Diving into a Healthy Lifestyle: The Benefits of Swim

Justin Timmerman

Swimmers prepare themselves for the final heat of the 100 Backstroke against Portage Central. Photo Credit, Justin Timmerman

Swim team members work unbelievably hard with daily morning practices from 6 to 7 A.M, and then again, after school  from 2:45 to 5:15 P.M.
Then over winter break, men swimmers have 3 hour practices with 2 hours in the pool and one hour in the weight room, and women swimmers have this same routine in their practices leading up to the school year in late August. There are many benefits to being a swimmer or diver that some might not know or expect.
The most prominent benefits relate to physical strength and body improvement. In order to improve your body, calorie burning exercises and strength building workouts are necessary. Swim offers its participants a variety of workouts for vast body improvement. Swimmers are able to burn lots of calories by swimming long distances for extended periods of time.
According to the website “SwimSwam,” “The average person will burn between 400 and 600 calories per hour while swimming.”
Swimmers also gain muscle by performing exercises such as planks, bench presses, bench press inclines, pull-ups, squats, and sit ups while hanging off the pool deck.
According  to the website ActiveSG, “Swimming is one of the few sports that gives you a full body workout as it engages nearly all of your muscle groups.”
Loy Norrix swimmers can back the research up. Every swimmer interviewed said that their body has vastly improved from joining the swim team. Junior Drew Dougherty joined the swim team his freshman year.
“My freshman year, I had some skinny ol’ arms, no upper body strength, nothing. Then after freshman year I had these triceps that came out of nowhere, I was looking good,” said Dougherty.
Junior Eric Ponce can back that statement up. He said, “Physically, I’ve lost a lot of weight since freshman year, and I’ve gained a lot of muscle mass.” So, if you’re looking to improve your body, then swim might suit your tastes.
Loy Norrix swimmers haven’t only improved physically, but this sport has also helped the swimmers mental stability. In a sport that pushes you to the peak of your physical abilities, mental fortitude is essential.
According to the website, swimswam, “Swimming for just half an hour three times a week can lower stress levels, raise mood, lower incidences of depression and anxiety and improve sleep patterns.”
Junior Joe Mitchell said, “[swimming] has taught me to never give up because if I’m doing bad on a dive then I just keep going over it and eventually I’ll get it down.”
Ponce added, “Mentally it’s actually prepared me to get through obstacles.”
Mental fortitude is great but other aspects of life have improved for swimmers ever since they joined.  
Sophomore Haven Besser claims that swim has strengthened her in the classroom. “I’ve become stronger grade-wise, like in middle school I struggled with my grades, but since doing sports requires you to have above a certain GPA, I’ve been passing my classes,” said Besser
Oliver Taylor claims that swim has helped him move outside of his comfort zone.
“I’ve become a lot stronger physically and more willing to get up and do things, More willing to get out there and go get it,” said Taylor.
If you’re looking for a good challenge then swim is able to give you something new to take on as well, something that may not be a breeze.
“Practices are pretty hard, especially swimmers because everything there is physically hard, but when I do diving, that’s mental, so you got to overcome the fear of hitting a board or smacking,” said Ponce.
When senior Isaiah Hobson was asked how hard he thought practices were, he said, “During most of the season, about an 8/10. And then we go into something called Hell Week, where practices get kicked up into about a 10, and coach makes it really hard on us and pushes us to do our best.” However, Hobson claims he enjoys how difficult practices can get, saying, “It pushes me to not only become a better swimmer but also work harder in other aspects of my life and build persistence.”
Elaina Gross can cosign with the fact that practices are difficult. She enjoys the challenge that comes with difficult practices. Gross said,“I like being pushed so that feels really nice and it’s rewarding to like at the end of when we do a set, it feels really good to finish.”
Sophomore Ellie Lepley says that swim has helped her with her overall endurance because she is a distance swimmer so all the miles she’s swimmed has helped her stamina to grow. Lepley,“Swimming, ya know, it just helps you be more positive.”
It may be hard to try something new, but the Loy Norrix swimmers definitely would recommend joining the swim team and would tell you that joining is worth it.
Taylor, Hobson, Mitchell, Ponce, Besser and Lepley say that their favorite part of swim is the family aspect and how everyone supports each other. If you’re looking to make some new friends, swim might be an option worth looking into. Dougherty argues that seeing all your hard work pay off at the end of the season is the most satisfying part of being on the team.  
Freshman Hailey Yoder emphasizes that the fact that the environment on the swim team is very family-like and friendly. Yoder says this is the reason she first joined the team,
“I was trying to decide between swim and volleyball, and I heard that swim is a really good environment and it sounded like something that I wanted to be a part of,” said Yoder. She continued on to explain that she believes that she made the correct choice and that the swim environment is just as good as she heard.
“After putting in as much work as you possibly can during the entire season, and at the very end, the conference meet, you really show your times after taper and you just look at how much you improved and it’s amazing,” said Dougherty.
Whether you’re looking to become stronger, find a challenge, improve your body, develop mental toughness, make friends, or just improve overall as a person, it’s highly likely that swim is the sport for you.