Why I love to . . . swim at sunrise

Áine de Paor on the delights of challenging your body and filling your soul before breakfast

Áine de Paor enjoys her morning swim.

Áine de Paor enjoys her morning swim.

 

When I was a teenager in Dublin, I was terrified of all things exercise related. It wasn’t until I lived in Japan in my 20s and ended up on a daily ventilator that I discovered I had always been asthmatic. Now in my 50s, I call Australia home, and I have learned to live with my asthma. There’s no escape from the outdoors here and there is an omnipresent consciousness about one’s physical fitness.

In my 40s, as a Bondi resident, I became a “Bondi Iceberg” which entailed a serious commitment to winter swimming in the local seawater pool. For a woman, who could initially barely make it across the 50m pool to swimming 1km a day (year-round, mind you) without it knocking a feather out of me is quite a feat, if I do say so myself.

Now, three days a week I train with Andrew, a very understanding group fitness guru, who understands the limitations that a woman in her mid-50s might experience but who keeps me on my toes. Afterwards, I have a gentle swim at Clovelly beach as the sun is rising. This all happens before 8am when I head to work having challenged my body and filled my soul. I do a sort of breaststroke unless the water is looking choppy in which case it’s hat, goggles and front crawl.

This summer, while I’m home in Dublin, I look forward to an early morning swim or two at the statue in Dollymount, which will serve as my daily destination.

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