Lindsey Reese values fitness as an important aspect of her life. She has always loved to run, and thinks that being a positive role model in health and fitness to her three young boys is important. But one popular fitness activity, swimming, was never an option for her.
Lindsey never liked the water, and like many women, definitely didn’t like to be seen by anyone in a swimsuit. She failed swimming class twice in college. “I honestly thought there was not a person alive who could teach me,” she said.
In January, she began group swim lessons at the Monon Community Center and worked with several instructors including Leah Weprich, who is the Aquatics Program Supervisor at Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation.
In class, Lindsey had difficulty with breathing technique and struggled with focusing on the strokes themselves and what she needed to do to move through the water. She was discouraged seeing others around her swim so effortlessly when it was so difficult for her.
Through multiple group and private lessons with Leah, Reese’s comfort and confidence slowly improved.
“Leah’s love of swimming was contagious and because of her, I have learned to love it too,” said Reese. “She was successful in teaching me to swim which I never dreamed was possible.”
It wasn’t long before Reese’s hard work paid off and she successfully swam a full mile in the lap pool at the Monon Community Center. “It was amazing,” said Reece, remembering the pride she felt when she finished that final lap in her first mile-long swim. “I used to try to picture myself doing it, and one day I just kept going and focused on counting the number of laps.”
Once she completed her first mile, swimming became something she loved to do. Lindsey considers learning to swim one of her biggest accomplishments, and although she continues to struggle with her speed and endurance in the water, she constantly pushes herself and notices improvements in each workout.
Learning to swim didn’t only improve her fitness abilities. It has improved her life, including the relationship she has with her children who always begged their mom to join them in the water. Now, Lindsey says she’s the first one in the pool.
As Monon Community Center members, Lindsey and her family are able to enjoy other parts of the Monon Community Center including the indoor activity pool and The Waterpark in the summer months. They’ve even participated in the department’s Summer Camp Series, which does not require campers to be members at the Monon Community Center or residents of Carmel.
So, what’s next in her fitness journey? She plans to purchase a bike soon to begin training for an upcoming Half Ironman Triathlon in the spring. She has always wanted to do a triathlon, but looked at the swimming leg of the race as an obstacle she simply could not overcome. Swimming has given her the confidence she needs to complete the 70.3 mile race. A Half Ironman Triathlon consists of a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike ride and a 13.1 mile run.
It is important for Lindsey to continue to be a positive role model for fitness and overcoming obstacles to her three boys, so she continues to work out in the lap pool and improve her swimming technique. This was a challenge that, a year ago, Lindsey believed she would never overcome.
“I used to pray that the lesson would end. It was so hard! It took months for me to learn to swim, but it was worth the effort,” she said. “I would tell others to be patient when trying to learn a new skill. Keep pushing forward and you’ll make it.”