lap swimming

Holiday Gift Guide: Swimmers

Holiday Gift Guide: Swimmers

It’s that season! The season of shopping. If you’re like me and hate big crowds– avoiding Black Friday like I’ll get the Bubonic Plague if I go–head to the internets! I love Amazon shopping.

If you have a swimmer in your life, or want to become one yourself, here are some great gift ideas to start out with.

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Swimming Buoy–I love my buoy! It’s a great tool to have for swimming laps. It helps develop your upper body AND it can give your lower body a rest after some hard laps.

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Swimming Paddles— These are also great for developing upper body strength. The paddles are also wonderful tools for beginners learning how to freestyle. Wearing paddles helps you improve your form (and stop slapping your hands into the water).

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Swimming Cap–I never swim without my cap. It protects my hair from the chlorine damage and keeps my hair out of my eyes. It’s so useful for people with long hair!

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Swimming Goggles–They really do make the experience so much nicer. I see people swimming laps in the pool without them and they just look miserable. I don’t know how they do it without goggles.

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Nose Clips–I never swim without mine!

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Swimming Flippers–Some people really love swimming with fins and a snorkel. Give it a try if you want to. Make sure your ankles are pretty strong before using flippers or you could experience some discomfort.

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Swimming Drills–This book intrigues me. I haven’t read it yet but I kinda want it for myself! I do my own drills in the pool. I have a base routine and then make up drills for myself. But if you’re a newbie and not sure what to do, having a guide is a good idea.

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Lap Computer–This thing looks cool. “The Pool-Mate will record and display lap count, time, average strokes per lap, speed, distance, calories and efficiency. The computer has enough memory to store and recall up to 400 sessions, and will record the same data for individual sets within a session (up to 99 sets) so you can evaluate performance changes across a session.” Dear Santa: I kinda want this! 🙂

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Anti-Fog Spray–I hate it when my goggles fog up!

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Swimsuit–Having a good swim suit makes a world of difference. Make sure you get one that will last. Those cheapy ones you can buy in most department stores will not last long for a lap swimmer. Soon they will be faded, stretched out and maybe even see-through!

As you can see there are TONS of really great gifts out there for the swimmer in your life and they will be forever grateful for new toys to play with in the pool. Happy shopping!

QUESTION: What’s your favorite swimming item?

Gym-Free Swimming Challenge

Monday I got home a little before noon. Michael was golfing with Charles on the way home from our camping trip so I had the day to do whatever I wanted. I unpacked, did laundry and then headed to my old pool. Being gym-free on swim days are stressful. I didn’t have any other options than to go to Mt. Scott Community Pool. It was where I started swimming to lose weight. It was where I worked really hard to lose over 100 pounds. I have very fond memories of Mt. Scott.


I also have some not so great memories of the place, which I remembered once I was there on Monday to swim. I arrived about 11:45 and was expecting it to be empty. I mean, it was the middle of the day on a work/school day. I paid the drop-in fee and got changed in the locker room. The pool wasn’t packed but it was busy. The whole pool was dedicated to lap swimming. Every lane had at least 2 people in it. I groaned inwardly and remembered what I disliked about community pools: sharing the lane when it was crowded.


I got in the fast lane with two other people already in it and they circle swam. I also remembered another thing I didn’t like about sharing a lane: everyone goes at a different pace. Even being in the fast lane with other fast swimmers, it’s so hard to find the right pacing. I had to slow down and sometimes stop in the middle of the lane because the guy in front of me wasn’t quite faster than me. I know it sounds petty to be annoyed with other swimmers in the lane but it really is hard to find swimmers who are evenly matched in pace. It’s hard to get a good workout when you have to stop a lot or slow to a breast stroke or dog paddle because you’ve caught up to the person in front of you.


Eventually one of the people in my lane left and we didn’t have to circle swim anymore. The rest of my swim was really enjoyable. It brought back fond memories of my time spent there. The pool at Mt. Scott really is a nice one.


By the time I was done with my 1.5 mile swim the lanes were all empty. Can you believe it? I guess I just picked the wrong time to go.


I relaxed in the hot tub and then took a shower. Where I remembered yet another thing I didn’t like about Mt. Scott: the showers. They are small and the water only stays on for about 15 seconds at a time before automatically shutting off.


You wouldn’t think that’s a big deal but it is when you’re in the middle of the shower and your water shuts off every 15 seconds. It’s these little things that remind me why I must have a gym membership somewhere.

Don’t let me discourage any Portlanders from using Mt. Scott, however. It suited my purposes just fine for 3 years. I used to work out in their small gym:


It had treadmills, ellipticals, weight machines and free weights. It was convenient to where I lived and in my price range. The pool is really nice, too. I definitely recommend Mt. Scott to anyone in the area looking for an affordable option. I just moved beyond this place and needed more in a gym.

Swim Stats:
Time: 57 minutes
Calories Burned: 400

Despite my minor annoyances, I was really glad I went and got in a swim session. I love swimming so much–it would be a really hard thing to give up. Until I figure out the gym thing I will probably drop-in to Mt. Scott for awhile.

The other part I disliked about swimming there: it took me two hours on Monday to swim. I had to drive to Mt. Scott, change, swim, sit in the hot tub, shower, dress, and drive home. Two hours? Two hours out of my life. It’s just not a convenient location to go to for me. 🙁

Monday night’s dinner was a quick and easy dinner. I didn’t feel like going big grocery shopping after camping all weekend. I bought a rotisserie chicken from the store and made us salads, complete with tomatoes from our garden.

It was a good, quick dinner when I really didn’t have much motivation to cook.

QUESTION: If you are a swimmer, how do you deal with pacing when sharing a lane with other people?