SwimSwam welcomes reader submissions about all topics aquatic, and if it’s well-written and well-thought, we might just post it under our “Shouts from the Stands” series. We don’t necessarily endorse the content of the Shouts from the Stands posts, and the opinions remain those of their authors. If you have thoughts to share, please send [email protected]
This “Shouts from the Stands” submission comes from Joseph Basante.
Joseph Basante is the director and lead administrator at the Strive Swim Science Center in Moorestown, New Jersey – a private swimming training company. Until very recently, Joseph was not a swimmer, with no competitive swimming background, but spent most of his days watching swimmers come and go and come and go from his desk at the Strive Swim Science Center. So, he decided to take up the sport, late in life, aiming to enhance his fitness. Joseph shared his feelings after the beginning stages of his journey with the center’s membership recently, and below we’ve posted it for your inspiration as well.
I’ve decided to put my money where my mouth is, and begin swimming myself! I’ll be qualifying for the Olympics in 20/20! And that’s a lie!
In all seriousness though, I HAVE been doing my best to incorporate swimming as a part of my regular workout routines. For most of my life, I have been what I like to call, a “half-assth-lete.” I’ve always lifted weights and run regularly, so as not to let myself completely fall apart, but I’ve never been a seriously competitive, alpha athlete. “Half-assth-lete.”
However, as I approach 30 years of age, I am making more conscious efforts to take my health and physical shape more seriously with each day. About a month ago, my buddy and I leisurely swam a few laps in the pool at his gym after our workout.
I couldn’t wait to tell Coach Dean.
“DEAN! I swam like 5 laps the other day.”
When Dean laughed and told me how many laps swimmers in high school do every practice, I was ashamed of myself.
It didn’t make sense: How could I hardly do 1 single “there and back” and these kids are swimming 300 to 400 laps per practice?!?!
Despite whatever comfortable excuses I could give myself as to why I was nowhere near that type of physically fit, it was just the cold hard truth. Maybe I’m crazy, maybe I’m flat out stubborn, but since that sobering realization, I’ve joined a gym, and I’ve been jumping into the pool at least five times a week this past month.
Swimming for anyone who is not familiar with it, is super confusing and challenging when they first begin:
“How am I supposed to?…”
“Why can’t I…”
“How long should I?…”
How many times do I?…”:
All questions that answer themselves with another desperate gasp of air and heaping gulp of chlorinated water.
I once asked a stranger in the adjacent lane (who was lapping me so much it wasn’t funny), “How do you get to the point where you can swim so many laps?” He told me, “You just have to keep swimming.”
So that’s what I did. That’s what I’m doing. Last week, I swam 650 yards after a workout. I know in the swimming world, that’s not much, but it’s significantly more than when I started. Every day in the pool has been an opportunity to work on some skill or facet that makes it easier with time. Core stability…trunk rotation…hand positioning… timing. AND THE BREATHING. You never realize how little you take the time to work on your breathing until you begin swimming.
As thankful as I am to have found swimming as a part of my daily routine, there’s a point to me sharing this all with you. That leads me to my next thought from behind the desk:
I know a lot of you swimmers get discouraged for a number of reasons. The next time you don’t swim a faster time… the next time your coach drills you for yards… the next time you feel like throwing in the towel… just remember…
You are capable of doing something that most people in the general public are not. The ability to do what you do as long and frequently as you do it is not something to take lightly. The discipline and stamina that you all have is absurdly impressive and you should all be proud of the simple fact that you can get in the water and perform like you can.
It’s also true that most people may never fully appreciate or even know the hard work, dedication, and sacrifice you put in. But you can’t let that discourage you from moving forward and being a better version of yourself.
“Just keep swimming…”
Because that’s all we ever have to do in this life anyway…