By Do Lee
UVA has offered swimming for fitness classes to adults for a while now. Hopefully this post will inspire you to add swimming to your workout routine.
What is swimming for fitness, exactly?
I talked to Justin Anderson, Aquatics Facilities and Program Manager, to learn more.
Anderson said swimming is an excellent workout because it builds both muscle endurance and strength. When the strokes are performed properly, swimming helps increase in flexibility and lengthen the muscles. Swimming also teaches you to control your breathing, which promotes greater lung capacity. On top of this, it engages the hip, back and abdominal muscles, making it a great core workout.
Swimming is also a great way to clear your mind. When you’re in the pool, there’s nothing between you and the water, giving you space to think while working out. It is like yoga, except underwater!
Learning to swim for fitness involves improving your stroke mechanics to ensure your workouts are efficient and productive. With these basic pointers, you’ll be on your way to a successful exercise.
Justin’s pointers on swimming for fitness:
- Swim for a steady 45 minutes if you want a good swim workout. This does not include warm-ups and cool-downs!
- Swimming with friends is a good way to keep you going. You and your friends can depend on each other to help each other finish your workouts.
- Since water creates resistance against the body watch for your muscles to become stronger and more toned with regular practice.
Just getting started?
- Fundamentals come first! Firm grasps on the basics can make your workout easier.
- Don’t be afraid of the Master Swimming class. It is not what you’d expect! You just have to be 18 or older to participate in the class and able to swim proficiently for a few hundred yards.
- Be consistent. Take your time with it, and go at your own pace. It will take you more than one class to get the hang of swimming for fitness.
- Keep an open mind. Just because the workout isn’t going smoothly as you would like it to, don’t give up.
- Listen to your instructors. They know what they are talking about, and their suggestions are definitely worth considering. Trainers will help you reach your goals, so let them!
Do Lee is a second-year student in the College and is a member of IM-Rec Sports' Marketing team.
By Michael Ellis
Having lifeguarded for the past two summers, I’m not stranger to the perks of the job. I made friends with swimmers, young and old, and got to wear (and keep) all the cool lifeguard swag that my pool issued out.
Now why am I bragging about all the perks of being a saver of lives? Well, here at IM-Rec Sports, we consider the Aquatic & Fitness Center one of our crowning jewels. Our pool is ginormous, has a 10-meter high dive, and even has a smaller pool sidekick with a basketball hoop. But in order to enjoy all the fun the AFC has to offer, we need help. More specifically we need lifeguards.
I met up with one of our lifeguards, Nathan Wrenn, who worked last summer to shed some light on his experience with us.
Nathan told me working for IM-Rec Sports as a lifeguard is the ideal summer job because it offers good hours and a flexible schedule. “It’s a pretty laid back environment. And in the summer you can work as much as you want. You pretty much choose your own schedule,” he said.
If you’re wondering about certification, Nathan said “I got certified when I was 15 and it’s easy to get recertified after that. It’s also free to get recertified if you’re working for IM-Rec Sports as a lifeguard.”
It’s not too late to apply! We are still hiring for both the AFC and North Grounds Recreation Center pools. If lifeguarding is not your thing, we are hiring for plenty other summer positions as well. Check out our website for job opportunities this summer.
Good luck to all of you on your finals and see you this summer!
Photo: Marshall Bronfin
Michael Ellis is a second year student going into the Batten School of Public Policy. In addition to writing for IM-Rec Sports, Michael is involved in Cavs in the Classroom and the Phi Gamma Delta (Fiji) fraternity.
By Trey Lee
Justin Anderson is the Aquatic Facility and Program Manager for North Grounds Recreation Center (NGRC). The aquatic center includes the pool (25 yards x 25 meters, 10 lanes), the sauna and hot tub. He received his undergraduate degree from Texas A&M University-Commerce and went on to get his masters at Western Kentucky University. He isn’t a born and raised Virginian, but his wife is, making the decision to manage this great new expansion at NGRC even better!
Q: Tell us about the expansion details. Obviously there’s a new pool here, but what else is included?
A: Here at NGRC, the new addition begins just past the original locker rooms downstairs, where the new cycle room is located. If you come upstairs, there is a wet classroom which has the ability to host certifications through the American Red Cross for our instructors, CPR for lifeguards, even SCUBA instruction. When you come around the corner in the hallway there’s a multipurpose room that hosts Drop-in Group Exercise classes and is an open functional space for members to use on their own as part of their fitness routine. A little farther down the hall, we have two international singles squash courts that are unique on Grounds. And then we have the pool facility with two new locker rooms.
Q: I recently attended Erica Perkins’ Cycle-45 class in which she incorporated pictures from the Sochi Winter Olympics. I thought that was a great usage of media and technology into the classes, exercises, and help promote health and fitness. Are you applying such methods anywhere else and do you see where that’s heading?
A: In the wet classrooms, we have the capability of streaming Apple TV allowing us to utilize video in a classroom setting, so students can have the practical in front of them in addition to listening to an instructor. They practice as they watch and the instructors step in with the Apple TV modules, making it more of an interactive classroom. As opposed to an instructor lecturing and mimicking what the instructors doing, they [the participants] now have the actual scenario on the Apple TV. We are able to stream the music you hear on the pool deck continuously from iTunes radio or Pandora. We have positive feedback from our patrons saying that the music is great because we’re able to change it whenever we want to instead of it being stuck on a loop and hearing the same songs over and over.
Q: What part of the expansion do you think is attracting the most students?
A: We’ve had a lot of usage of the pool. People were really excited that we have a new body of water on Grounds since the varsity swim and dive program uses the pool at the AFC quite a bit. This facility is open from 6 am to 9:30 pm Monday-Thursday; Friday 6 am to 8 pm; Saturday 9 am to 5 pm; and Sunday 12 pm to 8 pm. With these hours, there is minimal interruption of lap swim or programming. We’re always able to accommodate programming from private swim lessons to varsity team promotions. We also have an additional sauna and whirlpool, so we’re able to offer the same amenities as the AFC, just on a different part of Grounds.
Q: Why do you think the expansion was necessary?
A: The expansion was necessary because the four recreation facilities only included one pool, which was the main attraction. Additional space was needed because there are a lot of lap swimmers and there wasn’t enough open recreation time available to accommodate them. Programs are ever expanding, and there was a need for more functional space for group fitness classes, instructional programming, and providing more of a wellness and fitness environment for members on North Grounds. Instead of having to travel all the way over to central Grounds to go to Mem Gym, AFC, or Slaughter Rec, they have everything they need at NGRC.
Q: What do you think about NGRC’s pool being the only body of water open over Spring Break and what other activities do you think students will do on Grounds?
A: I think that the numbers will definitely increase over the break considering that we’re the only aquatic space open on Grounds during this time. I think that the students, if the weather continues the way it’s going, will enjoy the sauna and the hot tub more because it is a little cooler. With Spring Break coming off of single digit nights, low double digit mornings, and a snow day that’s probably what they’ll utilize the most. We have a significant lap swimmer population and ten open lanes so they will come!
Q: What is your favorite part about your position?
A: I really enjoy working with my student staff. Getting to know them as individuals, knowing their strengths, where they come from, and academically and how that fits into their role here as a lifeguard. Also, I enjoy providing learning opportunities for the student staff that can play an important role in making them striving citizens within the UVA community or wherever they go after this. Working with the students and knowing that they’re here for the right reasons: they love lifeguarding.
I love the youth swim program, seeing the smile on little kids’ faces as they learn how to swim is fantastic! Seeing students that have been trained by us as professionals, implement their teaching styles, how they interact with children and seeing that in full effect with the child as they learn how to swim—you can’t beat that.
Facility-wise, we have a great team at North Grounds in Chris Maslaney, the Facility Manager, Emily Forch and Joe McDuffie, Assistant Facility Managers. I couldn’t ask for a better team to work with. We will do anything for any patron that utilizes the facility (within reason obviously) to make their experience that more enjoyable.
Q: What is one thing that you would change about IM-Rec Sports?
A: I am a huge proponent of student-staff development. As professionals, we need to provide as many opportunities for our students to not only grow within the workplace, but outside as well. Being able to collaborate with my colleagues to provide such opportunities would be one addition to the already excelling program that I would add.
Trey Lee is a second-year student in the Engineering School. His best times at UVA have been his involvements in IM-Rec Sports. He aims to keep people informed and excited about all UVA has to offer.
The first thing Karla said to me was, “Well, where’s your swim suit?!” And that wasn’t the only time she insisted on me getting in the pool. Last week, I sat in on the IM-Rec Sports “Terrified Adults Swim Class”, taught by the one and only Karla Berger. Before you ask, yes. It’s a real class. And it’s unique in all the right ways.
Karla is “pushing 75” (shhhh…she told me not to tell anyone) and yet has more energy than most college students do after four cups of coffee and a couple of Redbulls. Trust me, I would know. I quickly realized that she’s the reason why this class has a “100% success rate.”
After a quick warm-up, I was surprised to see her harnessing a student to a rope via carabiner (in the deep end). The student began treading and touching the bottom of the pool, completely submerged with Karla holding on loosely. Granted this was the 6th class, but was I missing something? Her students truly trust her because she puts them “in a position so they know what will work.” On top of this, the student was smiling. According to Karla, “The rope is just to get people moving” and her real goal is to show the students that the water pushes their bodies back up to the surface naturally.
After finishing up the class in the shallows, I knew why Karla’s students love her. The amount of times I laughed while watching the class was countless, but that’s the point. Karla believes that through a funny and enthusiastic environment, learning how to overcome personal aquatic hindrances “really ain’t that bad.”
This blog also doubles as my official nomination of Karla Berger as our school’s next Cav Man!