Here are some testimonials from members:
Swimming as a way of life for Manatees and Barracudas:
I learnt to swim in the ocean off the coast of New Zealand. The whole primary school, all 28 of us, would trundle down to the beach once a week in the summer months before and after the Christmas holidays. There we would spend an hour or so kicking with flutter boards usually followed by “nature studies” which for the boys consisted of trying to coax octopus out of their underwater grottos on the rocky part of the shore line. When I was 30 and had just come to Canada I joined a master’s swim team in Ottawa for a year before we moved on again. That was the sum total of my swimming experience before joining the Burlington Masters Swim Club at the age of 55.
I joined BMSC at the wrong time and for the wrong reason. It was January and the season’s swim program was well underway when I plodded onto the deck and I was there only to keep my wife quiet. But things were not that bad. My joining formed a band of three men, each of us having spent too much time at the McDonalds counter guiltily murmuring “and could you large size that please”. We quickly came to be known, inside my head, as the “B Group Lane 6 Manatees” and while what we did may have passed for “swimming” in our minds I am sure to Coach Dave it looked a lot more like “basking”. Sure, some swift and lean barracuda types joined our lane from time to time but they soon moved up a lane or three to mingle with their own kind leaving us free to once again nose imaginary water lilies up and down the lane ropes while thinking how much the coach’s voice sounded like an approaching boat propeller.
There were other things to overcome. I streamline with the same grace that an elephant shows when jumping from an airplane. A severe anterior disc lesion in my late twenties followed by another back injury later in life had left my body with only minimal range of some movements. A concussion (note to self - tobogganing and beer don’t mix) followed by another head injury in an automobile accident had left me “windy” when approaching the end wall especially in backstroke. I have only 45 percent hearing in each ear. Put my head under water and this diminishes to less than 10 percent. You may think this is a disadvantage. Not so. At times Coach Dave’s actions imitating some finer point of technique can be quite illuminating, if not downright funny, without the colour commentary. And there has always been a pool mate willing to interpret for me.
In the Google Age it has become very easy to be interested in almost anything and committed to very little. My wife and I are committed to the swimming lifestyle. She loves to compete and I don’t, but thanks to swimming I am fitter, more flexible and have greater core strength than I could have imagined as I approach my “senior” years. At BMSC you will find all the encouragement and advice you need. There is a place for everyone regardless of swimming background, age, fitness level, body shape or sporting aspirations. You will be surprised at where the support will come from.
If I can do it with an addled brain, an overweight, broken body and the hearing of a vole, then you can too. Make swimming part of your lifestyle. It has no downside. A lot of the benefits are the intangibles. I sleep more soundly, feel less stressed, and have more energy and a sunnier disposition.
I travel a lot now but still try to get in the water at least 3 times a week wherever I may be. Slack off and someone usually gives me a “rev-up” although it sometimes takes a lot to move a manatee.