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Meet GTD Swimmer Jane Vaselenak Gerlowski

From tennis to swimming

Author Unknown | February 10, 2010

Jane Vaselenak Gerlowski, is not your usual high school swimmer who moves on to Masters swimming. She is a former college tennis player who began swimming to improve her fitness. She found that swimming really helped her upper body strength and improved her tennis game.

Gerlowski says she never really swam regularly until she joined the Woodlands Masters Swim Team in 2005.

In July 2006, at age 48, Gerlowski was diagnosed with breast cancer. After having a lumpectomy, she underwent six months of chemotherapy, followed by six weeks of daily radiation treatment. She was not permitted to swim because of her weakened immune system and says she really missed swimming during that time.

Gerlowski credits her swim team for the wonderful support they have given her and her family: they provided meals for the family during her six months of chemotherapy. "Cancer treatment is an incredibly draining process—physically and emotionally—the support of the team made it bearable,” she says.

In September 2007, Gerlowski lost the 20 pounds she gained during chemo, and regained her stamina. "I don't need a nap to make it through the day now," she says. In addition to swimming and tennis, she takes Pilates, ballet, and tap classes. She also started golf lessons—her goal is to walk 36 holes every week.

Gerlowski enjoys variety in her workouts. She swims once or twice per week. She logged 75 miles in 2009 and credits her weight loss and increased core strength from Pilates, for swimming her best times ever last year.

Gerlowski enjoys variety in her workouts. She swims once or twice per week. She logged 75 miles in 2009 and credits her weight loss and increased core strength from Pilates, for swimming her best times ever last year.

Although she is not currently working, Gerlowski has a PhD in chemical engineering. Her husband, Len Gerlowski, is also a Woodlands Masters swimmer. They have been married 25 years and have a 13-year old daughter, Lauren, who dances instead of swimming or playing tennis.

Between exercise, hobbies, and carpools, Gerlowski finds she keeps a very busy schedule. She says she never expected to be a “domestic goddess,” but says she really enjoys family life.

In August 2007 Gerlowski participated in the Long Course Nationals hosted by WMST, but is not currently competing because she’s busy with her daughter's activities.

Gerlowski’s favorite workout is distance freestyle day. She likes to swim long and strong. Her typical distance is 1,600-2,400 yards. “I am a pool swimmer—definitely not an open water swimmer," she says.

Gerlowski participates in GTD to keep track of her swimming. Her 2010 goal is 100 miles.

Gerlowski hopes to be an inspiration for cancer patients. “It is possible to regain your life after this debilitating experience. Since you never know what life has in store for you, I follow the Nickelback song, 'If Today Was Your Last Day' and try to pack as much as possible into each day,” she says.

(submitted by the fitness education committee)

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