Tag: swimming lessons

Employee of the Month of October: Janet Nickels



Please congratulate Janet Nickels on becoming the Employee of the Month for October.

Janet came to us from California a year ago and was looking for a change. Over the last year, Janet has grown and found her passion with swimming. Janet originally started as a Sports Desk employee, but was soon asked to help in the Café and has flourished in the Aquatics Department.


Janet is a well rounded employee who has a passion for our members and other staff, as well as a truly friendly personality.


Please congratulate Janet on being the Employee of the Month for October!


Please join us in congratulating Janet on her well earned appointment as our Employee of the Month!

If you have an employee you would like recognized, email our Operations Manager, Tim Schoonover.




Start Enjoying Your Swim: Focus on Your Exhale

Learning to swim, as an adult can be a terrifying proposition. After years of avoiding the water, all sorts of fears can settle into our psyches. And when we finally work up the courage to take the plunge, pent-up anxieties often manifest in a range of stress responses, including restricted breathing.


Recently, a client I had been working with for several months was beginning to steadily gain her confidence in the water as her skills were improving at a consistent pace. Then, as is of the case, some of the old anxieties suddenly started to creep back into her workouts, disrupting her breathing and causing her stroke to fall apart. She was losing confidence and nearly in tears!


Up to this point I had been coaching her, and several of my other beginning students, to only inhale enough air to get to the next breath. Many swimmers inhale too deeply, as if each gulp of air has to be big enough to get them to the end of the pool. I had been coaching my students to only take in enough air to get them to the next breath.


As I continued to work with my client, I saw that, although she was swimming better when she inhaled less, she was still showing signs of stress. Taking smaller, quicker breaths was helpful, but didn’t address the underlying problem.  I suddenly realized that her focus was in the wrong place: it was out of the water instead of in the water. She was still taking in too much air, which exacerbated her underlying anxiety. But the reason she was inhaling too much air was because that’s where her focus was: on the inhale, not the exhale. So I suggested she start focusing on getting to the next exhale and not worrying about the inhale at all. And it worked! Her breathing became smoother and more relaxed therefore her entire stroke lengthened out and became efficient again.


The point is not to worry about the inhale at all. Breathing in is an autonomic response that happens naturally. While swimming we physically set our head and mouth into position to take the breath; however, we don’t try or force the inhale: we simply allow it to happen. So the emphasis should not be on getting to the next inhale, but to the next exhale.


As a trainer and coach, I see too many swimmers just trying to get to the other end of the pool. They give the impression that they are just trying to be done instead of trying to get a challenging — and enjoyable — workout! This is sad and it is, more often than not, due to forced or labored breathing.  Try it out for yourself! In your next few workouts shift your breathing focus to your exhale; the inhale will take care of itself.

You can never be too safe in the water

You can never be too safe when it comes to being in or on the water. Do you like to jump in the water off a dock, boat or cliff? Can you see the bottom? If the answers are yes and then no, then make sure you follow these safety techniques. Always look before you leap, you say “I’ve jumped or dove off of this dock or cliff before, I will be okay”. With the change in our waters from climate change, storms that brought in new debris or the time of year contribute to what dangers may lurk at the bottom of any water. First of all never dive or jump into unknown waters. Swim around the area you are planning to make the plunge in. Check it out for anything that may harm you. Make sure the water is deep enough compared to the height you are jumping from.

If you are jumping from any height be careful as to how you are going to land. If you hit water wrong it can feel like you just landed on cement and cause just as much damage. The best way to jump is cross your arms over your chest, cross your feet at the ankles keeping your legs straight and hold on tight. Once you hit the water open your arms and push down then kick. This will bring your back to the surface and you will be ready to go again! Have fun but be SAFE. Nothing can ruin a good time more than needing to have the paramedics come take you to the hospital or worse the morgue.

Swimming Faster… Tips from the Swim Fairy

If it were as simple as swinging a magic wand, I would wish the magical dust upon everyone. However, like many things, swimming faster requires work. Here are some tips to ensuring you swim faster, consider it magic dust!

  1. Frequency in swimming is key. Collegiate and National level swimmers train the most “time” of any other sport around (or darn near close to it). Why is this? Humans are land animals and to really get efficient in the water, you need to be in the water. For triathletes here is a rule of thumb for swimming frequency (times you get in the water each week).

    1-2 times per week: Swim maintenance. This is the minimum amount of time to be able to maintain your current fitness in the pool.
    3-4 times per week: This is where an athlete will see the biggest gains occur exponentially in their swim speed and technique.
    5+ times: The athlete will continue to see more gains in the pool but at a lesser rate exponentially. For the athlete REALLY aiming to improve then 5+ days a week is the way to go.

    *Remember frequency trumps duration!

  2. Consistency on a daily/weekly basis. Swimming is about consistency. If you swim 3 times a week one week and none the next you have lost the ever-so-talked-about “feel for the water”. It takes a whole other week of 3+ times in the water to get this natural “feel” back. The feel for the water is a term used to describe feeling a strong catch and feeling your body move strongly through the water. When you lose this feel you have a feeling of “weakness” in your stroke.

    *Swim regularly week, after week, after week!

  3. Swim with a purpose. Arrive at the pool with a workout, goal paces, goal times, and a plan. A typical workout should look similar to this:
    • Warm up
    • Drills
    • Main Set (with focus on strength, pacing, speed, recovery, or endurance)
    • Cool Down

    *Identify what your goal is for each session!

  4. Document. Document your training in your plan. Record paces, rest periods, and specific workout details. Swimming blindly (or training blindly) gives you no concrete evidence to see improvements. Throughout the years you may reference previous workouts, where you are at in your training plan, in order to ensure you are making progress in the right direction.

    *Record your data!

  5. Seek consistent swim lessons. Doing one swim lesson will help. But consistent guidance is important for success. Often swimmers will “over correct” their new form. By having a lesson set up 2-3 weeks apart then the correction can be made by the instructor before the new stroke become a bad habit. Filming (above and below) water is also super beneficial in making your stroke improvements.

    *Seek advice of an experienced swim instructor for swim and video analysis!

  6. Swim with a group. Masters swim classes, or swimming with teammates is not only more fun it helps you pace your swims better when swimming alongside those of equal ability and inch out that extra bit of speed once in a while that can be difficult to find on your own.

    *Swim with friends!

Post these reminders in a place you see often and make sure you are practicing all your magical tips!