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by Greta Van Meeteren

February 4, 2011

The ways we suprise ourselves

If anyone had told Kip Bohachek 10 years ago that he would be swimming over 500 miles a year, he would have laughed and then grimaced. "Swimming back and forth, staring at a black line, no scenery, no music, no one to talk to? Yeah, that sounds like a blast," Bohachek thought.

He grew up in and around the water—swimming, sailing, water skiing, lifeguarding, but he was never a competitive swimmer. He was in his mid 40s and decided he needed to start taking care of his "soft and round body." So, Bohachek went to the pool one day to swim a few laps. He decided to swim a half-mile. "Many gasping rests and 45 minutes later I had completed 18 laps of a 25-yard pool and was DONE!" he remembers. Today he can complete that distance in about 15 minutes as part of his typical two-plus mile workout.

Bohachek had other motivations to keep swimming besides fitness. He really enjoyed re-building a strong but slow stroke following the Total Immersion program. He became addicted to the long, smooth and balanced feeling of a solid stroke and began to swim more regularly. Bohachek enjoyed talking with the folks at the pool. He had his wife and two early teen daughters at home. "Mornings at my house, with three women getting ready for work and school and not enough bathrooms, were another motivator to get to the pool before work," he laughs.

But what has really kept him swimming has been his association with three other Masters swimmers he met at the pool. About four years ago he and his three friends began attending open water swims. They began scheduling their training to compete in open water swims and the competition has brought a whole new level to the "addiction." This past summer the four swam in Cincinnati, Noblesville, Louisville, and Chicago.

Bohachek swims in a 25-yard pool between 3,500 and 4,500 yards four to six times a week. In the summers the group will occasionally meet at a local state park to swim along the beach. In the off-season, they like to organize challenges every couple of months. These usually involve a certain number of 100s on a certain split. They also have done the postal swims together. Sometimes they get together for the “barnbuster” breakfast after their Saturday morning swims to replace calories spent "mostly exercising our jaw muscles while holding up the wall," says Bohachek. They have even awarded trophies for their efforts. He was recently awarded some very brief flowered Speedos for a losing effort.

Go The Distance is another motivator for Bohachek. "I like to log my swims anyway, and the…FLOG is a nice system for doing that. In addition to the year goal, I can set monthly goals and watch the progress. Swimming is definitely a part of who I am. It has brought me fitness, stress relief, a sense of accomplishment and great friendships. I hope to be a swimmer long after all my hair is gone."


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