As a child growing up in CA, I swam outdoors year round. I fondly remember roller skating (yes, this was before blades) the beach path from Santa Monica to Venice and back, sometimes finishing with an ocean swim before heading up the hill for dinner. I also remember many days pretending to be a fish, sitting at the bottom of our pool until I could see my parents worried faces peering down at me.
In 2012 while swimming at a pool where some of the members of the US Freediving Team train, I discovered that something I did naturally as a child, swimming under water with one breath hold, was now an official sport. I have a slow resting heart rate and as I began to train I discovered all of these qualifications made me an excellent freediver, In 2013 and 2015 I placed second in the US in different pool disciplines.
When I moved to the North East for college I joined the Triathlon club. Because of the extreme Winter weather, we had seasonal workouts entirely in the pool and on stationary bikes at the gym. I learned many new skills and drills to improve my swim speed and efficiency. We worked in a deep water pool on cycling and running in upright positions, essentially hours of variations on treading that mimicked the moves of cycling and running on land. The added weight of water on our legs built and lengthened the muscles we needed for the same actions on land. This type of training was new to me, and transformed as it strengthened my body. It also made me aware that cross training athletes in a pool was a great value for amplifying the strength of specific muscle groups needed for land sports.
When I began to teach Yoga, I would bring private clients, anyone from professional athletes to wall street business moguls, to the pool when they had shattered their feet in a car accident, were in postpartum recovery, had busted a knee on the ski slopes or had injured themselves during an extreme sporting adventure. Their doctors often asked what they were doing as they started to heal 3x faster than their peers with the same injuries who were not being trained in the water; I knew I was on to something.
Fitness in the water has yet to hit its peak in the US, like it has in South America and parts of Europe. Most people think of it as something for the older population, not realizing that those people they see in the water are super strong, especially at their age, because they are working muscle groups with resistance in both eccentric (elongation) and concentric (contraction) movements while getting their heart rate up.
Working out in the water creates a strong core as the water does not let you cheat into bad alignment for the most part. You can also get your heart rate up while keeping the impact low on your joints. You control the amount of intensity of each exercise by how hard you push into the water. For example, one of the movements I teach to students is based on something I saw watching the super bowl one year. They ran a segment showing the star quarterback training in a pool, doing a particular movement with the additional pressure of running into a jet stream, to build the endurance and strength needed to push back and make a touch down on land.
Other exercises I teach come from my fitness background in Yoga, Pilates, and ballet barre, also from researching the training regimes of other land athletes, then bringing their moves into the water. One of my favorite athletes to watch videos of is MMA fighter Ronda Rousey - such a beast! The moves she does to get the drive she needs in her arms are perfect for the pool.
I feel so blessed to work at a gorgeous pool near the ocean. My youngest clients are just 4 years old. It brings me tremendous joy to see people of all ages improving their swim strokes and getting stronger in their bodies. Whether you are looking to cross train in the water, heal an injury, or just become more confident as a swimmer, reach out with your questions and we’ll get you into a pool and on your way to meeting your fitness goals while enjoying the beautiful year-round weather of Southern California.