17 Oct

Ledecky and Me: How Swimming is Changing My Life

Hey. McKay here. I’m that girl who is learning how to swim.

 

Here’s how it’s changed my life already:

When I first started my swim lessons, I was focused strictly on the physical aspect of it. Silly me! I have found that swimming is not just propelling yourself through water; it’s a culture. If you’re just learning to swim like I am, I think you will find that it will permeate many more aspects of your life than expected. For instance, you will have to buy way more conditioner than usual, and you will definitely have dreams about swimming.

My rec center: where the magic happens.

My rec center: where the magic happens.

 

You’re going to be bombarded with a lot of lingo. I am finally figuring out what all the different abbreviations mean (even today I had to look up what “IM” means). And on top of that, you’ll have to be good at counting by 25’s and 50’s. My swim class trains in a short course pool; totally unrelated note: I am becoming an expert in paying with quarters recently. I also found this great website for learning all the swim lingo you could ever fathom. It has been a go-to for me these past few months.

 

Like I have said before, swimming exposes you to a new world. It makes you curious. Greatly affected by this, I’ve spent a lot of time looking into well-known swimmers. I mainly went into it to see what swimming technique should look like, but I ended up mesmerized watching these amazing swimmers do their thing. And man, they were doing it. Something grew within me: admiration.

 

So I began to read articles about professional swimmers. Articles like this one gave me new admiration for these amazing people. That’s when I happened upon Katie Ledecky. What an incredible swimmer she is!

Amazing Katie Ledecky

Amazing Katie Ledecky

If you don’t believe me, check this out:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHbNKX3VkIM

 

I look at her and I think, “there’s no way in this whole wide world I could ever do that”. But then I realize that I am doing exactly what she is doing (albeit she’s doing it a lot better than me). I am used to sports that use a ball, those that have the “us against them” mentality. Swimming isn’t like that. When you swim, you swim against yourself. It’s a daily test to see if you are better than you were the day before. That’s something that Katie Ledecky and I have in common. She’s continually improving herself, as I am trying to do.

 

So just remember, when you have those discouraging days (trust me, I’ve had my fair share of them too) that swimming is just a test to see if you are better than you were yesterday. I think that if you have that mindset, you’ll find greater fulfillment in swimming and in yourself.

swim

Just a little endnote here – I have faced quite a few walls in my progress, but I’ve found that focusing on the advice in this article. My swims got better and I got more confident. Check it out!

14 Aug

10 Things You Didn’t Expect from Your First Swim Lesson

1. Trying on way too many swimsuits

You’ll try on at least six.

 

 

2. Needing help to put on your swim cap

All it takes is four thumbs and a crowbar.

You wish it was like this:

But it will feel more like this:

 

 

3. Being slower than a man 200 pounds heavier than you

He should’ve been born a merman.

This is him:

This is you:

 

 

4. Relearning how to breathe

Because apparently you’ve been doing it wrong your entire life.

 

 

5. Swallowing a terrifyingly large amount of pool water

It’s going to happen.

 

 

6. Being exhausted without abusing your body

For the first time ever, you don’t feel like you went though this after a workout:

 

 

7. You WILL pee in the pool

Go to the bathroom beforehand.  Trust me.

 

 

8. Getting encouraging smiles from the veterans

The swim class veterans:

You:

 

 

9. Getting asked what triathlon you’re training for

If you don’t have one, just make something up that sounds pretty hardcore.

 

 

10. By the end, not caring about the swimsuit you spent so much time picking out

All that work…forget it, I’m awesome.

06 Jun

I’m McKay. I Want to Learn How to Swim.

Hello.Untitled design

My name is McKay and I work for AudioFlood.

I am a runner. I love it, I really do. When it’s just me, the trail, and the mountain, that’s when I peel back my various layers and get to the core of who I really am. I’m like a running banana! Not really. I’m hungry. Anyways, I really do love to run, but I feel it is time to try something new, to enhance and build upon that core person.

I am going to learn how to swim! (Excited whoop n’ holler).

Recently, I became the writer for AudioFlood. Random, it seemed to me, to work for a company that focuses so much on swimmers and all watery things when I so desperately cling to dirt and solid ground. How did I end up here? I don’t fully know, but I am glad I did. I have been exposed to a culture, a way of life that is so interesting to me. I am now a beginner swimmer, and I hope that as I write about my experience, other beginner swimmers like me will connect with us at AudioFlood.

It may seem strange that AudioFlood is letting me be so personal, but that’s just how they work. They are good people who want others to have a great swimming, surfing, kayaking, dancing in the rain, singing in the shower, etc. experience. I am a part of it. And I want you to be a part of it, too.

This is a whole new territory for little ol’ me. I’m excited, overwhelmed, a wee bit nervous, and thrilled. I have heard that it is very discouraging to learn to swim, but if you stick it out the rewards are undeniable. I am going to share my experience of all the good days, bad days, drama, swimmer’s ear (what is it, anyway?), and little victories of a beginner swimmer. (One who is lucky enough to start out with an AudioFlood mp3 player, might I add). My hope is that others who are in similar waters will join me and share their knowledge and experiences as well. Everyone starts out as a beginner, so you’ve been here before. I would love suggestions, comments, jokes, you name it. Let’s relate here, folks.

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Do one thing everyday that scares you.”

That is a very hard thing to do, isn’t it? I think so.

rooseveltHow do we overcome fear of the unknown? I’m no expert, believe me, but I have a few ideas. I am a very cautious person naturally. I once took up rock climbing to try and ward off my growing hesitancy to adrenaline. It was an amazing experience. Climbing, as well as running, cycling, swimming, and basically everything in this great little world is more a mental game than anything. It pushes your limits. If your limits have limits, then they will be pushed. If those deeper limits have micromanaging bosses of limits, then those will be “let go”. And so on and so forth.

1. The first thing is to turn your brain off.
Not completely, of course! Stop your gasping. What I mean is you have to mentally go into your mind and unscrew a few things. Let your limits and their bosses take the day off. You just have to stop thinking, “I can’t do this.” “It’s too high.” “Too far.” “Too heavy.” “Too hard.”

Stop that this instant! You are more capable than you think you are. You can breach those limits and surpass them. You can surprise yourself. I surprise myself all the time, but it’s only when I turn off those debilitating parts of my brain that always hold me back from doing hard things.

2. The next step is to hypothetically hire some happy thoughts to fill the new vacancies in your brain. (I’m really enjoying this corporate metaphor we have going on.) I already have given you a few things you can start thinking. “I’m going to surprise myself.” “I can do this.” “My arms are going to be so hunky hot after this.” “I’m loving how the wind feels on my face.” “I love the smell of chlorine in the morning.”

This is a difficult task when you’re in pain or running out of juice. Too bad that “special stuff” on Space Jam isn’t real. That would’ve saved us all a lot of trouble. But alas, since you or I are not Loony Toons or Michael Jordan, we must train ourselves to think positively. Even if it means looking at where you are and what you’re doing and finding only one little good thing. Cling to it. It’s your own “special stuff.” Hold tight, knuckle white. It will get you through, I promise.

new oceansThanks to AudioFlood, I can challenge my limits and write about it. Thanks to you for joining and connecting with me. Here we go.

 

I’m jumping in.

 

15 May

10 Most Random Ideas for a Waterproof Ipod Shuffle

We can’t hide the fact that we are a species who has grown very attached to our musical companions, the iPod.  But how much better would it be if we could take our besties into the water with us?  I’ll tell you how much better.  You could take it:

  1. In the Shower/Bath – If you thought singing in the shower was the best, wait till you can’t even hear yourself singing along!

  2. Take your shuffle on a water ride at the waterpark – Believe me it will change your perspective on waterparks.
    Water Park Ride

  3. Take it snorkeling – Making up lives for the colorful Nemo and Dorys of the sea is much easier done with some theme music.

  4. Take it paddleboarding – Admit it.  You thought you had good balance, then you attempted paddleboarding.  Don’t risk it, just waterproof it.

  5. Frolicking through the sprinklers – Because some songs just remind us of our childhood, and it’s hard to resist a good water frolicking when that happens.
    Sprinkler Run

  6. When having a squirt gun fight – Because some daunting music makes the chase that much better.

  7. Go Slip n’ Sliding to your favorite beats!
    Slip n Slide

  8. Treading Water – Dominate your next treading competition by listening to “Gonna Fly Now” popularly known as the Rocky Theme Song.

  9. Synchronized Swimming – How much easier if you all could actually hear the music, genius.
    Synchronized Swimming

  10. Underwater Archaeology/Wreck Diving – Because being an underwater Indiana Jones is just more legit with music.
    Wreck Diving

So go ahead, love your iPod, we won’t tell. Bring that baby with you everywhere, even if it includes a place with marginal water or copious amounts of jet infused water intensity. Love that waterproof iPod!

15 May

World Swimming Records

It seems that open-water swimming records have become more popular in recent memory. With more people trying to repeat and beat current world records and etch their name in history. In September 2013, Diana Nyad became the first person ever to swim from Cuba to Key West, Florida without the aid of a shark cage.  She swam the 110 mile stretch in just under 53 hours. Diana had tried to swim the stretch four previous times starting in 1978.  Thirty-five years after her first attempt, the 64-year-old finally reached her goal.

Cuba Waters

Although the idea of marathon swimming seems like a new concept, the sport has been documented since the 1800’s. In 1875, Captain Matthew Webb became the first recorded person to swim across the English Channel without the use of artificial aids. The swim lasted just less than 22 hours, and Captain Webb traveled more than 39 miles in his zig-zagging path.

The English Channel

In 1926, Gertrude Ederle became the youngest person (19) and first female to swim across the English Channel. She swam the channel in 14 hours and 39 minutes. She held that record for twenty-four years until Florence Chadwick broke it in 1950.

The King and Queen of the Channel is the title bestowed on the man and woman who have completed the most successful swims across the English Channel. There have been 8 different Kings of the Channel with the current record of successful swims at 34 for Kevin Murphy. The Queen of the Channel title is currently held by Alison Streeter with 43 successful swims.  Only five different women have held the title of Queen of the Channel.

The most famous marathon swims are the English Channel and from Cuba to Florida. Two collections of marathon swims are the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming (it includes the English Channel, from Catalina Island to mainland California, and around Manhattan Island) and the Ocean’s Seven (the North Channel, Cook Strait, Molokai Channel, English Channel, Catalina Channel, Tsugaru Strait, and the Strait of Gibraltar).

Cook Strait

The Ocean’s Seven is the hardest one to achieve, because the channels are spread across the world. Only four people have accomplished the Ocean’s Seven. Irishman Steve Redmond became the first person to complete all of the Seven on May 15, 2012 when he finished the Tsugaru Strait.  Anna-Carin Nordin of Sweden, Michelle Macy, and Darren Miller of the United States are the other three people to have completed the swims.

15 May

Best Places to Swim Free

Favorite Water Holes in the U.S.

There are many random places across the United States that have beautiful open water areas perfect for swimming, diving, and activities of the like. People have claimed these natural swimming resources for just that, and have shared their location and beauty with others. Here are a few of these great finds:

Blanchard Springs Caverns

Blanchard Springs Caverns

Fifty Six, Arkansas

Jumping into these waters automatically admits you to the Polar Bear club, the average temperature of the water is around 58 degrees.

Bridal Veil Falls

Bridal Veil Falls Georgia

Tallulah Gorge State Park, Georgia

This has been dubbed the “Niagara of the South” due to its beautiful waterfalls and vast depth. These waters are second deepest only to the Grand Canyon.

White Rock Park

St. Paul, Indiana

Not only is there swimming to be done at White Rock Park, but there is high diving from three platforms (the highest of which is 10 meters), scuba diving, rope swinging, and zip lining to keep you busy.

Big Hollow Recreation Area

West Burlington, Iowa

This area has plenty of space to go on a long distance swim. It is a nearly 200-acre lake.

Robert H. Treman State

Ithaca, New York

Home to a dozen natural waterfalls—one of which you can swim up under and into the park’s designated, stream-fed swimming area.

Lake McConaughy

Lake McConaughy Nebraska

Ogallala, Nebraska

A wonderful swimming area with sandy beaches and clear water.

Aztec Falls

San Bernardino National Forest, California

A number of cliffs near this water hole offer dives ranging from 5 to almost 60 feet high, there are also poolside stones where the less adventurous can sunbathe.

Havasu Falls

Havasu Falls Arizona

Havasupai Indian Reservation, Arizona

There is a 120-foot waterfall perfect for sitting beneath whilst enjoying the shade of the cottonwood trees. This is a place of extreme isolation, only reachable by chartered helicopter, mule, horse, or an overnight hike, so you most likely will not encounter large crowds.

Opal Pool

Opal Pool Oregon

Willamette National Forest, Oregon

Another chilling natural water hole, where even through the hottest days of summer, the waters still chill at around 42 degrees. So hold your breath, curl your toes, and get ready for it to take your breath away.

Wakulla Springs

Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park, Florida

This is one of the largest and deepest freshwater springs in the world, with about 250 million gallons of fresh, clear water that flows from its underground cave each day.

Brandywine River

Wilmington, Delaware

Enjoy the river’s current as you ride down one pool of water to the next. Or if you’re more on the elite side, swim against the current to workout your arms and legs.

The Blue Hole

Wimberley, Texas

This is a spring-fed pool with gorgeous water where a number of people gather each day of the summer to enjoy the cooling water.


While these natural swimming holes are fun and entertaining for everyone. Some of the more elite swimmers prefer open water to pool lanes. So much in fact, that there are now a number of open water competitions. Follow the link to see the 2014 schedule, or read further to learn about a few.

Location of Open Water Competitions

LV10K Open Water Swim

Boulder City, NV

This competition includes 10k, 5k, and 1 mile open water swim races in the beautiful Lake Mead, known for being home to the famous Hoover Dam. It features massages for races both before and after the race, a beautiful view of the mountains, a bunch of impressive saw, silicone racing caps, and plenty of friendly competition.

Jordan Lake Open Water Challenge

Apex, NC

This is a 1.2 or 2.4 mile open water swim that starts at the Vista Point sailboat launching area on Jordan Lake, outside Pittsboro, NC.

2014 USMS 2.4 mile open water national Championships

Chattanooga, TN

A 2.4 mile open water swim on the Tennessee River in the Downtown Chattanooga Waterfront at Coolidge Park/Renaissance Park.

Great Salt Lake Open Water Swim

The Great Salt Lake Utah

Magna, UT

Experience swimming in one of the most unique and salty bodies of water on the planet at the  annual Great Salt Lake Open Water Swim. This includes a 1 mile or 8.12 mile point-to-point swim with both wetsuit and non-wetsuit divisions.

DAM Lake Berryessa Swim 1-mile Open Water National Championship

Napa, CA

Take on the 1-mile open water race in Lake Berryessa, one of the oldest open water swims in Northern California.

Fire Island 1 mile, 5k, and 10k Ocean Swim

Fireisland New York

Fire Island, NY

Choose to do a 1 Mile, 5K, or 10K Open Water Ocean Race. The swim takes place 30 feet off the shores, allowing swimmers to swim parallel to the beach.

06 May

The 10 Best Movies About Swimming

There is no doubt that we, at AudioFlood, have a great love for swimmers. It is the reason why we developed the best waterproofing process for iPod shuffles and headphones. We wish to share our love for swimming and swimmers, which is why we have also compiled a list of great, inspiring, entertaining, and fun movies that heavily showcase swimming and swimmers. So, without further hesitation, let’s take a look at the list in no particular rank or order:

The Swimmer (1968)

Starring Burt Lancaster, the film tells the story of an upper-class, middle-aged man who visits an old friend from his neighborhood and decides to swim his way home, going from pool to pool throughout his neighborhood. After each swim, his life story is slowly revealed as he recounts past experiences to his neighbors. The film has been favorably accepted by audiences. It boasts a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes with a 7.7/10 rating on IMDb.

Dangerous When Wet (1953)

This light-hearted musical comedy is one the entire family can enjoy. It tells the story of Katie Higgins, who enters a contest to become the first to swim the English Channel. It is a pleasant little movie that is most remembered for featuring a dream sequence in which Katie dreams of swimming with the famous cartoon characters, Tom & Jerry.

Alex (1993)

This film is a foreign film from New Zealand, but tells an inspiring story of overcoming amazing odds. Alex is a headstrong teen who dreams of qualifying for the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, Italy. In addition to her extensive and intense swim training, Alex also must juggle her studies, piano and ballet lessons, as well as the death of her boyfriend.

Swimfan (2002)

Though this film was not well-received, it has become a guilty pleasure for some. High school senior Ben is the star of his swim team with scouts from Stanford University courting his talents. Ben also has a new fan, transfer student Madison who successfully seduces Ben even though he has a steady girlfriend. Now, as Madison becomes increasingly obsessive, she threatens to ruin everything Ben as worked so hard to achieve including his personal life.

On A Clear Day (2005)

After losing his job, Frank feels desperately alone and decides to challenge himself to increase his self-confidence by attempting the nearly impossible: swimming the English Channel. His friends are soon caught up in support of Frank and his new life goal. The film stars mainly English actors and co-stars Billy Boyd, best known as the Hobbit, Pippin, from The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Splash (1984)

Ok, so here’s a film that features a fantastical swimmer: a mermaid. This is one of Tom Hanks’ most memorable films of the 80s and gave his career the jumpstart it needed. Hanks plays Allen who was saved by a mermaid (Daryl Hannah) as a boy. As an adult, he falls in love with the same mermaid not knowing who or what she really is.

Swimming Upstream (2005)

This is the inspiring true story of Tony Fingleton. Tony comes from an unhappy home and has never won the love and pride of his father (played by Geoffrey Rush). When Tony shows extraordinary talent as a swimmer, he finally feels that he has a legitimate chance of winning over his stubborn father’s heart.

The Guardian (2006)

Starring Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher, The Guardian tells the story of a young swimming champion with a troubled past who enrolls in the Coast Guard training school under the tutelage of legendary swimmer and diver, Ben Randall, played by Costner.

Pride (2007)

There were many sport-themed films that came out in the 2000s, and while they are typically filled with cliches, most can still inspiring such as this film starring Terrence Howard. Howard plays a determined swim coach named Jim Ellis, who starts a swim team for troubled teens, and teaches them about never giving up and working hard to succeed.

Jaws (1975)

Alright, so this film doesn’t feature great swimmers and will likely make you never want to go in the water again, but it’s too classic not to mention in a movie list featuring water. It launched Steven Spielberg’s career as one of Hollywood’s most sought after directors. It also is considered to be the first summer blockbuster. Though the shark now looks artificial, the movie still produces its fair share of scares and thrills.

Are there any swim-related movies that we missed. Comment below and let us know which are your favorites!

01 May

Swimmer Tips for Everyone

It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, swimming is on your mind. You live it, love it, breathe it, boast it. Sometimes you just want to let the world know how much you love swimming! So, if you are on the lookout for anything swimming related, here are some fun and random tips for whatever floats your boat.

For the Kiddies

  1. Pretend kid car or bike wash with pool noodles
  2. Inflatable pool → Outdoor foam pit
  3. Larger than life bubbles
  4. Kiddie pool → Backyard water garden
  5. Trampoline safety
  6. Life-Size Lincoln Logs

In the Pool

  1. Ticklish throat? Scratch your ear.
  2. The secret to de-fogging your goggles
  3. How do you keep a pool healthy?
  4. Breathing Techniques
  5. Audioflood for waterproof tunes

Rockin’ That Swim Style

  1. Looking for vintage swimsuits? We’ve got two sites for that (here) and (here).
  2. Build an underwater city
  3. Solution to swim tan lines during prom
  4. Get yo’self a Disco Ball Pool
  5. Summer swimming pool → Winter patio and firepit
  6. A swimming pool wedding

Whatever the situation, you can infuse your love of swimming into it and make it your own. So go ahead and satisfy your swimmer addiction. It’s time to have some fun and spread the swimmer spirit! Have any more tips to contribute to the list?

15 Apr

10 Gross Facts About Swimmers and the Pools They Swim in

Pee in the Pool

While pools are generally packed with chlorine, it doesn’t always mean they’re the cleanest places. As most swimmers understand, there are a few things about the pool that people just don’t want to be reminded of. So here we go, we’re reminding you of all the gross, creepy, and odd things that go on in the pool and on a swim team.

  1. That hairball that floats across the bottom of the pool like a tumbleweed….is that you’re hair? my hair? Shoot! Where’d it go?
  2. The mysterious floating band-aide everyone avoids as they’re swimming by.
  3. The months that females do not shave…
  4. The months that males DO shave…
  5. Using the pool as a means to bathe, rather than actually bathing.
  6. That person that eats right before practice and ends up yakking on the pool deck.
  7. Dude, you got boogers everywhere.
  8. That guy with pink eye that came to practice anyway…really dude? Goggles do not block that stuff!
  9. When the swimmer next to you spits into the pool and it lands in your lane. Well alright, let me just mix that up for ya.
  10. Pee in the pool; turns out, it’s not good for your health!

While there is an instinctual eww factor when it comes to peeing in the pool, most swimmers do it anyway. However, according to an article by The Atlantic, chemists have found that when urine comes in contact with chlorine it creates two chemicals: trichloramine and cyanogen chloride. Trichloramine has been linked to respiratory problems and cyanogen chloride has been known to affect the lungs, central nervous system, and cardiovascular system. So technically, not only is it a gross aspect of being a swimmer, it’s also bad for your health!

Of all the creepy things that go on in a swimming pool and on a swim team, swimmers continue to do their thing day in and day out. “It becomes a part of you,” they say. “You don’t notice after a while,” is the claim that is made. Whatever the case may be, a swimmer’s world is simply unlike a drylander’s.

03 Apr

Conquering Nature

Whether it’s a waterfall or whitewater, Craig Kleckner beats them all! Growing up in a wrestling family in Pennsylvania, Kleckner inherited the courageous and resilient characteristics of a wrestler. However, unlike his three older brothers, Kleckner found his passion in kayaking. Kleckner has paddled all over the world from Grand Canyon in Colorado to the White Nile River in Uganda, from Ontario to West Virginia.

In 2012, Kleckner traveled to different places including Ontario, British Columbia, California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, and West Virginia. With the help of his friends, Dave Fusilli, Mike Patterson, Carly Fusilli and Nick Murphy, Kleckner is able to keep all of the memorable moments of his adventure. Have you ever imagine yourself free jumping from an 80-foot waterfall? Sounds scary!

Kleckner, without fear, paddled over the edge of the Koosah Falls on the McKenzie River, and won the best drop entry from River of the Year Awards in 2012. Check out the thrilling moment at 1:41.The jump is another highlight in the career of Craig Kleckner besides many waterfalls he attempted. In this video, after meticulous preparatory work, Klecker paddled over the right side of the waterfall and gradually approached the tip of the waterfall. And that’s when Kleckner made the jaw-dropping jump.

You might wonder if Kleckner ever feels scared at all. In an interview with NRS, Kleckner expressed his passion in paddling.

“It’s challenging, fun, and sometimes scary. Everything about paddling is great, from the lifestyle to the traveling to the people,” Kleckner said.

Kleckner’s profile on NRS says he listens to a variety of music, from country to hip-hop, from pop to rock. For kayakers like Kleckner, it is impossible to use ipods and earphones without waterproofing. Thanks to the development of technology, Kleckner is able to enjoy his passion of paddling while listening to music. Check out the waterproofing technique Kleckner uses for his ipods and earphones.