In this guest blog, MySwimPro community member Brandon Horn shares how the MySwimPro app helped him rediscover his love for swimming, and how he got stronger in quarantine with dryland training!
I’m 39, and am happily married with two boys aged 3 and 7. I’m originally from the Midwest, but have lived on both coasts and abroad. We moved to Los Angeles to be near my wife’s family after having our first child, and I could not be happier living here. I am an architect which is a profession that I also consider my passion (along with swimming!). I really love what I do, but it does come with a lot of hours, stress and time behind a computer.
My Swimming Background
I was on a swim team for two years as a very young child, but my family moved and I had to stop. I really regret not being able to swim competitively in my youth. I played sports year round in middle and high school but swimming and water has always been the one place and sport that I felt really drawn to and “naturally” athletic in. I’ve always preferred the weightlessness and gracefulness of water to the high impact of dryland spots.
Rediscovering My Love for the Water
After high school sports, I didn’t really train in anything seriously. I would occasionally try to run or lift weights, but had no real passion for it and would stop after a couple weeks. In fact, it was during a running session in my late 20’s that I began to develop severe knee pain and had to stop.
After numerous doctors visits, I had to have several knee surgeries, including an open knee surgery to replace cartilage on the patella that required 6 months of crutches and a year of physical therapy. The surgeon told me impact sports were essentially not part of my future.
I decided to go back to swimming but quickly realized – as most people do – that I had horrible breathing technique and got exhausted quickly. I read a lot of tutorials online and focused on distance at first, using the 0-1650 training plan that’s popular with beginning swimmers. But, I still had pretty poor overall technique and developed shoulder pain so I stopped swimming and exercising for a few years.
Over the years I’ve put a lot of effort into my career as an architect, but eventually the stress and long hours caught up with me. About a year ago I had a breaking point from work-related stress and anxiety and I realized I had to make changes to my daily life in order to improve my physical and mental health. One of those changes was reincorporating exercise. I took up swimming again, following simple online workouts. Instead of focusing on physical gains at that point, I used swimming as a way to improve my overall wellness.
How I Use MySwimPro
I swim by myself (not on a masters team) due to a busy schedule and the MySwimPro app has really pushed my swimming abilities, speed and endurance to the next level. I use MySwimPro almost every day on my Apple Watch.
I appreciate the interval training and plans that essentially take away the thought of “what should I do today?” and allow me to focus on technique and feeling the water. It’s like a coach that pushes me in just the right ways so I don’t get too complacent.
Another thing that I’ve really been grateful for are the dryland workouts. I became depressed during the beginning of the Covid-19 quarantine as one of my main coping mechanisms, swimming, had been ripped away from me. After a week or so of moping I began to do the dryland workouts every day and it effectively replaced the dopamine rush that swimming provided.
I really enjoy the MySwimPro community, too. Especially during quarantine, it was a great comfort to share our collective loss and also a joy to see everyone get back into the pool and open water as things open back up. The MySwimPro Facebook group is something of a “safe space” for me to nerd out about swimming, along with other swim nerds!
My Swimming Goals
One of my main goals for swimming and exercise in general is overall wellness, both physical and mental. However, as my swimming ability has increased I’ve become more interested in pushing myself in terms of speed, endurance and experience.
One of my goals was to learn butterfly, which I actually did through the Get Fit IM training plan recently.
Another of my long term goals is to swim 100-yard freestyle under 60 seconds. I’m also interested in open water swimming and would like to become more comfortable with swimming in nature, sighting, wild swimming etc…it’s something I’m just dipping my toes in, but can imagine getting into as a way to experience nature.
What I Love Most About Swimming
Along with all the mental and physical benefits of swimming, another thing that I like about swimming is that it can be a very intellectual endeavor. I love learning about technique, reducing drag, increasing propulsion, etc. I am guilty of listening to swimming podcasts to fall asleep and watching hours of swimming YouTube videos! Even though I swim by myself, I’m never bored as I’m constantly trying to unlock a new step of the swimming puzzle; how to swim faster, further more efficiently or more gracefully.
Follow Brandon’s swimming journey on Instagram @bmichaelhorn. Start your swimming journey today with a free trial of ELITE COACH! Unlock all of our swimming and dryland training plans, technique videos and 1-on-1 coaching.