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home : opinions : opinions July 27, 2017

The Publisher's Pen
Jason Sturek

Some completely unscientific toughts on benefits of lap swimming

Pender has got no shortage of runners.

At almost any given hour from 5 a.m. until 10 p.m. — and probably at other times when I’m just not paying attention or am tucked into bed — there are ambitious folks out there dodging traffic and the occasional feral cat, burning more calories than there are in a Pender ballpark taco boat.

I’ve tried to become one (a runner, not a taco boat).

As slow as I am, my problem is that I’m actually built for speed. Hey, don’t laugh! At one time, I could get up and go a bit. One thing I’ve never really been able to do is avoid feeling completely miserable running anything over 100 meters.

It occurred to me over the winter that perhaps if I was going to get halfway serious about exercise while we all wait for our community center to be built, I should find something that doesn’t make me want to cry before I even put my sneakers on.

Swimming I’ve always enjoyed. Plus, a product of my inactive lifestyle is that I’m awfully buoyant. As in truly awfully.

I decided to approach village board member Marv Kubik, who ought to be commended over the years for the interest he has taken in the local swimming pool. Municipal pools are not moneymakers, but none of us would want to live in a community without one or one close by. It takes people like Marv who understand the importance of something like a pool to be its advocate when it comes to the village’s money purses.

In any case, I asked him if there might be a way a guy like me could forgo my usual frozen Hot Pocket and instead dive into the Pender pool for a bit of lap swimming over the lunch hour. Since some of the lifeguards and managers have to be down there getting things ready for the day around noon, it turned out to be no problem.

So, for the past few days I’ve shown up for 30 minutes or so of mostly doing the breast stroke pretty well and the front crawl pretty inefficiently. I do feel great, though, both during and after that bit of physical exertion.

The only soreness I’m really feeling so far is in my neck. But don’t worry. That’s not from the actual swimming, which tends to be very good on joints and bendable parts of the body. I’d say it’s more from craning my neck to ensure none of the fit lifeguards are paying attention in the time it takes me to take off my shirt and jump in the water.

With any luck, the combination of getting off my butt every day and the tan that comes with a daily swim will help the neck as the summer goes on.

I’d also extend an invitation to any other adults out there who might find that swimming laps could be a good activity for them to also come down to the pool between noon and 1 p.m. each day. This arrangement isn’t exclusive to me (no, the kind words about Marv weren’t a bribe).

I didn’t bother to do a lick of research about swimming and its benefits. Feel free to do that if you like, but I can say completely unscientifically that swimming is pretty awesome and feels really good. It gets my endorsement.

One does have to occasionally dodge the automatic pool vacuum that seems to be running each day around that time. Now, I could take a turn here and whine about how much harder it was back in my day as a lifeguard when vacuuming the pool actually required frustrating work — but I don’t want to upset the lifeguards who may need to jump in and save me from myself one of these days when I get a bit too overconfident in my abilities.

Once revived, can I please have my shirt guys? Thanks!

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