hence a summary of lessons in a school where you were taught of sound stroke mechanics in an atmosphere of high moral and ethical standards, encouraging sportsmanship and personal growth at all levels. So swim your heart out! 

Christel Nassif


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