Susan Williams ’3 Simple Joys of Swimming

Susan Williams and her daughter after her medal-earning performance. Photo: Frank Wechsel/Triathlon.org

10 comentarios

All good stuff – I couldn’t agree more

Ed Sullivan 07 febrero, 2023

Love this thanks for sharing I totally agree the mental health benefits as a fulltime work solo dad of two far out weigh the reasons not to swim.
I’m a massive fan of openwater too and was once a pro triathlete dabbling in events around the ITU world.
20 years in the sport still hands down the one that brings the most inner peace is in the openwater amongst mother nature and the amazing elements our beautiful country aotearoa has to offer.
Awesome article 👏

Clark Ellice 07 febrero, 2023

Swimming is to me like getting in the zone!!!
I use to run a lot and I will get in the zone running for like 45 minutes every day now the mile and half keeps getting shorter in time thanks to the Ocean walker technique.
But anyway to me swimming is like jogging in water share the love and be fearless with your form.

Manuel Duenas 07 febrero, 2023

I agree, since babyhood I have swum and competed and I lost most of my hearing at birth. In the water, I do not have to hear anyone, yet; I love to talk to people at the pool and they are my best friends no matter their age or gender. Swimmers are a special breed of humanity, we are happy to see you and enjoy the water no matter if you lack mobility or have dementia…to see the joy in peoples’ faces make me so very happy. No matter all my troubles, they disappear when I swim. To swim is to be a part of life. A life that is all yours.

susan huber 07 febrero, 2023

Years ago my husband had a knee operation. Everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong. We didn’t know if he would live or lose a leg. My kids were in junior high. While my husband was in the hospital I got up early and swam. I could cry without my kids seeing it. I just told them my goggles leaked (before Magic5). Swimming was my lifesaver; I could carry on around my kids and help create a semi normal time for them. Fortunately, after 6 more operations, he is fine and I still swim! I do tell my husband that if he was a swimmer, he would have not needed a knee operation (collegiate runner).

karen obrien 07 febrero, 2023

Thank you for sharing this. Reading about the joy swimming brings to you reminded me this morning that I need to get back in the water. After losing my mom unexpectedly over the holidays, I have been out of the water for over a month as I struggle to process life without her. Everything you said about swimming is true and sometimes you need someone to remind you why swimming, movement, nature and a community of friends is important.

Anna Tilton 07 febrero, 2023

Thank you for your inspirational comments!

JIm Walsh 07 febrero, 2023

Yes I totally agree, swimming has literally saved my life. I have been swimming since I was 9, and now at almost 69, I enjoy it more.?First it’s an all-round workout. Exercising your joints, lungs and heart. I try and swim 3 times a week every week, if I skip I feel like I cheated. It is definitely a big part of my life 🏊‍♀️

Derrick Lewis 07 febrero, 2023

Hi, this is very helpful snd just confirmed my thoughts, thank you for such a honest blog of your experiences

Matthew Abercrombie 07 febrero, 2023

Mental health
Friends
Nature

Those are 3 huge benefits of swimming!

Boris 07 febrero, 2023

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“Swimming is my joy,” says Susan Williams, a 2004 Olympic bronze medalist. As the first American woman to medal in triathlon, swimming was a big part of Williams life and, even though she is retired from professional sport, swimming has remained a fundamental part of her life. From her own practice to coaching others, from the perspective of both an athlete and as a partner and parent, Williams shares three simple joys of swimming.

The Mental Health Benefits

The mental health benefits of swimming have been well documented. For Williams, it is the change of environment— “just being in the water”— that always helped her mental health. “What I love about swimming is my brain can run a hundred miles an hour or it can go zero miles an hour,” Williams says. “Sometimes swimming helps me process things that are going on. Sometimes it's just an opportunity to not think about anything.” Williams says she could be working out a stressful problem, thinking about the next interval, or just enjoying the water. Either way, Williams says swimming was always an opportunity to have a break from “some of life’s craziness for just a little bit.”

A Connected Community

In college Williams had teammates, during her professional career she had training partners, and now, as a coach, Williams has athletes, but they have always been fellow swimmers. “Sometimes if I'm really down or super tired, I go to the pool and things just change,” Williams explains. But, whether she is on deck or in the water, Williams says it isn’t just about the physical act of swimming. Swimming gave Williams a community throughout her life and it was the camaraderie, support, and friendships along the way that kept swimming as a source of positivity in her life.“ I'm just happy to see friends and get in the water,” she says. “It's my happy place—and it's my happy group of friends too.”

Being In Nature

Part of what helps Williams disconnect was not only a change of environment but being in nature. Along with fostering mental health benefits, swimming outside has been a big part of what has kept Williams ’joy of swimming throughout the different phases of her life.

Swimming through college and her professional career as a triathlete, she admits she had times where she was “waterlogged” and didn’t want to swim in a chlorinated indoor pool. But swimming outside, being in nature, was always joyful for Williams. As a child, growing up in California, Hawaii, and Florida, “I just loved just playing in the ocean and bobbing around and that I didn't get tired of,” she smiles. Even now, swimming outdoors, especially in open water, is a special experience for Williams. “I just love having like the sunshine on my face and the blue skies, or even actually swimming outside in the rain can be really pleasant sometimes too… I'm looking at the mountains and the blue sky and it just makes me happy.”

( 10 ) Comments

All good stuff – I couldn’t agree more

Ed Sullivan

Love this thanks for sharing I totally agree the mental health benefits as a fulltime work solo dad of two far out weigh the reasons not to swim.
I’m a massive fan of openwater too and was once a pro triathlete dabbling in events around the ITU world.
20 years in the sport still hands down the one that brings the most inner peace is in the openwater amongst mother nature and the amazing elements our beautiful country aotearoa has to offer.
Awesome article 👏

Clark Ellice

Swimming is to me like getting in the zone!!!
I use to run a lot and I will get in the zone running for like 45 minutes every day now the mile and half keeps getting shorter in time thanks to the Ocean walker technique.
But anyway to me swimming is like jogging in water share the love and be fearless with your form.

Manuel Duenas

I agree, since babyhood I have swum and competed and I lost most of my hearing at birth. In the water, I do not have to hear anyone, yet; I love to talk to people at the pool and they are my best friends no matter their age or gender. Swimmers are a special breed of humanity, we are happy to see you and enjoy the water no matter if you lack mobility or have dementia…to see the joy in peoples’ faces make me so very happy. No matter all my troubles, they disappear when I swim. To swim is to be a part of life. A life that is all yours.

susan huber

Years ago my husband had a knee operation. Everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong. We didn’t know if he would live or lose a leg. My kids were in junior high. While my husband was in the hospital I got up early and swam. I could cry without my kids seeing it. I just told them my goggles leaked (before Magic5). Swimming was my lifesaver; I could carry on around my kids and help create a semi normal time for them. Fortunately, after 6 more operations, he is fine and I still swim! I do tell my husband that if he was a swimmer, he would have not needed a knee operation (collegiate runner).

karen obrien

Thank you for sharing this. Reading about the joy swimming brings to you reminded me this morning that I need to get back in the water. After losing my mom unexpectedly over the holidays, I have been out of the water for over a month as I struggle to process life without her. Everything you said about swimming is true and sometimes you need someone to remind you why swimming, movement, nature and a community of friends is important.

Anna Tilton

Thank you for your inspirational comments!

JIm Walsh

Yes I totally agree, swimming has literally saved my life. I have been swimming since I was 9, and now at almost 69, I enjoy it more.?First it’s an all-round workout. Exercising your joints, lungs and heart. I try and swim 3 times a week every week, if I skip I feel like I cheated. It is definitely a big part of my life 🏊‍♀️

Derrick Lewis

Hi, this is very helpful snd just confirmed my thoughts, thank you for such a honest blog of your experiences

Matthew Abercrombie

Mental health
Friends
Nature

Those are 3 huge benefits of swimming!

Boris

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