In this guest blog, Beth Herman-Davis (@inspire.transform) shares what she misses most about swimming, since her local pools are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Beth is a lifelong swimmer and is certain that once upon a time she was indeed a mermaid. Based in Boston, Massachusetts, she is also a triathlete, nutrition coach, personal trainer and blogger. She shares nutrition and fitness tips, pretty pictures of healthy homemade food, Boston sunsets, and her most favorite home workouts with her training partner, Scout.

Swimming has always been my jam. And although I have a deep love for cycling, running and strength training — swimming is like a warm and comforting old friend that I can always turn to and rely on. Until now.

I’ve had a long relationship with swimming. When I was a little kid (and all the way through high school) the swim team was my outlet. It’s the one place that offered me a sense of community and acceptance. It’s where I felt I could simply be me — my best me. I’m certain many of you identify with that.

Being without a pool, or even a place to swim in open water (it’s too cold here in New England still) has solidified for me how invaluable swimming is — mentally, physically and even spiritually. 

I miss shaking out my upper body and doing some dynamic stretching before I head down the ladder into the pool. 

I miss that initial little shiver I get as I take that last step from the ladder into the water for my swim.

I miss setting my intentions for the workout before I start that 500 warm up.

I miss touching the wall at the end of that first 500, a little winded and peeking at my time on my Garmin.

I miss the drills. Even the ones I don’t particularly love.

I miss the speed I feel when I wear paddles and fins. Come on, who doesn’t love that?

I miss those last few intervals of a set where you’re trying to hold on to the pace or even swim just a little bit faster.

I miss those last couple of warm down laps where you don’t worry about your form or technique, and you just leisurely swim your way to the end.

Beth Herman Davis open water

I miss that sense of accomplishment and contentment when I climb back up that ladder and head toward the locker room.

I miss my Saturday swim dates with my training partner and comparing yardage and splits.

I miss the smell of chlorine — you know the one that lingers even after you get home.

I miss the outlines of goggles around my eyes.

And then…I remind myself that this is all temporary. And that first swim back…it’s going to be awesome and fulfilling and comforting and joyful.

Wishing everyone health, joy, and chlorine-scented dreams of that first swim back.

15 thoughts on “Swimming: An Old Friend I Dearly Miss

  1. Very nicely written. Its like swimming again. I’ve felt this way several times in the past few years. Took a small 38ish year break from swimming. Got back at the direction of a few knee surgeons to avoid a knee replacement. Then just as your getting your groove back a health issue arrives and your out of the water. It’s been in and out a few times. 2-3 even 4 months. While I was out I dreamed about swimming. I could feel the fantastic stretch with the free. My flip turns were on point. Kick outs were awesome. My butterfly was effortless and beautiful. Then I’d wake up to reality. Rats. No water. When the time came to swim again I was super excited and wow how quickly your welcome schedule is again! Lots of work to get done to get those times back.

    This time it’s different. I’m healthy!! While I can’t run and my knee doesn’t like to bend I now can exercise!

    We have a growing team now too! A positive to stay connected!!

    I see the entire swimming community out of water and all the positive energy flowing. Sharing ideas, dry swimming with soup cans, core exercises, stretching. It’s incredible. I am so proud and blessed to those who urged me to jump back into the pool. Yes it’s helping dodge that dreaded knee replacement but something more special became of it. I met my swimming community. Made friends at swim meets. Then made more friends. Suddenly I feel surrounded by so many beautiful positive people.

    Keep the faith! That first swim back will be incredible! We’ll smell like chlorine again in no time!!

  2. Thank You Beth, This consensus to shut down worldwide has made me realize the impact swimming/loss of swimming has on those that practice regularly—it’s been shattering to so many. I’m sharing your words with my adult swim group with the University City Swim Club in St Louis Missouri. See you soon at the pool

  3. I also miss my personal trainer, who has trained me hard since I returned to swimming 3 and a half years ago, and the swim coach who I worked with until the close down of everywhere, for the camaraderie as well as all their positive and encouraging motivation.

  4. I miss all these things too. But, do you know what I don’t miss? I don’t miss my teammates. That is because of some wonderful coaches, my Masters Team is stronger than ever. We live in Michigan and this weekend was supposed to be our state meet. Rather than face a weekend of disappointment, they planned a virtual meet for our team. Assigned to one of two teams, we competed all weekend in “events” for points. We shared hilarious photos and videos of our events and the rivalry. We joked and laughed and shared a virtual cocktail hour. It made us happy. It made us laugh. It was fun. It distracted us from our worries. It gave us a sense of family and community and security. It comforted us, reassured us that the world is still alright. It brought out the best in us, motivated us to do our best. It made us appreciate how lucky we are to be a part of such a great team/ family. It gave us hope that everything will be okay. It made us stronger than ever.It made us thankful for our coaches and teammates. We will all remember this weekend for the rest of our lives….and smile.

  5. My brother Alan shared this with me. Thank you. This was so beautifully written and echoed everything I have been feeling. I live in Los Angeles. It is 1:30 pm here. Warm and sunny. A perfect day for the pool or open water. All pools have been closed for over 2 weeks. We do not have ponds and the beach here is closed with life guard/ police patrol. Your post was a good reminder. I have been trying to block out thoughts of the pool because it makes me so sad that the most Uplifting part of my daily routine has been disrupted. That first swim back WILL be amazing. Thank you for sharing your optimism!!!

  6. Hi Beth: I loved this article. It’s wonderful to know your doing well. Swimming has been one of the great anchors of my life. Take care, my best wishes always.
    Coach Stu

    1. Oh my goodness Stu! So glad you got to read this, I often think about you when I’m swimming and most definitely thought of you while writing this… you gave me the gift of swimming and I am forever grateful to you for that. You made such an impact on so many of us! Hope you are well and of course, healthy.

  7. I very much appreciate what you have written. With gratitude, I will extend your list with a few personal thoughts:

    I miss the warm sunshine after finishing an open water swim in chilly water.

    I miss feeling like I was off pace tomorrow but confident tomorrow or next week will be better.

    I miss checking my weekly and monthly total yards on my Garmin.

    I miss the dissolution of stress and anxiety that happens during swimming.

    I miss the knowledge that a pool will always be available.

    1. Thank you Alan. I love the extended list, especially this one: I miss the knowledge that a pool will always be available. Here’s to finding that swimmer’s high soon! In health!

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