Mara Hafezi - Ambassador Day Blog

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Meet one of our Swimathon Ambassadors - Mara Hafezi, and read about her experience at this year's Ambassador Day hosted by Olympic Gold Medalist and Swimathon President Duncan Goodhew!

Swimathon Blog - Post One: The Ambassador Day

 Earlier in the year, I was asked to be an Ambassador for Swimathon in 2019. Swimming isn’t my strong point. My previous experience with swimming has, to say the least, been tumultuous. Once upon a time, I was a strong swimmer. Then one day, during a bullying incident, I was pushed into a pool and nearly drowned. Since then, I never really recovered from the trauma of that. Throughout school, I’d pretend to be on my period for as long as possible and whenever I was in the pool, I’d stick to the shallow end. When I couldn’t stand, I’d get serious panic attacks.

Then, in 2017, I decided to take a leap of faith, push myself out of my comfort zones and take on a triathlon. Once I signed up for that event, there was no going back. Swimming was one of the hardest parts and there were times I never thought I’d be able to reach the start line, or I’d have thoughts that I’d not meet the cut off points during the swimming portion of the triathlon.

And I did it. 

Since completing that triathlon, it has opened up a whole new perspective for me. I’m more confident in swimming. I no longer sit at the edge of the pool and ‘um and ah’ about going in. I can actually go into the middle lane of a pool and swim without getting panicky. It might not sound like much but I get how it can be a real barrier from people taking up swimming. And that’s one of the reasons why I took on this ambassador role with Swimathon.

I want to maintain this confidence (my star sign is Aquarius: we’re water babies!). I want to help encourage you to see what’s stopping you from taking on Swimathon and help you to break down those barriers. The beauty with Swimathon is that there’s a distance for everyone: whether you’re a newbie or sprinter there’s the 400m or there’s the ultimate endurance test: the Triple 5k.

A few weekends ago, all the Swimathon Ambassadors got together and we shared our tips and swimming experiences before having a swim technique session with Team GB Olympic medalist, Duncan Goodhew .

We learnt quite a lot from the session – how to improve our catch and pull phases of our swimming technique and what those phases of the swimming are. To learn more about how to improve your swimming technique, I’d suggest joining a local tri club where they’ll have swim technique courses or your local Master swim sessions.

Throughout the day, Duncan also gave us tops on how to fuel for a swim session and what to have afterwards – swimming is hungry work. For a quick snack before a swim, something like a banana and peanut butter or a bagel with juice will help you to swim for longer. Before the swim, we all discussed the issues we face when swimming and pre-swim snacks and post-swim hunger came up quite a lot. Compared to a sport like running, swimming is a low impact sport, but the hunger really creeps up on you afterwards. Chocolate milk, toast with nut butter or scrambled eggs came up as a few suggestions.

Good luck with your Swimathon training! By taking on one of the distance, you may just accomplish something, you didn’t expect.  

Mara

Swimathon 2019 Ambassador