Quite awhile ago I remember going to a masters meet where there was a woman over the age of 90 who was to compete in an event. Being a smaller meet, just about everyone in attendance was interested in watching her do her thing. I was struck not only by how wonderful it was for her to be participating (and hoping to be just as spunky when I reached that age), but also how she really didn't have any worries about how she looked in her suit. She was happy to be there and very comfortable with who she was. I have also been to a multitude of meets where 6 year olds were participating in their very first competitions. Watching a 6 year old do their first races is a wonderful sight to behold. What is striking to me as I write this is they often have the very same attitude that the elderly woman had in terms of their comfort in their physical presence. Often times their suits don't seem to fit right and everything seems in disarray, but they are happy with who they are and have no real worries about their appearance.
We as a society can learn much from our youngest as well as our oldest and be proud to be able to participate in anything we really want to do regardless of what we think we look like. The first step to getting in shape in swimming is actually taking that first step and getting in that pool even if you don't look like Natalie Coughlin or Michael Phelps in a swim suit. Do it a few times and you have started a habit that has many benefits. After awhile you will notice a change in your being, sometimes in a physical sense and almost always in a mental sense. This type of lifestyle gets easier and better with use, so get out there and enjoy being part of an active and healthy life!