There was no need for a stunt double for Alexandra Paul when those dangerous swimming scenes came calling on the set of Baywatch. She had it all covered.
“I start preparing for long swims three to four months out from the event. A lot of my prep exercises are shoulder rehab-based because I suffer from shoulder pain problems. In the lead-up to each swim I have to go through physical therapy (PT). I can only swim every other day. I’m planning on doing a 20km event in the kind-of near future, which means I’ll have to start my PT even earlier.“Sprint swimming work is out of the equation because it puts too much pressure on my shoulder. It’s unfortunate, as it’s important to add sprinting to any kind of swimming training regime, even if you’re doing very long distances.”
“The grass-background pics you can see are of me performing shoulder-strengthening exercises. If someone has a shoulder issue, these exercises would be on their agenda. My physical therapist put me on to them – she calls them The Six Pack. Basically one of the important things with all of them is to keep the shoulders back and to use your lats, not the small muscles in your shoulders. The movements strengthen the muscles around the tendons – that’s where my shoulder pain is centred.”
“I like to alternate between those shoulder exercises and swimming day-to-day, but as my swimming mileage increases in the lead-up to major events, that routine becomes a problem. It’s too stressful to do both. When training for a long swim, I swim well over 15km per week, then do a long swim on weekends that gradually gets longer and longer. My longest swims are about five hours in the pool. I’m completely happy handling workloads like that. I don’t know how many laps that equals, but I swim in a 25m pool. I wish I had a 50m pool in which to swim!“The longest training swim I did for the Maui Channel Swim was a four-and-a-half-hour ocean swim.”