Swimming, whether competitively or just for pleasure or fitness, gets a lot of attention on this website, and rightly so, since it’s what most people come to the pool to do. But swimming isn’t the only game in town. If you’re looking for something different to add to your routine this autumn, see if your local pool offers (or can connect you with) any of the following activities.
Diving. Springboard or platform diving will help you build strength, flexibility and body awareness while perfecting some slick acrobatic moves.
Synchronized diving. Once you’ve mastered diving alone, add the challenge of diving in perfect synchronicity with a team member. Not easy.
Triathlon. Yes, triathlon still involves plain old swimming, but you get to ride your bike and run afterward!
Modern pentathlon. If you want maximum variety in your sports, the modern version of the pentathlon features fencing, a 200-metre freestyle swim, show jumping, and a final combined event of pistol shooting and cross-country running.
Rescue swimming. This isn’t really a sport in itself, but if your pool offers a rescue swimming course it’s a good opportunity to learn some techniques to help a swimmer in difficulty. You just never know.
Synchronized swimming. Some people may mock the glitzy costumes and exaggerated makeup, but synchronized swimming is a gruelling sport. A blend of swimming, dance and gymnastics, synchro requires great strength, flexibility, endurance and grace, as well as excellent timing and breath control.
Water aerobics. Usually offered in a group class format, water aerobics offers low-impact aerobic exercise combined with strength training thanks to the water resistance.
Aqua cycling. As in a land-based spinning class, in aqua cycling you pedal continuously at varying intensities (to music, of course!), but with the ‘bike’ underwater, which adds greater resistance.
Aqua jogging. When aqua jogging, you mimic the running movement in water but without touching the bottom of the pool, so you get the cardiovascular and muscular benefit with no joint impact at all.
Aqua dance. You can find an aqua dance class to fit any style, from the Latin rhythms of aqua Zumba to the more acrobatic moves of water pole dancing.
Water yoga. Like regular yoga, water yoga can help you develop strength, balance and flexibility, but it’s not quite the same, of course. You’ll find that some poses are easier in the water while others are more difficult!
Water polo. Water polo is an aggressive team sport in which the players attempt to score goals by throwing a ball into the opposing team’s goal. You’ll develop great stamina if you take up this sport.
Underwater hockey. Also called Octopush in the UK, underwater hockey is a sport in which two teams of six players, wearing masks and fins, battle to move a puck across the bottom of the pool floor and into the opposing team’s goal using ‘pushers’.
Underwater rugby. Underwater rugby, another team sport played wearing masks and fins, has little in common with rugby football. The two teams try to score goals by sending the slightly negatively buoyant ball (filled with saltwater), into their opponents’ goal, which is a heavy bucket at the bottom of the pool.
Underwater target shooting. Developed in France in the 1980s as winter training for spearfishing, underwater target shooting will test your accuracy with a speargun.
Underwater wrestling. In an aquathlon (underwater wrestling) match, two competitors wearing masks and fins face off in a 5-metre square in a swimming pool at least 2 metres deep. Over three 30-second rounds, each tries to remove a ribbon from the other’s ankle band. This sport started in Russia in the early 1980s.
Kayaking. Sure, kayaking is an outdoor sport. Before you hit the white water, though, you’ll want to learn to brace and roll, and it’s much more pleasant to capsize in a heated pool. Take a beginning kayaking class now and you’ll be ready for the open water in the spring!
If autumn has you missing your outdoor workouts, mix things up a little and try a new activity at the pool. It may not become your new favourite and take the place of swimming, but it might help keep things interesting when you find yourself in a training rut. There’s a wide world of water sports out there, so broaden your horizons!
What did we forget? Have you tried any other indoor water sports?
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