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Swimming during the winter

Welcome to the new time change and swimming when it gets cold; i.e. swimming during the winter.  As we have all noticed, the time change has brought back it being dark when FAST practices start. During this time many swimmers and parents think that they should not swim because they will get sick. The misconception being outside, being wet and swimming will make you sick is not true. Doctors will tell you that you get sick by getting a virus, not by swimming when it gets cold. During this time of the year, what is important is to prepare yourself for the season.

How do you prepare for the cold and swimming when it is cold? Living in Southern California, it is not unusual for the temperatures to have a difference of 30-50 degrees from morning to afternoon to evening. I know that I have been on deck for morning practice and it would be in the lower to middle ’30s, and then be back on deck in the afternoon it would be in the ’80s. I have found that the most difficult thing for me is to make sure that I have enough warm clothes for the evening. When you are preparing for practice, it is important that you plan for after practice, not just before and during practice. That means you need to make sure that you bring your towel and warm clothes. You do not want to come to practice in just your suit and maybe some shorts because it is warm when you left the house. Remember that the sun will be down when we are starting practice and the temperature will start to drop when the sun drops. So have your sweats and parka to put on after practice.

To keep yourself healthy during the winter, it is very important that you are maintaining a healthy diet and drinking plenty of fluids. When you are at school, do not share anything with your friends, especially if they are sick. That means pencils and pens, water bottles and glasses. Make sure that you are washing your hands with water and soap. When others are sick, they can spread those germs by touching door handles, water fountains; bring your own water bottle to school; desks and anything else that you and they will be in contact with. If you need to sneeze or cough, you should do so into your elbow or sleeve. Whatever you do, at least cover your mouth and ask others to do the same. If you maintain a proper diet, it will help keep your body running at peak performance and help you from getting sick. It is also important to make sure that you get plenty of rest. I know that at times it can be hard to get to bed early when you have a lot of homework or other activities in your already busy schedules. Just try to do the best that you can.

I remember as an age group swimmer, I rarely got sick. It was when I was not swimming that I usually would get sick from being cooped up being inside. Being outside has helped me from getting sick. Being outside in the sun helps me to stay warm and stay healthy. For me, I need to be outside in the weather. I do prepare myself and try to eat as well as I can get as much rest as I am able to and dress for what the weather will be like later.

FAST will have practices rain or shine, hot or cold. The school does keep the pool heated at around 80-83 degrees. The one thing that will keep us out of the water is lighting in the area.

During the winter months, FAST will try to have hot cocoa on Friday nights after practice; this will usually start in December. FAST will also be bringing back the polar bear club. This is a club that any FAST swimmer can be part of. Membership in this club requires that the swimmer is at practices for the months of November, December, January, and February. Those swimmers who swim during those months will receive a polar bear club t-shirt. So who wants to join the club?

See you on deck

Sean