As I've dived into the aqua exercise scene, I've noticed the tension between the lap swimmers and the water exercise classes. Many of the folks who swim at Equinox are training for triathlons, so there is always some friction when the club closes the pool for an hour for an aqua fitness class. Years ago, I was one of the lap swimmers. I conquered my fear of the deep water when I was about 12, and I swam laps intermittently until I was in my late 20s. It was great exercise and it's very calming to swim back and forth in the pool. I gave it up because I kept getting ear infections and my life got a little too busy.
So I've been sticking to my aqua fitness regime for more than a year, and I feel like I need a challenge. My knee feels great. The year I turned 40, I completed a marathon. 50 is looming on the (distant) horizon. Since I don't think I can do another race on land just yet, I am going to train for an open water swim in September. The first step was to purchase ear plugs and a good pair of goggles (blue, to match my eyes).
I just started swimming laps again, and I'm optimistic I will be able to do 1.5 miles by September (I have plenty of time to train), and then I have to psych myself up to put on a wetsuit (!) and deal with sharks (seriously), cross currents and possible hypothermia. As much as I love the water, I am scared of swimming a long distance in open water, so this will be the real challenge for me. Luckily I have the SFSE and all my friends to support me and cheer me on. I'll keep you posted on my training as well as other aqua crimes against fashion. I have some good swim coaches on hand to give me advice and I'm sure I'll have some adventures along the way. And don't worry -- I will still devote equal blog time to other aqua fitness endeavors.
For inspiration, I recommend this New Yorker profile of Diana Nyad. You need a subscription to read the whole article. I was stuck in a tunnel on the #2 train for an hour last week so I had a chance to read the print version (as well as most of the magazine).