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Team GB go for gold: Why you should get back into swimming if you haven’t done it since school

Time to get swimming

The success of Tom Dean, Adam Peaty et al in Tokyo, is inspiring many of us to jump in the pool.

We’re only a few days into the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but Team GB is already making a splash in the pool.

Tom Dean has won two gold medals, making him the first British male swimmer to do so at a single Olympics in 113 years. Adam Peaty has also had a stellar competition, taking home gold for the men’s 100m breaststroke.

Tom Dean celebrates winning the the men's 200m freestyle
Tom Dean celebrates winning the the men’s 200m freestyle (Martin Meissner/AP)

If you’re watching everything going down at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre in awe, you can also get in on the action – even if the last time you swam some lengths was back at school.

Swimming can sometimes seem like a bit of a faff: you have to get changed at the pool, deal with wet hair, and getting out of the water in the middle of winter isn’t always appealing.

However, the positives definitely outweigh the negatives. If you find watching Team GB boss it in the pool just a bit inspiring, we’d argue now is the perfect time to take up swimming again…

It’s a killer total body workout

You don’t have to be an Olympic athlete to see benefits from swimming. Even just a gentle breaststroke or front crawl is brilliant exercise: it manages to work muscles you’ve totally forgotten about. If you’re hunched over a desk all day or only do a certain type of exercise, give swimming a try and see how much stronger and more open you feel.

It’s low impact

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If you’ve got dodgy knees or any other kind of joint injury, swimming means you can still get a good workout. As the water supports your body, it’s great for anyone recovering from an injury.

It’s a good way to meet new people

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Swimming is a solo sport: it tends to be just you and the pool. However, there are plenty of great swimming clubs around if you’re looking to meet some new people and broaden your social circle. You can find one tailored to your abilities – from non-judgemental beginner groups to something a bit more competitive – and make friends with like-minded people.

If you haven’t swum in years and are a bit nervous about getting back into the pool, joining a club could help build your confidence and give you tips and tricks you hadn’t thought about.

It’s meditative

Your first few sessions might feel a bit nervy if it’s been a while since you’ve hit the pool. However, once you get into the swing of things, you might find doing laps is truly meditative. Many people find concentrating on the rhythm of their strokes helps them to unplug, unwind and come out feeling refreshed.

It’s fun

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Exercising is so much easier when you actually want to do it. Swimming is fun – even if you’re doing serious lengths, it still evokes that feeling of childhood and splashing around in a pool. If something is enjoyable, you’re far more likely to stick with it.

Plus, nothing can beat the feeling of success after a good session in the pool.

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