By Abby Bergman, Swimming World College Intern.
Like many athletes, swimmers often enter the sport at the urging of a parent or other relative at a very young age. Some continue into adulthood, while others burnout. In contrast, there are many swimmers who join the sport as adults and achieve a great deal of fulfillment, personal growth and success.
It can be daunting to enter a new sport as an adult, but there are many benefits of swimming no matter your age! I spoke to several “adult-onset” swimmers about their journeys to the sport and reasons that should encourage you to jump in the water too!
Swimming is definitely a way to find a group of likeminded, disciplined people, all working towards personal goals. There are few better ways to stay motivated than by training alongside other athletes who push and challenge you.
“Swimming has been a huge positive influence on my life- giving me a sustainable, healthy sport and connecting me to great people, fulfilling my love of the ocean,” open-water swimmer Denise McDade describes. “People should start swimming as adults to get a sport you can do your whole life and meet great people. As a class, I think swimmers are generally nice people.” By joining a swimming group, adults can find connection in an otherwise busy and disconnected life.
For many people, swimming is a time to take a break from the chaos of the world and channel energy into physical power. Whether in the ocean or pool, finding a place of solace is important to maintaining balance in personal and work life.
“When I finish a swim workout, I feel amazing, physically and mentally,” Linda Baltes Mansolillo describes. Part of what makes swimming so meditative is that sensory information – like sounds – are distorted through the water. All it takes to experience this unique space for yourself is to join your local swim team or group!
Swimmers can find success in the sport at any age, partly due to the fact that it wears less on joints compared to sports like running. In fact, there are swimmers over 100 years old who compete at US Masters Swimming Nationals.
“First, I think it is essential that everyone learns to swim for pure safety reasons,” Brendan Monaghan explains. “The main reason an adult should start is that it is a sustainable and healthy activity, that one could continue throughout their life.” By joining a swim group, you will enter a sport that you can continue for the rest of your life.
Sport in generally a huge confidence builder for people of all ages, and starting to swim as an adult can help build your confidence. Setting goals and training to accomplish them in the pool can also translate to other parts of life.
“The biggest changes are how I feel about myself. I am strong, powerful, and confident about what I can do, much more so than before,” open-water swimmer Robyn Beresh says. “I can’t imagine not swimming – when I don’t for more than a few days I feel dry – like my soul is dry is the only way to describe it.” It is never too late to start swimming, so go find water today!
All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.