fitness · holidays · swimming

Sam sings a new song about swimming

Sam floating happily in the south pacific ocean. 

Two things have been making me rethink my cool attitude towards swimming as a fitness activity.

First, and most obvious, is my knee. No more running for me ever. That’s it. I’m done. My life as a runner is over.

Second, more positively, I’m in the South Pacific, in French Polynesia to be more specific, and I’m loving the water. Yes, there’s beautiful fish and stingrays and sharks and dolphins. But even aside all the beautiful marine life I love the feeling of being in the ocean.

I love love love swimming in the warm ocean. I think I’d love swimming a lot more if I could do it outside. I’m basically an outdoors person and I associate swimming with pools. But the water here is warm and super clear.

So I should move to the South Pacific or try to learn to like the pool or learn to enjoy cold water swimming outdoors in Ontario summers?

Are you an outdoors person who loves swimming? What do you do?

Sam, definitely relaxing and not swimming, floating on her back, basking in the warmth of the south pacific ocean,


4 thoughts on “Sam sings a new song about swimming

  1. When I returned to singing, I chose a new chorus rather than give up my open water swim night in the summer. I adore swimming outside and am supremely jealous of southerners with their ubiquitous outdoor lap pools. My gym’s pool has floor-to-ceiling windows which does help (during the day, at least), but I definitely see pool swimming as practice for getting to a lake.

    My upstate NY lake is close to the same latitude as London, ON. I think the key is to find a relatively shallow body of water–they warm up quickly (but probably don’t get as warm as the South Pacific). We start swimming after Memorial day (last Monday in May) and it’s usually pretty chilly–mid 60s (F). Within a few weeks it’s merely brisk, and by the end of June (depending on the weather) pretty comfortable. I have practiced swimming in cold water without a wetsuit, and while it’s not my favorite, it’s doable and it’s still nice to get outside.

    Our tri club has several people who swim with us who don’t do triathlons, but just want to do open water swims. I would think that plenty others would be open to that as well.

  2. Heartfelt commiserations on your knee and the end of running. I know what a hole that can punch in your outdoor life.

    And I really agree on the swimming – the sea is where it’s at.

    I was a teenager swimming competitor, up before dawn 5 days a week to train before school. I was only any good (i.e. fast) as a result of hard work rather than any physical attributes (actually the same can be said for my running) and once I realised that I was never going to be able to compete with the talented folk, I gave up. I still loved swimming and moving to Australia for my PhD was brilliant: Olympic-size outdoor pools at the university and in the local suburbs. And even better was the ocean was just a short run/bike ride away. I got into the habit of swimming early at the beach before any one else much was around and leaving before the sun got going so I didn’t need to drown myself in suncream (which in the 80s wasn’t exactly effective in water). People thought I was crazy swimming in the ocean on my own but shark attacks back then were rare off Perth and I was more in danger from stepping on scorpion fish in the shallows. But it have me the confidence in openwater that means I’m relaxed and ‘at home’ in pretty much all conditions. Actually I love a really good swell, when the much better swimmers than me tend to be put off there stroke. My main summer holiday now is usually in the Mediterranean in late summer when the water’s a lovely 20-22 C and the main holiday makers have gone home. There are companies now running openwater swimming holidays where you can swim in a group of similar speed over a variety of distances in the most amazing places, with safety boats and whatnot. It almost makes up for the loss of fell and mountain running.

  3. Samantha it is wonderful to see you and Susan enjoying such a beautiful part of the world. (Hi Susan!) About swimming — I’m not great with it, but because I’ve had a problem with a foot (too long a story) and I complained about not being able to do the things that kept me in shape and gave me energy, two medical folks suggested I swim. In desperation I checked out the possibilities and ended up joining the downtown Y — two pools, one for laps and another for exercise groups. Bought a swimsuit and a cap (to keep water out of my ears — good luck with that) and started in. Turns out it is good exercise for me, and I can also do lots of other things there including yoga. So though I don’t like pools much — yes the sea is so much nicer — this seems to be helping me now. I’m learning to live with it….and even like the opportunities for exercise without pain. I hope you can find something that suits you when you are home in Guelph.

  4. I will have to agree with you, it is much more enjoyable to swim outside. I love going on our cruises and swimming in the different ports of call. I have two favorites, St. Martin, and Grand Turk. The water is always perfect in both places, and we spend the whole day at the beach in both places. We go to Orient Beach in St. Martin, and hit the beach right off the port in Grand Turk. Kym, my wife, loves to snorkel in Grand Turk. We are headed back to both in May for my 50th birthday, and counting down the days. Keep on swimming, and be grateful for every day!

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