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Swimming for Gold

A stroke above the rest


Swimming benefits us by keeping us looking and feeling young and increasing our fitness level. From babies to Olympic athletes, swimming can be done by anyone.

Swimming is one of the healthiest exercise activities you can do. It’s a great fitness solution for anyone with little time to exercise because it’s a whole-body workout. Endurance, muscle strength, and cardiovascular fitness are all accomplished with each arm stroke and leg kick in the pool.

Swimming also helps to keep us looking and feeling young. Alternative health practitioner Dr. Kenneth Seaton believes swimmers have the healthiest level of albumin in their bodies, which some suggest may be key in the battle against premature aging.

Swimming at the Olympics

At the 2008 Summer Olympics, the swimming events will be held over a 16-day period from August 9 to 21. Conventional events end on August 16, and the new marathon (10 km) events will be held on August 20 and 21. With the exception of the two marathons, all swimming events will take place at the Beijing National Aquatics Centre.

Training for Olympic Swimmers

A competitive swimming schedule is typically divided into three phases. The first phase focuses on preparing the athletes for the upcoming season. The second phase concentrates on building their endurance levels. The final phase is where the training becomes more
specialized and technique is fine tuned.

Being an Olympic swimmer takes dedication, self-discipline, and a lot of good, old-fashioned hard work.

Christian F.J. Carl of (Vancouver) Island Swimming trains with Olympian swimmers Rick Say and Matt Rose. I asked him what his particular training schedule was like. He does eight to 11 swim workouts per week, each about two hours long. He also does two to three weight sessions plus stretching before and after practices. “We also do some running and other dry-land activities,” he told me.

Swimming for Everyone

Almost anyone can learn how to swim. Even babies know instinctively how to swim under water. It is also a great low-impact sport for the elderly and those with special needs. The risk of injuries while swimming is very low.

If you or anyone you know is interested in getting started (did I mention it’s a great way to improve your fitness level?), call your local swim club at the YMCA/ YWCA or municipal recreation centre. Ask where the Master Swim Clubs are offered. These are registered, nonprofit organizations that accommodate several swimming levels, from beginners to
competitive athletes.

Now jump in the pool–and have fun!



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