Learn how to swim in three weeks

Fitness Q & A

April 08, 2005|By Gailor Large | Gailor Large,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

I have a Florida vacation coming up with a new boyfriend, and I don't know how to swim. Where is a good place to take private lessons and learn quickly? I have three weeks.

While you may not be able to wow your new beau with swan dives and a flawless backstroke in three weeks, you should have enough time to cover the basics - assuming you aren't afraid of the water.

Cathy Lears, director of the North Baltimore Swim School at Meadowbrook, says fear of the water is the most common obstacle for beginners. After you're comfortable under water, learning the strokes and kicks shouldn't be difficult. Here are a few local places to get your feet wet this spring:

Meadowbrook Aquatic and Fitness Center.

Merritt Athletic Clubs (Merritt has pools in many of its clubs, including Eldersburg, downtown and Towson).

Brick Bodies Downtown Health Club & Aquatics Center.

Go Public. Check out Baltimore's Department of Recreation and Parks Web site for public pools in your area: www.ci.baltimore.md.us/government/recnpa rks/aquatics.htm.

The owner of my gym gave me one of the gym's large exercise balls. I've since read that sit-ups are 33 percent more effective on the ball, but I have no idea how to do them. Can you get me started?

Exercise balls, also called by brand names like BalanceBall and Bosu Ball, do kick your crunch and curl workouts into a higher gear.

How? Before you even do a single sit-up, your abdominal muscles and obliques are already working to keep your body balanced on the ball. This subconscious stabilization continues as you do your sit-ups, so your muscles are continuing to do double duty.

Our son is a freshman on his varsity lacrosse team. Where can we find information on college recruitment and scholarships? We're hesitant to talk to his coaches because our son doesn't want us to embarrass him by bringing it up so soon.

For many parents of high school athletes, terms like "recruiting trip," "letter of intent" and "full ride" make their blood pressure rise. At this point, going overboard with college talk can be unhealthy for your son. He should be focusing on his high school experience first - it only happens once.

But here's what you can do to start educating yourself about the college recruitment process:

Visit the official site of the NCAA: www.ncaa.org/about/scholarships/school.html.

Talk to parents of seniors. They've been through it.

Read up. You'll learn important dates and tidbits, like the fact that Ivy League schools don't offer athletic scholarships. Also, check out these books:

College Athletic Scholarships: A Guide For High School Athletes, by Mike Barber.

A Parent's and Student Athlete's Guide to Athletic Scholarships: Getting Money Without Being Taken for a (Full) Ride, by Dion Wheeler.

The Athletic Recruiting & Scholarship Guide for High School Athletes and Parents, by Wayne Aldo Mazzoni.

Athletic Scholarships: Thousands of Grants and Over $400 Million for College-Bound Athletes, by Andy Clark, Karen Breslow and Amy Holsapple Clark.

Do you have a fitness question? Submit questions via e-mail to fitness@baltsun.com, or online at baltimoresun.com/healthscience, or in writing to The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278.

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