When the soaring mercury sends bikers and runners to the gym, swimming can keep our summer workouts beneath the open sky. But even in Las Vegas, with its profusion of backyard pools, many of us aren’t in tune with what it takes to actually make swimming part of an effective fitness regime. Dacha Nedorezova, a former member of Russia’s national synchronized-swimming team and now the aquatic coach for Le Rêve, has some hints:
• For people with joint issues, swimming is better than high-impact activities.
• With proper technique, swimming is a great whole-body, cardiovascular workout.
What equipment do I need?
• Start with goggles. It’s not the quality but the shape that matters most. Spend time in the store trying on several types.
• Your suit should be tight but flexible enough that you can move. Ask for help. The staff members at LV Swim 2000 (4137 S. Maryland Pkwy., 696-9290) are very knowledgeable.
• Things such as kickboards and flippers can wait; getting the proper technique is more important.
So, what is the proper technique?
• Swimming is not natural for our bodies, so we have the tendency to do whatever we think is right—and that’s usually wrong. Take a few classes to learn how the body should work in the pool.
• A secret of efficient swimming is to use only the muscles that are necessary to propel the body forward and keep the rest of the body neutral. Give the muscles rest by relaxing between strokes. Sometimes by contracting the entire body, the athlete gets fatigued faster.
• Squeeze the fingers together and hold your hand strong and flat in line with the forearm while pulling.
What if I get discouraged?
• Swimming is difficult. Start with shorter workouts of 200 meters. Maybe have a coach look at you once a month to see if you’ve improved.
• As with a lot of sports, it’s all about practice.
• Take the time to just enjoy that weightless sensation!
What are the Valley’s best pools?
• My favorite pool is the Henderson Multigenerational Center. The Pavilion Center Pool (Summerlin) is also great, as well as Downtown’s Municipal Pool and the city’s Desert Breeze indoor and outdoor pools.
• A beginner should look for a pool that has lap lanes in shallow water—4 feet or less. If you’re exhausted, stop and catch your breath!