Special Reports

Swimming has numerous health plusses

Some people do it as part of their training for a triathlon or another sporting event. Others do it to stay in shape or even improve their selves from a health standpoint.

The reason, however, doesn’t really matter. There are dedicated athletes at Northside Swim Club who work out almost every day during the week at the difficult time of 5:15 a.m.

“We welcome all types of swimmers from the beginner to the athlete that wants to seriously train,” masters coach Robert Place said. “We have some that swim up to 4,000 yards per morning, which is a little over two miles, and we have others that prefer to work out on their own. It is really their choice. We will assist as little or as much as the person wants us to. Swimming offers a workout that is less taxing on the joints than either running or walking. It is basically is a total body workout. We have some swimmers that come in and can only swim one length of the pool when they start. Then they rest and swim another.

“Even though they are only swimming 25 yards at a time, they are still getting as great workout. It doesn’t take long for them to be able to swim for a little longer. The pool is a great way to get back in shape. Most of our athletes train three days a week, but we do have some that come every single day.”

Bill Causey is one of those who work out three times every week.

“I started it when I was training for triathlons in 1981,” Causey said. “I realized you could not really train on your own for the swimming part of a triathlon. It is much easier when you are a part of a group. I had a serious biking accident about five years ago and had to give them up so now I train mostly as a cyclist. I have found that swimming is the perfect cross training tool for cycling.

While Causey thinks swimming is a great activity, he cautions that the average person needs to do certain things to make sure he is going to get the maximum effect from it.

“Swimming is a very technical sport,” Causey said. “It really is not fun until you learn to swim in the right way. I would advise anyone that is just starting to get some instruction and learn to do it the right way. I would say that swimming is very much like golf and tennis in terms of when you go out to play either one of those you aren’t going to be very good until you learn to play them the correct way.

“One of the great things about the 5:15 am group is that everyone is very willing to help out the people with less swimming experience. Robert Place is very knowledgeable and willing to assist the novice or the seasoned swimmer with their stroke. It’s just a great way to start the day.”