Courtesy of Elizabeth Wickham
I joined Masters about two months ago after being on deck as a swim mom and parent volunteer for 14 years. I’m making slow, but steady progress, and am feeling stronger. Not every day is a good day, although most of them are. The biggest challenge for me was relaxing and getting a steady breathing pattern.
What I’ve discovered about swimming, rather than cheering on the sidelines, is that being in the water gives me a chance to reflect. It’s mostly a quiet time, where I get the best physical exercise, ever — plus peace and clarity in my day.
I’m still working on the breathing. When I do feel relaxed and smooth, I notice the following 10 things while I swim:
The way the water feels cool against my skin.
The bubbles my hands make entering the water.
Spirographs and kaleidoscopes of shadows and light as the sun filters through the water.
The shadow of the flags as I get close to the wall.
Muffled sounds underwater. It’s like I’m listening to a foreign language.
The view of the American flag, palms, or mountain each time I breathe.
The slope of the pool with tiled, black lines curving to lower depths.
A clump of leaves that looks like a plant growing in a crack at the bottom of my lane.
Floating and swimming relaxed must be what flying would feel like.
Relief at the end of my 1,000-yard warm up. I feel much stronger and smoother than during my first 100 yards.
As a beginner, I’m thrilled to make it through another practice. I appreciate with new understanding the hard work my kids and coaches have put in for years, every single day.
What little things do you notice or focus on while you’re swimming?
Elizabeth Wickham volunteered for 14 years on her kids’ club team as board member, fundraiser, newsletter editor and “Mrs. meet manager.” She’s a writer with a bachelor of arts degree in editorial journalism from the University of Washington with a long career in public relations, marketing and advertising. Her stories have appeared in newspapers and magazines including the Los Angeles Times, Orange County Parenting and Ladybug. You can read more parenting tips on her blog.