This fall my husband and I had one of our weekend getaways to Seward. We enjoyed strolling down to the harbor and sauntered about on the docks. We happened upon a young couple from Israel watching no less than seven different otters cavorting about in a semi-enclosed section of the harbor. Two otters were rafting up, one politely holding on to his nap buddy’s foot. Two more were simply tussling and somersaulting about in playful pairing. Another set were snatching shell fish off the docks’ peers not even a yard from our feet, loudly munching the shells like a kid eating Captain Crunch cereal with his mouth open. Each succession of crunching was followed by a quick spin to rinse off the shell debris. But the one otter that fascinated me the most was the one that liked to run interference. He’d glide in and try to disrupt the rafters, inject himself on the two players’ games and seemed mildly interested in the foodies. He just wanted some involvement. Anything and everything was good.
That’s how I feel about swimming. I took great delight in this one otter’s ease at simply gliding about thoroughly uncommitted to any one particular activity, negotiating the waters with greater ease than a bird does the air. I think humans are water creatures as well, we just haven’t fully recognized it. The evidence is clear that benefits to our human body from swimming surpass other sports simply because this one sport embraces all three of the key components of fitness: flexibility, aerobic and strength training. The beauty of swimming is that there are no harsh effects on the joints. There’s no pounding, no jarring. My brother is a long distance swimmer and he swears it’s good for his mind as well. I think there is something very Zen about free floating thoughts when doing laps. Maybe we all need some of that as a stress reliever. I do know that I climb out of the pool in a better frame of mind than when I went in it. My early morning swim makes me a better employee, a better wife, a better friend, or at least I think it does.
What I appreciate the most about the pool at the Alaska Club East is there are always lanes open for lap swimming, but there are more opportunities for other types of water aficionados as well. The pool may be rocking out with a group fitness class. There may be open swimming for those people who want to just have fun with their kids in the water. One can always take swimming lessons, be a part of the Masters swim group, have your kids immersed in the Gauntlet which is a floating obstacle course designed to get kids to really learn to enjoy the water; and of course, you can take private swimming lessons as well. If you want to have a pool party of some kind (bikini wedding any one?), well that option exists as well. Try out anyone of these great water activities…and experience your inner-otter!
For information on child and adult swim lessons, visit http://www.thealaskaclub.com/starfish-academy-swim-lessons. Check our website for lap swim and open swim schedules at a location near you at http://www.thealaskaclub.com/schedules.