There’s Nothing Meditative About Swimming

I think me and Nate Jackson would be great friends due to our mutual dislike of the sport of swimming. “Endless banter, a back and forth so delicate that if you’re not in good spirits and ultra-motivated to be the most awesome swimmer ever, it can send you spiraling quickly into lethargy.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. Repetitive action has never been my friend, and swimming literally leaves no room for any change. Going into my “meditative” swim I was doubtful I’d find anything relaxing or interesting about my swimming. I thought lap swimming is just not my thing, and boy was I right.



When I got into the pool, I was trying to latch onto something I could focus on and think about, but all I could think about is “when can I get out.” By 50 yards I was already completely exhausted and out of breath, but I decided to keep going hoping a lightbulb would go off and suddenly I’d be free. Nope. All I could think about as I was struggling to get from wall to wall is how hard it was. I constantly would breath in water, slapping the water with zero grace, moving through the water like I was geared up to go to war. Whoever said swimming makes you feel weightless was crazy. When I’m swimming, it feels like I’m carrying a 300 pound man through a pool of pudding. fat-man-swimming

Boredom is always my downfall. In any workout situation, I can start out fine, I’m not thinking about what I’m doing, I’m just doing it. But the second I get one distraction, my brain kicks in and I realize what I’m doing. So for me, my brain doesn’t race, it just focuses in on every bad thing thats happening at the time. I broke my butt (literally) in February and am still recovering, I ran a 5k on Saturday morning, and went roller blading on Saturday night, so my brain had plenty of stuff to think about while I was swimming. If I kicked a certain way it felt like my tailbone was breaking all over again, but if I only kicked from my knees down my legs got burned out really quickly. Put the 5k and the roller blading into the equation and I have sore, aching, bruised knees and ankles.

Nate Jackson talked about “cheating the system.” Doing anything he could to make practice a little easier when his coach wasn’t looking. The only person I had to worry about was the damn lifeguard who I felt like was glaring at me the whole time and judging my poor swimming abilities. Probably wondering why in the world I was even in the PAC swimming if I was that bad. It’s not like a had a set goal or a coach screaming at me, but still I found myself pulling the lane lines to get to the end, or occasionally giving myself a little extra boost from pushing off the bottom of the pull in the middle of a lap. I then, of course, felt guilty because I was positive the lifeguard had seen what I was doing and probably was shaking their head at me.

When I finally decided to give up, when I thought I had suffered through enough laps to write a sufficient blog post, I got out and felt so accomplished I about cried. I think it’s safe to say that I’ll be sticking to yoga for my time of meditation from now on.

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3 Responses to There’s Nothing Meditative About Swimming

  1. somerfaust says:

    I agree with the boredom of swimming from wall to wall with nothing else to focus on but when is this going to be over. When we were swimming in class today something seemed a little more effortless and I was able to swim my longest distance ever of like 1800 yards without hating life. Nice ;)!

  2. elizabethburke2014 says:

    I like hearing you about the lifeguard watching and judging you. The first time I swam in the Furman pool after registering for this class, I felt the same way. I swear the lifeguard was watching me the entire time, probably laughing at me in his head. I even felt like the other swimmers were watching me, as if they cared at all about what I was doing. It’s something I am dreading about the next swim we have to do in a different pool. Maybe with a little more practice we’ll become more comfortable and confident in the water.

    • Mel says:

      I think this is an interesting thing to think about: our concerns about being on display while swimming. I am sure that the lifeguard was not laughing at you. But people do watch each other. And you don’t feel like a member of the community of a pool until you’ve been swimming there a long time. We should talk about this in class.

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