A Closer Look At Being “One With The Water”
At 5:50 am on a dark and cool Tuesday morning in your neighbourhood pool, the parking lot is quickly filling up. Within a few minutes, cars line up against the wall of the lot as there are not enough spaces. A group of people with towels, goggles and bags filled with other swimming paraphernalia gathers in front of the door, which opens promptly at 6 am. By 6:05, Speedo-clad swimmers of all ages are lined up, with kick boards, pull buoys and water bottles neatly arranged at the edge of the pool, ready to jump into the water. A young woman in a wheelchair maneuvers herself closer to the steps leading into the pool, while others adjust the straps of their goggles and swim caps. Their swim coach approaches, giving them instructions for a warm-up, the first step of the swim workout. Half the pool’s lanes are taken by this group, but who are they?
They are members of a U.S. Masters Swimming team, a swim team that offers swimming to everyone, from the novice fitness swimmer to the experienced triathlete and open water competitor. A group with various swimming skills representing people from all walks of life and all ages, from their twenties into their seventies, with one passion in common: Swimming.
There are several local teams in the area and swimmers in the local Southern California region can take advantage of over 80 weekly workouts in Santa Monica, West LA, Downtown LA, Redondo Beach, Playa del Rey, Pacific Palisades and the San Fernando Valley – morning, noon, and night. What makes a U.S. Masters Swimming team so unique is the diversity of its members, the qualification and experience of the coaches and the ability to accommodate anyone who loves to swim. Of any sport, it is the most affordable and as a non-weight bearing exercise, it is one of the healthiest sports that can be enjoyed for a lifetime.
Later in the workout this Tuesday morning, a woman, apparently in her sixties, who is swimming aside from the team, asks the coach, “Are you a real swimming instructor? I wish I could swim better. I used to, but now I am old and I just float and enjoy the water.” The coach responds, “Yes, I am an instructor and have been for many years. You swim quite well and you don’t need much help. How old are you, if you don’t mind me asking?” “Eighty nine”, the woman responds.
It is 6:55 am and the swim practice nears its end. Swimmers are chatting while they are wrapping up their workout with an easy kick. There is laughter, waving good-byes with well wishes for the day and the usual, “See you next practice”, a camaraderie and friendship, which is all too familiar to those who swim on organized teams.
We invite you to join One with the Water for a technique workout, or find a team that holds practices that suit your needs. We are just happy to have another fellow swimmer in the water, no matter where. Choose One with the Water to get an introduction into this world and to witness first-hand this camaraderie of which we speak. The friendships gained will be those that last a lifetime. When people bond while achieving success, there is nothing that can stop them from living a healthy positive life.
Coach Silke Regatko, Olympic Medalist, Germany
with Coach Kenneth Rippetoe, Executive Director
Coaches for One with the Water