2020 is the year for our swimming community to get stronger together! We teamed up with Funkita to showcase some amazing swimmers who are getting stronger in and out of the water.
Noora Valkonen (@nooravalkonen), is a journalist and MySwimPro community member based in Helsinki, Finland. She has swum every day from June 2019 to March 2020, and plans to swim as long as she can before her pool closes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the second blog in a 4-part series, Noora shares why she started swimming every day, and how it’s helped her feel strong, empowered and healthy! Read Noora’s first blog here.
You know the feeling when you dive into the water? Slowly tuning into the rhythm of your stroke and your breath, picking up pace as you go along. Losing track of time and place. Feeling energized, calm and refreshed. Ready to face whatever comes.
I wanted to experience that every day! And I have! For more than 280 days — from June 2019 to March 2020 — I have swum every day.
Why I Started My Swim Streak
Initially the idea of a swim streak came to me from Ashtanga yoga. “Just get on your mat every day with an open mind. Just practice, and all is coming.” I heard these sayings often in yoga. I remember thinking: why not try this philosophy in swimming, since it is my favorite thing? So I decided to swim every day for a month.
Swimming every day has given me lots of self confidence. I believe I can do whatever I set my mind to, even when there are hardships and things I can’t control.
Swimming daily felt so wonderful and captivating that I just kept going. Now I’ve been swimming every day for over 250 days. It has become a habit, a routine. Something I will keep for life. Swimming every day has given me lots of self confidence. I believe I can do whatever I set my mind to, even when there are hardships and things I can’t control. I’ve also deepened my relationship with – and the feel of – the water.
People are meant to move every day instead of being passive and sitting for hours! I strongly believe that moving every day is the key to health and longevity. Even if you want to race, building a solid base is very important, and that comes with incorporating movement into your everyday life.
My biggest dream is to swim for charity one day, raising funds for eating disorder treatment.
Honoring My Body
My daily swims have helped me learn to respect and listen to my body more than before. My swim streak has inspired me to encourage others to do the same, no matter whether they’re training for a race or just enjoy swimming.
The water doesn’t mind what my body – or any other body – looks like. It always welcomes me as I am. That is very empowering.
We only have one body to take us through life. So nurture it, take care of it and keep it healthy. Don’t push yourself into a situation where you need days and weeks or even months to recover.
Swimming has made me a stronger woman, too, both mentally and physically. When suffering from an eating disorder I used to be very unhappy with the way I looked. Jumping into the pool is like therapy: the water doesn’t mind what my body – or any other body – looks like. It always welcomes me as I am. That is very empowering.
How I Use MySwimPro
Most of my swims are intuitive, meaning that I jump in the pool and do what I feel like doing. MySwimPro has helped keep me motivated and inspired. It has also given me good tips on how to improve my technique as I go along. Sometimes I follow a plan depending on what I think I need. I just started the Kick Technique Bootcamp because I want to improve my kick!
Ending My Swim Streak
When I found out my swim streak was going to end due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I had to process it for many days. Thankfully I have been able to continue swimming in a small pool where they allow only ten people at the time. Water gives me much needed headspace, like it always has.
I knew I was not the only one being disappointed that life did not go as planned. But that’s how life is, and we all need to accept it. You just never know.
To stay fit and healthy, I’m walking a lot and I’m enjoying it! I also do my normal yoga and mobility exercises, and ordered some home training equipment such as dumbells and TRX suspension cables.
For me it was also important to distance myself from social media, because the virus seemed to take over there as well.
When the pools reopen, I will start another streak for sure. The fact that I want to swim every day has not changed. My new streak can last a lifetime!
Inspired by Noora’s story? Stay tuned for part 3 in this 4-part series! Read Noora’s first blog here! Keep up with her swim streak on Instagram, using the hashtag #SwimStreak.
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