Never too Old to Dream: Getting Back in Shape

Thanks to Judd Cribbs for contributing this story to our Never Too Old To Dream Series.

It’s now been four months since I started getting back into shape, and I feel like I can swim farther and stronger. Not far and strong, mind you, but farther and stronger.

The past month has presented some obstacles, not the least of which was some delicious holiday home-cooking.

My family traveled to Ohio for Christmas, and I worked out a couple times at my in-laws’ local indoor rec pool. It was the first time I wore my new swimsuit. It’s one of those square-leg suits. I bought it because jammers seemed too long and briefs seemed too, well, brief. I liked the feel of the suit in the water. I had been swimming in bulky board shorts and a t-shirt at my local pool to increase drag. It seemed to help when I switched to the new swimsuit.  I wanted to debut it in a place where absolutely nobody knew me. And I’m glad I did because one word came to mind when I saw myself in the mirror: Diet.  It simply didn’t matter at what angle I viewed myself.

They did have a nice big clock at the Ohio pool, and I was able to time myself at about 15 seconds for 25 yards. I was pretty gassed after one length, but I was able to do about 10-12 lengths at that speed with quite a bit of rest in between each length. I tried not to let my progress translate into an all-you-care-to-enjoy binge once I got back to my in-laws’ condo.  But I was just so darn hungry and there was fresh homemade apple pie, so, well, you know.

Once I got back home to chilly Florida, the next challenge was the weather. I’ll admit I am a CWCB (Cold Water Cry Baby). By Florida standards, it was just plain frigid (55 degrees). On two of the days I was going to swim, I went running instead. I used to run a lot. My joints immediately reminded me why I switched to swimming. It was good, though, to get in some cross-training.  I have also been lifting weights and riding my stationary bike on days I don’t go to the pool.

I think I’m going to set four goals for 2016: 1. Buy a swimcap (easy), 2. Learn how to dive properly (medium), 3. Try to hit 30 seconds for 50-yard freestyle (hard), and 4. Eat fewer cookies (hardest).


As with any new year, I’m not sure how it will go. The pool awaits.  The diving platform beckons. The cookies stare at me mockingly.

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Keep up the good work! Don’t overdue it, and good job setting goals. Remember God only gave you one body and that is the horse you must ride. Enjoy your swimming!


Great advice! I’m just trying to make sure this ol’ horse doesn’t get put out to pasture anytime soon.


Well done, Judd. Keep up the good work.

I started swimming again about 4 years ago (after a 25 year hiatus). As soon as I got serious about it, I lost 45 pounds. Swam in my first meet 3 years ago and have been improving times ever since. Suggest you find a US Masters team to work out with (shouldn’t be too hard in Florida). You’ll benefit from the coaching, competition and camaraderie.

Best of luck to you.


Thanks for the comment Chooch. Sounds like you were in the same boat awhile back. I’m glad to hear about your success and will use that as inspiration. I’m also glad to hear about your times improving. I know that happened to me when I started running… I was able to set PRs for the first few years. I wasn’t sure if it would be the same with swimming. I like the idea of joining USMS too. Anything to keep up the motivation!

Cynthia mae Curran

30 second 50 yard freestyle is really good. Some guys in masters swimming swam as kids so if they hit 22 or 23 seconds don’t worry about it.l A lot of the top masters swimmers were good college swimmers or made senior nationals as kids.


Congrats on getting back in! I also suggest joining a masters team. We have a great time, and you’ll get in shape much faster with a coach to guide you and teammates to encourage you.

About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona (2013-2015) and the University of Florida (2011-2013). While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She's also a high school graduate of The …

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