Swim a few laps. Stop. Swim a few more laps. Stop. Stare at the clock. Repeat.
Riveting stuff, right?
Well, that's about as exciting as my solo swimming workouts would get. A former competitive swimmer, I recently got back into swimming for exercise after a six-year break. While I was so excited to jump in the water and experience the uniquely low-impact, full-body workout that swimming delivers, what I had forgotten was that swimming alone is, well, really freaking hard.
As someone who grew up swimming nearly exclusively with teammates, I felt lonely, a little unmotivated, and bored of my go-to sets — and I had only been swimming for a week!
I was all but ready to hang up my goggles (again) when I bumped into two former swimmers — quite literally in my lane — who invited me to join their swimming group. I immediately accepted, and just like that, swimming was fun, challenging, and exciting once again.
While I'm sure the alone time is preferred by many, I'm fully team "Swim Team." Here's how swimming with others has transformed my workouts and why I always recommend making some pals at the pool.
I'm Held Accountable
It's easy to blow off a workout when you're generally bored of it, and it's even easier to blow it off when you're doing it alone. But when you're part of a group, that snooze button isn't quite as easy to press because you're held accountable to actually show up. You're in for all the early wake-up calls and gruelling workouts and drills together — which also means you'll likely log more workouts. I know I have.
I Swim Faster
With no one to motivate me to get moving, I do not live up to my full swimming speed potential when I'm alone. But when I'm swimming with a group, I'm forced to meet a challenging pace. Or, if it's my turn to lead the lane in the workout, to set a pace and meet the time intervals. If I don't, I'll mess up the cadence of the entire lane.
And because I can't slack off, I'm one step closer to meeting my personal fitness goal with every dip in the pool.
I Switch Up My Workouts
When I finally got back into the pool after a few years, my workout creativity was basically nonexistent. I resorted to the same warmup and monotonous main set I had been doing since I was in high school.
When I quit swimming solo, things got way more interesting. My swimming group switches up workouts or slightly tweaks exercises so we're always engaged and focussed. And because I'm not the only one deciding on the workout — collaboration is key — I also work on strokes I would likely ignore if I were by myself.
I've Found a Community
No matter how tired I am or how much I don't want to get out of bed in the morning for swim, I'm always happy that I do — not just because I get in a great workout, but also because I am able to start my morning with friends.
My swim friends have turned into real friends. We chat regularly. We spend time together outside of the pool. We listen to one another and give each other advice. I found a community that has added so much positivity to my life — and that definitely wouldn't have happened if I were still swimming solo.