A Swimmer’s Strength

Before I begin the post I have planned, I wanted to make everyone aware of some of the blog changes I have been working on today! I planned on going to the pool ALL day, but it is not the nicest out in Maryland, so blogging will have to suffice! 🙂

First thing’s first: I attempted to make my page a little prettier.  I love the purple, blue, green combination.  Actually, my bedroom as a teenager had lime green and purple walls! Also, I added a page for books I am reading called my Book Nook.  I like being able to look and see how much I have read.

Back to my purpose for this post. I received an email about being a swimmer, and it really got me thinking.  Swimming, though similar, is unlike any other sport.  Swimming takes time and dedication just like other sports, but what other sports occur in water? Not many.  One thing I have learned from swimming is that we are built differently than other athletes.  Runners typically have lean muscle, especially distance runners.  In the case of swimmers, our muscles tend to be more bulk muscle.  Big muscles, that is.  And that is something I have struggled with as a swimmer.

Florida training trip with a swimmy roommate...me, on the right, with my massive shoulders!

Swimmers have different builds than most athletes.  Honestly, I have looked at people in groups before, and based upon the width of their shoulders, I can pick out a swimmer in the crowd.

Take Dara Torres for example: Her wide shoulders and large muscles have allowed her to compete as an Olympic athlete for over twenty years.  Her strength training is amazing. All the strength is needed to be successful in pulling yourself through the water.

Though I enjoy having strength and muscles, there are many times that I have been so down on my appearance and body because of them.  When I was still a competitive swimmer, I had two wardrobes: in-season and out-of-season clothes.  My shoulders made it so that I had to wear large shirts in-season and mediums out of season.  Swimming had the opposite effect on my jeans, though, and I would fit into a size smaller during my training.  Being a butterfly swimmer, my shoulders have always been huge, and I feel embarrassed from time to time when my shirts fit awkwardly at my armpit/shoulder region.  I also felt bigger than some of the other, leaner girls on the team.

These days, I am just insecure about it all.  Though my muscle mass is smaller, I still can’t fit into my smaller sizes.  This is something I am still struggling with.  I have been rearranging what I eat to live a healthier life.  That was another thing about swimming: I could eat anything I wanted and still lose weight.  Our training was so intense…two hour practice six days a week, often two practices a day. Without this training, I am finding it hard to maintain the weight that I was and still fit into the clothing I wore in high school and college.

Here’s what I need to figure out: how to maintain the strength and athletic build I have acquired while fighting off the extra weight that has somehow crept onto my body.

Anyone have any ways to try and accomplish my goal?

Now, off to do a Zumba DVD my sister has! I love Zumba!!



Filed under Life, Swimming

12 responses to “A Swimmer’s Strength

  1. I definitely feel you here. I still kind of have broader shoulders from my swimming days and there are days where I don’t like them, but they make me strong and capable!

  2. I can so relate to this! I swam from age 7-14 or so and my shoulders were (and still kind of are) much broader than most people’s. Swimmers are definitely strong in ways unlike any other though; it’s pretty awesome. 🙂

    If I’m trying to “de-bulk” (which is basically all the time because I seem to just be bulkier in general), I do lots of yoga and less impact stuff. It stretches out my muscles and creates a longer look!

    • I think once I am done training for this bike race (which hasn’t been going so well unfortunately due to the weather/time issues), I am going to try a lot more to make yoga part of my routine. It is such an awesome workout, and my roommates will be busy so I can have the TV! 🙂

  3. I’m just kinda broad everywhere! LOL! (joking aside) I think you look amazing! But I do know what you mean. I have a close friend that is a swimmer and she always struggles with her shirts. Swimmers have awesome bodies though!! 🙂

  4. I will just say I WISH I had your shoulders! They rock!

  5. Er

    OMG I love your blog because I relate to everything! I had in-season and out-of season clothes too- except mine were jeans and skirts. Field hockey made my legs, and specifically my butt, HUGE! I’m talking like 3 sizes larger just to accommodate my butt! We shared our team house with the football players, and they used to make comments ALL.THE.TIME!

  6. Wonderful post. I learned many interesting things. Thank you)

  7. Pingback: And so the semester begins…with a survey! | life after swimming

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