So your school, swim club and just about everywhere else in town is shut down due to heavy snow or bad weather, but that doesn’t mean you have to count the day out entirely from a swimming standpoint. You may not be able to get wet in chlorine, but there are several ways to maximize your time away from the pool if you’re forced to take a weather-related day off, and they don’t all involve diving head first into piles of yellow and brown snow.
I don’t know anyone who would argue against getting a little more shut-eye, knowing your morning and/or afternoon sessions are canceled. Why not curl up in a comfy spot and make up for all the other nights this week you promised you’d stop binge watching your favorite show once the clock struck midnight?
Teams often exercise visualization together as part of their competition preparation, but swimmers can certainly do this individually as well. With some extra snow day time on your hands, pick a quiet spot and imagine yourself swimming your perfect race. Picture yourself nailing your dive and breakout, surging to the lead after your turns, and running away with the win down the stretch. If it helps, play Rocky theme song in the background.
3. MIRROR SWIM
There’s no need to spend 20 minutes squishing yourself into your kneeskin for this type of swimming. Simply position yourself in front of a full-length or even half-length mirror and, well, start ‘air swimming’. You can watch your high-elbow catch, note your rotation, make sure your fingertips are pointed to the bottom of your imaginary pool…all things that reinforce good habits once you’re back in your aquatic domain.
You typically need actual water to play sharks and minnows, but there are other indoor, land-based games you can play when having to stay home due to weather. Whip out your Scrabble board and play the swimmers’ version of the game. All words must be related to the sport of swimming to count and it’s fun to see how creative you can be. Before you know it while you’re playing, your afternoon has passed and the snow outside is beginning to melt.
5. CLEAN OUT YOUR SWIM BAG
With bad weather hanging over your head, you have no excuse to not finally clean out your moldy, nasty swim bag. Take the ten minutes to throw out old food, wrappers, hairballs and grime that resides down deep in that hunk of swim gear you lug back and forth to the pool every day. Your future self will thank you.
6. ‘DISHWASH’ YOUR SNORKEL
Yes, in case you didn’t know, a useful swim hack is to place your snorkel tube in the dishwasher for cleaning/sanitation. Kill your cold and flu germs with a hot bath in the dishwasher while you’re waiting on your cocoa to cool off.
7. GET INSPIRED
Nothing gets the blood pumping like watching our favorite swim stars doing their thing on the world’s biggest stage. Re-watch some of Olympic swimming’s greatest moments (Jason Lezak, anyone) and feel yourself automatically getting motivated to kill it the next time you take to the pool.
8. WORK YOUR CORE
Your coaches and trainers can’t emphasize enough how important having a strong core is to each and every swimming stroke. If you can’t get in the water to practice, at least give your core the feeling it craves via an at-home core workout. A circuit of crunches, planks, leg lifts are quick, simple and easy to crank out on your own living room floor while watching TV on your snow day. (Or, maybe you happen to have a pole in the middle of your house, a la Emily Seebohm)
9. REVISIT YOUR GOALS
While you have time off of school and practice, meander through your swimming journal or log book and take stock of how far you’ve come over the season. Relish accomplishments you’ve achieved and study up on the goals you’ve set for yourself. Remind your mind and body what it needs to do in the coming weeks, months to get done what you’ve set out to do.
10. GET CAUGHT UP ON SWIM NEWS
Chances are you’ll be on your laptop, phone, computer while being snowed in, so why not peruse the SwimSwam.com site and refresh yourself on all our sport’s headlines and happenings. Who has retired? Which coach is moving on? Who won the Swammy for Best European Male Athlete of 2016? All of these answers can be found with simple points and clicks while snacking away on your snow day.