I have to work out to maintain my weight I have to work out to maintain my weight
Images: Pedro Virgil


“Incorporated into my long-distance swimming prep, immediately after the 25-minute shoulder exercise session, would be an hour of cardio in the gym, usually using the stair-stepper. I also get into lower body weights exercises – no upper body weights, just because, again, I like to protect my shoulder. The exercises with the weights aren’t swim-specific, they’re, ‘Alexandra-needs-to-keep-her-bones-strong-and-she’s-vain-specific!’”


“I’m a vegetarian. I try not to eat a lot of dairy, either. Sometimes I have protein powder to up my protein intake, and while I’m swimming I’ll have an electrolyte drink with protein powder mixed in. For fat and calories, I usually have vegan chocolate chip cookies. Normally I don’t like to eat when I work out, except if I have chocolate chip cookies on the pool deck. That ensures I get enough calories during the workout. It’s important to train with the food you’re going to use in competition. That doesn’t always work out with cookies, though. In a race once I had my first break and they passed me a chocolate chip cookie … it tasted so disgusting because the salt water brought the salt out. So I didn’t ask for any more of those and ate my back-up peanut butter bars instead! A lot of people just do liquids, but I fare better with solids – usually treats my mother didn’t let me have when I was a kid.”


“A lot of distance swimmers I’ve met and known over the years are actually former long-distance road runners who, as they’ve gotten older, have gradually found they couldn’t run as much as they used to. “A large proportion of distance swimmers are people over 50. It’s a lot lighter on the joints. It’s very likely, though, that my shoulder pain, which is sometimes in both shoulders, has to do with my swim stroke, which I’m working on.”